For Coffee Devotees, A Tiny Temple | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

For Coffee Devotees, A Tiny Temple

For Coffee Devotees, A Tiny Temple

Kava Shteeble aims to do right by a corner of Brooklyn that's underserved by good brew.

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If you live in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn and you’ve been jonesing for some quality brew, then your wait will soon come to an end: Kava Shteeble, which its owners describe as “a small, cozy coffee house," will open on Ralph Avenue by mid-March. If the java turns out to be as good as its owners assert, the café will make a great addition to a neighborhood that’s underserved when it comes to coffee: Currently, the most convenient spot to fuel up is a Dunkin’ Donuts.

“I’ve worked in this area for years, and I always wondered why there was no good coffee shop around,” said Yidi Brier, who is opening Kava Shteeble with business partner Shragie Schwartz. “So finally I thought: why don’t we just open up our own?”

Kava Shteeble is yet another business in the line of recently-opened hip Brooklyn Jewish establishments like the restaurant Mason & Mug and the gourmet sandwich pop-up Hassid + Hipster. Yiddish for “little coffee house,” the café's owners are religious but hope to attract a wide slice of the neighborhood. Just to be safe, though, they’ll provide kosher milk for those who might want it.

The shop will serve Crop to Cup beans, which it buys from the shop of the same name in Gowanus, and little else, Brier said.

“We may buy some danishes, some croissants,” he said. “But we really want the focus to be on great coffee.”

A joe-lover himself, Brier said he didn’t discover good coffee until he became friendly with Taylor Mork, one of the owners of Crop to Cup, which sources its beans in developing nations where it ensures that all of the workers involved in harvesting and processing the coffee are paid a fair wage.

“There is a huge difference between high-quality, fresh-brewed coffee and just the normal stuff you find all over the place,” Brier said.

In addition to its emphasis on great coffee, Kava Shteeble hopes to distinguish itself through its tailor-made, custom-designed interior that the team built almost entirely out of salvaged materials. Brier and Schwartz are in real estate—they work for Brooklyn-based Pacific Management—and as such, they’re often around when neighborhood buildings get renovated before sale. A building renovation means a lot of wood going into the trash, most of it perfectly usable, Brier said.

“We took almost all the wood used in the coffee shop out of dumpsters,” he said. “This wood looks good and it would be a total waste to throw it out.”

Kava Shteeble is indeed handsome, its tan-and-brown hardwood floors and walls giving off a sort of rustic appeal that’s echoed by an original, refinished tin ceiling and one wall of warm red exposed brick. There’s not a ton of room inside, but Brier said he hopes that will foster a sense of comfort.

“We want you to come here, hang out, do some work on your computer,” he said. “We want everybody to feel welcome."


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