The best thing about Scandinavian fever is salty liquorice. Too strange? Okay, the best thing about Scandinavian fever are the passionate people who import coffee from the region. While a visit to Drop Coffee in Stockholm or The Coffee Collective in Copenhagen is a worthy pilgrimmage for any coffee-obsessive, it’s a short-term fix for a long-term craving. Búdin understands. They’ve figured out how New Yorkers can enjoy Tim Wendelboe and Drop coffee, as long as they’re up for a trip to Greenpoint. It’s the kind of cafe that makes you want to take a trip.
Although Búdin has been getting its fair share of press for their fancy-pants $11 salted liquorice latte, this sensationalist journalism distracts from what Búdin does spectacularly. The cafe is big, spacious and light. It’s less Scandinavian, more Scandi-moves-to-New York City. There are two low tables in the front, three high ones with stools on the side. Thanks to windows in the front and back, light diffuses the entire space. The bar occupies the left side of the cafe. There’s Scandi merchandise for sale throughout — you can buy boxes of Drop Coffee and bags of Time Wendelboe beans if you’re feeling flush — with the bulk concentrated in the back. With all that’s on offer, it’s a shame that the cafe is known for serving the city’s most expensive coffee.
When I went on a Saturday in early April, the space was buzzing but empty. People drifted in and out, getting their coffee to-go to enjoy the sun outside. I celebrating, splashing out on a fancy coffee. Would you expect anything less after a trip to Greenpoint?
I chose an Ethiopian from Drop Coffee and the finca la tamana from Tim Wendolboe. The former was brewed on a v60 and the latter on aeropress. They were both served in glass beakers on a silver tray with a ceramic cup sized so you got to fill it up twice. The entire experience was a lovely departure from New York’s often speedy paper cup coffee culture.
The Drop coffee was fruity, with a delicate almost floral tea-like flavor that lingered in the mouth. Brewed on v60 gave it a deliciously light mouthfeel, but the flavor was intense enough to make you sip rather than gulp. The Tim Wendelboe brew had a more prominent acidity with pronounced lemon-y notes that gave way to berry ones. Made on aeropress, it invited slow and dainty sips.
Búdin’s atmosphere makes it worth the trip to Greenpoint. Rather than a forgettable cafe experience, Búdin unites special beans, great space and unique quality to create a coffee break that goes beyond the ordinary. And in Greenpoint, it takes less time to reach than Scandinavia. But only by a few minutes.
Have you been bitten by the Scandinavian bug?