If Coffee Foundry looks like a bar, that impression isn’t entirely misleading. After all, customers can choose from a beer and wine menu in addition to the caffeinated drinks. The coffee bar also happens to share a space with a karaoke bar: Coffee Foundry gets the front, and Karaoke Boho gets the back of an area that is much longer than it is wide.
But neither the alcohol, nor the classic illustration of New York real estate, is the most memorable feature of Coffee Foundry. That distinction belongs to the attention to brewing methods and the care that goes into each cup of coffee, with an emphasis on quality over speed. Norm Mui, who left a career in finance to open Coffee Foundry, bet that customers would be willing to wait a few minutes for a better cup of coffee. Judging by the coffee bar’s loyal following, he was right.
While Coffee Foundry offers French Press as a quick alternative, its signature brewing method is a made-to-order manual drip—also referred to as a “pour-over” technique, since hot water is slowly poured over freshly-ground roasted beans. Customers can pull up a chair at the concrete bar table and watch, and the knowledgeable baristas are willing to explain the process.
Manually-dripped or not, the coffee is smooth and fragrant. The quality of the beans and fresh brews eliminate the sour taste that often comes with a swallow of coffee. Drink a mug at the bar or at one of the tables across from it, each of which conveniently has its own outlet. The outlets, along with free wi-fi, make Coffee Foundry an excellent space to bring a laptop and study (with a foot-tapping playlist of jazz and oldies in the background).
Thai iced tea is a new summer menu addition; the tea is hand-brewed, like the coffee, before condensed milk and ice are mixed in. Other hot and iced tea options are also available. And needless to say, the cappuccino, macchiato, and espresso are made just as painstakingly as the regular coffee.
Customers can choose among different pastries, with varying flavors depending on the day. Muffin types include dark chocolate and Earl Grey tea, and cookies come in flavors like azuki bean and peanut butter and jelly. Gluten-free options, including a pistachio and olive oil muffin, are also satisfying. For more of a meal, try a sandwich or a cup of chili.
But the coffee doesn't need any accompaniment to leave an impression—which is why it's a little disappointing that Coffee Foundry closes at 6pm. Though remember, karaoke is only ten steps away.
186 W. 4th St.