Mark Boccard regards two small dishes of roasted coffee beans. "I could never mistake the Ethiopian for the Brazilian," says the owner of Southdown Coffee, which opened Sept. 6. To me, the beans look interchangeable, but Boccard urges me to take a whiff of each and, in fact, while the Brazilian smell recognizably like coffee, the Ethiopian beans give off a powerfully fruity and rich scent. The aroma is borne out in the flavor of the brewed coffee.
Boccard is a Huntington native who has spent the past few years roasting, brewing, pulling and pouring coffee in Brooklyn. "I love the endless variety of tastes," he says, "and how the coffee expresses where it's from and how it's been roasted." At Southdown, he lets the coffee speak for itself. Every day, he offers three drip varieties, two espressos and one iced. You can have the drip in small ($2) or large ($2.50), but there's only one size of espresso, macchiato, cortado, cappuccino and latte ($2.50 to $4). Aside from a maple latte made with actual maple syrup, there are no flavored coffees. (Beans, whole or ground, also are for sale from $14 to $16 for 12 ounces.)
But there are plenty of flavored foods. Southdown gets a delivery of croissants, brioches and cookies most mornings from Fiorello Dolce bakery, about a quarter mile down Wall Street.
With its vintage cupboards and marble countertops, the shop has a clean, retro-chic vibe. Boccard and his manager, Jackie Pellicone, are already greeting customers by name.
Boccard roasts the coffee once a week at Pulley Collective in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Every Friday at 1 p.m. the shop holds free cuppings (tastings) that customers are welcome to attend.
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