Brooklyn has been blessed with the new arrival of Aussie coffee brand Toby’s Estate! Donning a new roaster and café in Williamsburg, Aussie expats and local hipsters are embracing the flat whites and Vegemite toast in full force. Billabout caught up with founder Toby Smith to talk beans and discuss why he’s decided to come stateside.
Why set up in Brooklyn?
Brooklyn represents what coffee roasters are all about: an artisan community that loves all good things – food, wine, art, theatre, music, and of course their coffee. We roast our beans in-house and we have wholesale operations selling our beans to cafés, restaurants and espresso bars…so we needed a massive space. We also have an espresso school and cupping lab, and we wanted a large space for people to enjoy meeting up with their friends, eating food, and lingering over their coffee; this site that we found in Brooklyn is over 3,000 sq.ft. and it is a large enough home to accommodate all of these needs.
How long has Tobys Estate been planning the US expansion? Have you noticed many differences setting up shop in the different countries?
We began discussing the idea two years ago and signed the lease December 2010. The transition has been really interesting because we had to tweak the Toby’s brand for the US market. We added things that we thought were missing in the US specialty coffee market, like classic bar service where people order their coffee from a barista, the pairing of food with coffee, a large space for people to enjoy, and a friendly service where we encourage people to order their coffee the way they like it. The transition has been hard work, but really rewarding – we love the neighborhood that we are in because people are willing to try something new, and we’ve had a very positive response to the large space and quality of coffee.
Where does a flat white fit in between a latté and a cappuccino??
“A flat white is a wet cappuccino.” – Toby Smith
We are still scratching our heads…but we’ll leave it to the pros!