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Bluestone Lane Brings Aussie Coffee to Midtown and FiDi

By Alan Neuhauser | August 15, 2013 9:13am
 Bluestone Lane Coffee is bringing Australian coffee culture to New York with two new cafes in Midtown and the Financial District.
Bluestone Lane Coffee
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MIDTOWN — Aussie coffee culture is gaining two more footholds in Manhattan.

Former Wall Street banker Nick Stone launched his first Bluestone Lane Coffee in Midtown in July and is planning a second outpost in the next few weeks in the Financial District.

The coffee shops will not only serve Down Under favorites like "flat whites" — a latte with less milk — but will also offer sheltered escapes from the rush of the city, Stone said.

"We're creating a coffee experience very similar to what you'd find in Melbourne, the coffee and culinary capital of Australia," said Stone, 31. "You're coming in from the corporate jungle and stepping into a little oasis for a couple minutes."

Bluestone's Midtown location at 805 Third Ave., between 49th and 50th streets, opened July 26. The Financial District spot in the atrium of 30 Broad St. does not yet have a definite opening date but Stone said it would be "just after Labor Day."

Plastered in Australian sports memorabilia, the cafe joins a handful of other Australian coffee shops across the city, from the major chain Pie Face to local establishments like Cafe Grumpy, Laughing Man and Smooch, which have brought Aussie brews to Brooklyn, TriBeCa and the Lower East Side.

Serving high-end West Coast roasts — with freshly ground beans for each new cup of coffee — they encourage customers to sit and stay awhile, especially during the work day. Office workers in Australia often step out to cafes at least once or twice a day to meet with colleagues or clients, Stone said.

"It's a way you build a connection," he said.

Stone recruited longtime friend and fellow former Melbourne resident Aaron Cook, 32, who'd spent 12 years building a coffee business in Australia, to help launch Bluestone.

The pair toured the United States conducting a "roasting tour of well known coffees around the country" before selecting Sightglass, a "direct trade" roaster in San Francisco that works closely with farmers. They also arranged partnerships with local suppliers including Balthazar, Sans Bakery and Bondi Bikkies for the cafe's breads and pastries.

"It's meticulously planned," Stone said. "But we're also about the intangible things: the connection with the barista, the aesthetic of the store, the free products, the music, the atmosphere."

If all goes according to plan, Stone and Cook aim to open more cafes and expand the chain soon.