Sweetleaf Coffee Shop Opens Up in Williamsburg

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska and Meredith Hoffman  on May 15, 2012 1:28pm  | Updated on May 15, 2012 2:37pm

Sweetleaf co-owner Rich Nieto, 39, and his barista Christian Mbassa, 29, stood in the cafe's new location on Kent Avenue and North 6th Street.
Sweetleaf co-owner Rich Nieto, 39, and his barista Christian Mbassa, 29, stood in the cafe's new location on Kent Avenue and North 6th Street.
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DNAinfo/Meredith Hoffman

LONG ISLAND CITY — Sweetleaf, the popular Long Island City coffee shop, has set up a new spot in Williamsburg, bringing its precision-brewed espresso and gourmet coffee blends to the hipster enclave.

The second location opened Monday on Kent Avenue, three years after Sweetleaf served its first cup at 10-93 Jackson Ave. in Hunters Point, complete with a fancy, new espresso machine.

"We are sure the new location will be a success, too," said Marc Garza, 25, a barista at the Long Island City location.

The Williamsburg spot's new espresso machine, the Strada EP, can precisely control pressure, which is essential to brewing coffee.

The secret, Garza says, are "the best beans, very precise recipes and years of experience." Every shot of espresso at Sweetleaf is actually weighed on a digital scale.

"We have the best beans from the best roasters," said Garza of the shop, which buys up roasts from gourmet purveyors like Ritual, Stumptown, Heart and Handsome.

Variety is the spice of life for the shop, which serves up different espressos every day. On Monday, Garza was using a blend of three El Salvadoran coffees with notes of caramel, apple, caramel, strawberry and walnut, he said.

Another reason for the shop’s popularity is its casual ambiance.

At the LIC location, there is a separate space for laptop users, armchairs for those who prefer to sip their coffee while reading a book or newspaper and a vinyl room with working turntable and record collection that patrons are welcome to use.

And in the Brooklyn cafe, rustic brick walls and large corner windows enclose a space with a fussball table, lounge chairs and small white round marble tables.

"We're on a bigger stage here in Williamsburg. We're excited to show people what we can do," said Sweetleaf's co-owner Rich Nieto, 39, in the new spot Tuesday afternoon. He called the location "the best corner in Williamsburg" with the weekly food-festival Smorgasburg just down the street and new condos filling the Kent Avenue strip.

"Our customers in Long Island City are some of the best people I've ever met. They've grown with us," Nieto said. But he admitted he'd been eyeing Williamsburg for a while, since it was a more fully formed neighborhood.

Sweetleaf has now two locations, in Long Island City and Williamsburg
Sweetleaf has now two locations, in Long Island City and Williamsburg
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

"On the weekends this place is a mob scene," he said, smiling. "We're gonna kill it."

Meredith Hoffman contributed reporting.

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