Yankees-Mets. How to hail a cab in the rain. The original Ray’s pizza.
All things New Yorkers take seriously.
None, though, ranks as high as a man’s opinion on where to get the best cup of joe in town.
Our pick for the five boroughs’ best beans?
Devoción, a Brooklyn-by-way-of-Bogotá roast house that’s introducing bleary-eyed sippers to the world of “fourth wave coffee.”
“The hell's fourth wave coffee?” you ask. Fair question.
First wave coffee provides you with the beans and says do what you will with ‘em — think Folgers. Second wave does that plus execution — you’ve probably heard of Starbucks. Third wave encompasses brewers that build relationships with suppliers to ensure quality from farm-to-cup — Think Coffee, Seven Grams and Variety come to mind.
Devoción, though, goes one step further. Which is why we're dubbing 'em fourth wave.
Typically, coffee beans are harvested and then sit in storage (or on a boat) anywhere from 4-6 months. While your local might be roasting their beans daily, they’re not importing them that frequently. Devoción is.
Founder Steven Sutton and Nelson Vargas, the company’s on-the-ground quality-control manager, work directly with their farmers, sans middle man. Vargas spends more than 60 hours a week driving through Colombia’s mountains to check in on a network of farms nearly 400 strong that contributes to Devoción’s output.
By cutting out the exporter, Devoción is able to FedEx freshly harvested beans direct from Colombia year-round. Each batch of beans in their on-site roasting lab was harvested a mere 7-10 days previously. Every package is stamped not only with a “roasted” date, but a “harvested” date as well.
And you can find those packages at their HQ, a warm and inviting coffee house with an airy skylight and a living wall in Williamsburg.
I’ve lived in Italy. I’ve lived in Little Italy. I lived in Kauai, home to that heavenly Kona. I was there when San Francisco's Blue Bottle threw open their garage door and bespectacled coffee snobs started turning up like moths to a streetlight.
But one cupping session at Devoción had me smitten.
Give it a go for yourself. The sessions are available two times per month by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Beans are available at their BK locale and the brew is served at Del Posto, Hillstone and Hotel Americano in Manhattan.
And Devoción donates every bean older than 30 days to NY City Harvest.
That’s what we call fair-trade.