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Gorilla Coffee Joins Growing Coffee Hub in Gowanus

GOWANUS — Gowanus is getting another notch in its funky belt as Gorilla Coffee prepares to move into the neighborhood.

The new location, at 500 President St. between Third Avenue and Nevins Street, will open in five or six months, Gorilla announced recently on its Facebook page. The posting prompted panicked questions about whether Gorilla is abandoning its popular cafe on Fifth Avenue and Park Place, but the java joint says it's staying put.

Gorilla's Gowanus location, a former printing plant, will be a 4,000-square-foot combination roastery and coffee bar, according to Grub Street.

Gowanus is becoming a bit of a hub for coffee-related businesses.

Two years ago coffee importer Crop to Cup Coffee opened a combination cafe and import office at 541 Third Ave. between 13th and 14th streets. The front of the space is a coffee bar where customers can sample beans that Crop to Cup hand selects on trips across the globe. In the back, Crop to Cup employees work on the company's import business, which connects coffee consumers directly with small coffee farmers.

The company works with growers in countries such as Uganda, Burundi, India and Indonesia, and sells both green beans and the roasted variety at the Third Avenue cafe.

"The whole idea is to promote the beans we’re bringing in," said Crop to Cup's director of operations Dan Shafer. "We try to keep it accessible and not too pretentious or intimidating."

There's even a "pour over bar" where java junkies can examine the differences between three different beans grown on the same Ugandan mountain, Shafer said.

Crop to Cup also makes its own brand of roasted coffee, which is served at local restaurants including Red Horse Cafe, Postmark Cafe, Runner & Stone, and The Pines. Bags of the roasted beans will also be sold at the new Whole Foods opening on Third Avenue and Third Street later this year.

Crop to Cup moved to its Third Avenue spot because it was just a few blocks away from its roaster, Stone Street Coffee Company.

Stone Street operates a 16,000 square foot "micro roasting" plant at 129 Ninth Street between Second and Third avenues. The 89-year-old building, where Henry repeating rifles were once manufactured, was an ideal location because of its arched 26-foot ceilings, said managing partner Mitchel Margulis.

"When you have a plant and you're moving coffee, it's easier to move it down than up — you need high ceilings and gravity," Margulis said.

Stone Street roasts about 110,000 pounds of beans a month for its partner Financier Patisserie, which runs several cafes in Manhattan. Fairway grocery stores are another client.

"We make coffee for the masses, but what we're looking to do here is better and fresher coffee," Margulis said.

Just up the street is yet another coffee business, Ideal Vending & Coffee Service on Ninth Street between Third and Fourth avenues. The company sells, installs and maintains coffee machines such as Lavazza, Keurig and Nespresso.