UPPER EAST SIDE — A popular cafe that specializes in cold-brewed iced coffee is coming to the Upper East Side just in time for summer.
Birch Coffee, which has three Manhattan stores, will open a fourth location at 134 1/2 E. 62nd St. near Lexington Avenue by July 15, company officials said. The space, formerly Cheese on 62nd, is currently undergoing renovations.
Birch Coffee founders Jeremy Lyman and Paul Schlader opened their first store inside of the Gershwin Hotel in the Flatiron District in October 2009. Since then, they have built the brand into a mini empire, opening outposts on the Upper West Side and Greenwich Village in 2013, as well as launching a summer location inside of a Sag Harbor restaurant.
The owners chose the Upper East Side for their fourth location because they saw a need in the neighborhood.
“There is pretty much no good coffee as far as we’re concerned between 56th Street, where you have Ninth Street Espresso, and 74th Street with Joe Coffee,” Lyman said. “We wanted to help fill that void.”
Birch is especially known for its cold-brew iced coffee, which has been named one of the best by Imbibe magazine. Lyman said that what makes it a standout is that they source beans specifically for cold brewing rather than using whatever coffee is on hand to whip up a batch.
“A lot of places you order cold-brew and you might get one flavor one day and something else another depending on what they used,” he said. “We only use certain beans for cold brew, so you get a more consistent flavor.”
In addition to serving up sustainably sourced java, the owners focus on creating a sense of community within the shop. Each location maintains a free lending library and sets out conversation cards. Customers who are open to talking to strangers can choose a card with an icebreaker question such as “What is the most embarrassing song on your iPod?” and place it on the table.
At 250 square feet, the East 62nd Street shop will be Birch’s smallest location. The space will have about five counter seats inside, as well as some form of outdoor seating, Lyman said. Unlike the other locations, which serve alcohol and offer full food menus, the Upper East Side shop will serve only coffee, juices from Liquiteria and baked goods.
Despite the shop's space limitations, Lyman said that they still hope to build a sense of community.
“There will be more of that quick-service element to it, but we love it when people hang out and talk,” he said. “We love it when people get to know each other through our shops.”