Midtown, NY -- Flights measured in days are little to no fun, so the baristas at Bluestone Lane brought a cup of Melbourne straight to New York City. Tucked away in the sunlit atrium at 805 3rd Avenue, the footprint may be small, but the experience here is anything but.
“Coffee’s a very social thing,” says Aaron Cook, Bluestone Lane’s Director of Operations. “We need to strike a fine balance between that and the grab-and-go you find in New York.” It’s about the coffee here, but it’s not all about the coffee. The baristas are well-versed and intuitive in their craft, and are artful in not only how they make their coffee, but in the way they engage the customer, whether through conversation or via the actual space.
In Melbourne, coffee culture can best be summed up in two words, taste and ambiance. Everything that goes into brewing an amazing cup, from the actual plant and bean to the experience of the barista, and everything in between, can be ruined by at atmosphere not conducive to hospitality. “We’re spoiled there with great coffee,” says Aaron, “but it’s only a piece of the puzzle.” “The relationship with your barista, the engagement, and the look of the space are all just as important.”
From the pastry display case made from an old church pew, to the sports memorabilia plastered all about, every element of design is authentic and purposeful. The aesthetic is uniquely Aussie, and the menu is just like you'd find in any premium café down under. You won't be forced to order in Italian, and the largest size they sell is 12oz. "Portions are king," Aaron says, "we want to be mindful of that, so we can become accustomed to higher quality instead of factories pumping out large cups of caffeine."
We sampled the quintessential Australian staple, the flat white, and reveled in the sophistication hidden behind its simplicity. Essentially a cappuccino sans froth, steamed milk is poured ever so delicately into espresso, and the result is a smoother, silkier blend. It paired well with another Aussie staple, the Avocado Smash. Finished simply with lemon juice and pepper flakes, mashed avocado is served atop hearty Balthazar Multigrain, creating a robust concoction big on both flavor and texture.
It’s all in the details at Bluestone Lane, and they place a special emphasis on their coffee producers. Everything is meticulous and well thought-out. From using San Francisco based Sightglass Roasters and premium La Marzocco machines to the actual process of serving the brew, the entire space was designed with the goal of changing people’s perception of coffee. It's highly customer-centric, making for an experience like no other, and it lingers deliciously, long after you’ve finished that last drop.