Think Coffee. I've seen a few of these coffee shops in New York (there are three) and since my friend wanted some coffee, we decided to try it out.
Their concept -- "serves only the finest coffees and hand-packed teas grown in an environmentally friendly manner and purchased by us in a way that is designed to improve the livelihoods of farmers." Think fair trade, Think organic and shade grown. Think espresso. Think wine and cheese.
It appears to put an "organic" spin on coffee, not to mention, "free-trade", which differs from the mass produced coffee shops that we see on every other block (no names need to be given). Their coffee beans are roasted locally in Brooklyn. Their iced coffees are brewed for at least 24 hours, a process that rids the coffee of its bitterness. They offer an array of foods - sandwiches, salads, Hale & Hearty soups and baked goods. Btw, their sandwich bread is from Amy's Bread (yum!). Sounds good so far!
The store on Bleecker/Bowery had a homey feel to it - it was spacious and had tables indoors and outdoors. I would find this a comfortable space to plop myself down and enjoy a Jasmine tea while reading my book, making preparations for travel, or even studying! People seem to be friendly and are amenable to sharing tables with strangers (hmm, is that the right usage of the word?).
After searching Think Coffee's website, the coffee shop also offers events and classes. Wow! This truly is a local coffee shop that wants to engage their local community! It actually sort of reminds me of the little small bookshop that was run by Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail. It was in existence until the Big Bad Wolf took over the neighborhood (ha ha). So if you wanted to learn about Milk Steaming & Latte Art Technique, you are in luck -- they have a class this Sunday at 248 Mercer Street, between 3rd and 4th street (its one of their shops!) or if you want to chill out to some Shona music from Zimbabwe you can attend the event this Thursday at the same location. As you can see, and to my surprise, this is not any local coffee shop! Quite cool, actually!
So, if you want to study, read, or meet a friend for coffee - why not check out Think Coffee! It certainly does have a communal feel to it and is suitable for everyone. For those people who want to study, its not loud at all -- and people seem to be courteous to each other. So, go grab a tea or a coffee and enjoy it with a french pressed sandwich ... or go to one of the classes and learn how to make an espresso or a latte! There is a little something for everyone! P.s. I enjoyed my Jasmine tea and my friend liked the coffee... so enjoy this communal coffee shop experience!
Three Think Coffee Locations:
248 Mercer Street, between 3rd and 4th Street
1 Bleecker Street, corner of Bowery and Bleecker
123 4th Avenue, between 12th and 13th street) - woah, cool address!