Jeremy Lyman was working for a mortgage company when he met Paul Schlader, an aspiring actor and bartender at Heartland Brewery. The two quickly bonded over their love of coffee and their dream of one day owning their own coffee shop. In 2009, Lyman took a big risk by cashing in the $10,000 savings bond he got from his grandparents for his bar mitzvah. With the money, they opened the first Birch Coffee in the Flatiron District and it was quickly embraced by the neighborhood.
The two taught themselves to roast beans and now do it themselves for all their shops at their small warehouse in Long Island City. In addition to roasting the beans, opening new shops (a new one is coming to Soho this month), the two friends also find time to host their own coffee talk webseries called Stay Regular where they interview their amazing regulars, including Chef Jehangir Mehta and Chelsea Clinton.
Birch has since dominated the local New York coffee scene. They now have eight different local shops, all with their own personalities, specialities, and servicable baristas. It's become a morning staple for many throughout the city. In addition to quality beans sourced from small farms, Birch sells iressistible New York pastries, like Dough doughnuts and The Good Batch cookies, to pair with their coffees.
The most popular item on the menu is their now famous cold brew coffee. Cold brew has become very popular recently in the craft coffee scene because of its rich smooth flavor. It has become Birch's signature drink and they will even fill up a glass growler of it for you to take home with you. If you're feeling more ambitious, their roasted beans are also available in sleek packages to brew yourself.
We are glad to see a small business grow, but still remain close to its roots. Jeremy and Paul are still very much hands-on and the quality of the coffee has remained consistent.
We also meet for our Tenements Tales and Tastes tour just a few blocks away from one of their most hidden locations at 8 Spruce Street. It's in an office building and is usually only found by locals in the know. When people are looking for a pre-tour coffee, we tell them to go past the much more visible Starbucks (in a highly coveted corner Starbucks) and find the local coffee shop. You get to see the community come together and drink some mighty good brew. And if you're brave enough, drink the cold brew all year long.
Multiple locations around the city
Check their locations here