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Second Gorilla Coffee Shop to Offer Java Education

By Leslie Albrecht | November 26, 2013 7:42am
 Gorilla Coffee's Bergen Street location will encourage interaction between bartistas and customers.
New Gorilla Coffee Location Turns Baristas Into Coffee Teachers
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PARK SLOPE — The second location of Gorilla Coffee will serve espresso with a side of java knowledge.

The shop, scheduled to open on Bergen Street within the next week, was designed to foster interaction between curious customers and Gorilla's highly trained baristas, owner Darleen Scherer said.

"The barriers are broken down," Scherer said about the open kitchen look of the 472 Bergen St. coffee shop, which is located just four blocks from Gorilla's original Fifth Avenue location.

The bulky espresso machine that usually creates a wall between java jockeys and latte lovers will be tucked below the counter, while the chrome spout that pours the espresso will sit up top like an old-fashioned soda fountain, giving customers a 360-degree view.

"Instead of being behind this hulking machine, you can have this engaged conservation," Scherer said. "You can kind of see how we tick. It's like a Swiss watch with a glass cover and you can see all the pieces moving."

The new shop will have a quick-service counter up front, a medium-speed espresso line, and a "slow bar" with pour-over coffee in back. The cups at the slow bar will be glass to emphasize the shop's theme of transparency, making it easier for customers to observe the difference in color between Salvadoran and Rwandan beans.

Gorilla co-owner Carol McLaughlin said she and Scherer spend a lot of time chatting with inquisitive customers about coffee. People often ask why the coffee they make at home doesn't taste as good as the drinks they buy at Gorilla, or they want pointers on the finer points of Chemex brewing, grind size and optimal water temperature.

The goal of the store is to help coffee geeks and newbies alike enhance their knowledge of the beverage that fuels many New Yorkers.

But those who don't want the back story on their beans need not worry. Baristas won't talk customers' ears off about coffee unless they ask about it, McLaughlin said.

"We're not going to be pushy about it," she said. "We don't want people going to the slow bar to get lectured."

The Bergen Street shop isn't the only new space in the works for Gorilla. The coffee purveyor, which opened its original store in 2002, is also building a combination coffee bar and roastery at 500 President St. in Gowanus. That outpost is scheduled to open sometime in 2014, Scherer said.