Wednesday, February 1, 2017

You Must Be Looking (For Coffee) In All The Wrong Places... least if Starbucks is your only go to coffee shop, at least that is what I think.

This evening, on a firearms forum, I read a few posts in a thread about the recent announcement by Starbuck's that they would be hiring 10,000 refugees over the next five years (source). This has apparently disgruntled many Americans who believe that Starbucks should hire Americans, especially homeless veterans before even considering hiring refugees from foreign lands. I will not discuss that further but what I will do is write about an alternative to places like huge corporate businesses like Starbucks and will limit myself to writing about one particular such business located in NY City. It is a true mom and pop - family run - coffee shop (no counter space to sit down for a cup-a-joe or espresso-frappe-latte combo or whatever). They sell coffee beans, ground coffee, teas, coffee and tea brewing equipment and accessories, cups and mugs, coffee to go (I think) and a small selection of candy among some other things but coffee is their main business. The place I am talking about is Porto Rico Importing Co. The reason I am writing about them again, yes I have written about them before in passing, is that someone on that firearms forum wrote this:
"starbucks roasted coffee is $12LB
i have tried many brands, but there are no local bastards who can roast coffee for shit!

If i was wealthy i would get it mail-order from one of many great roasters. but $18LB plus Shipping FU!"

The following was my reply:

"You must be looking in the wrong places. I, my family and some friends, thoroughly enjoy coffees available at Porto Rico Importing Co. located in Greenwich village in NYC. If you are not local, you can order online. Do not expect to buy a single pound of coffee and get a great deal once shipping is added to the price. Instead, order at least 5 pounds at once and save a lot on shipping. For instance, I just checked on a single pound of French Sumatra Mandheling (my favorite for a strong and marvelous flavor) coffee from them @ $9.99 per pound. Shipping it from them to Buffalo, NY 14226 would cost an additional $12.76. I chose Buffalo because if you are in NY it is far from NYC and probably the highest shipping or close to it within state. That would be a combined total of $22.75 for sale price and shipping for that single pound of coffee (you would have to add any applicable sales tax too). That is quite the expensive total cost for a single pound of coffee but there is a solution to that.
The solution to make it less expensive per pound is easy - just buy a few more pounds at the same time. Ground coffee, which is the way I buy it, keeps fairly well at room temp and even better frozen and yes it freezes well. Of course, the sell whole beans too and you can grind it yourself to make it stay fresh even longer than room temp stored ground coffee. If you bought 5 pounds of this coffee the total would be the cost for the coffee @ $9.99 per pound or a total of $49.95 sale price, plus only $13.68 total shipping (and any applicable tax) for a total of $63.63 (plus applicable sales tax). So instead of paying that whopping $22.75 for a single pound with shipping (excluding tax), each pound of a 5 pound order would come out to only $12.73 per pound shipped (excluding any applicable taxes).
They sell a wide variety of coffees in light (regular), Vienna, French and Espresso roasts, and also sell: organic coffees, flavored coffees and decaf coffees. Their least expensive coffee is probably around $7.99 per pound and the most expensive right now on their website is about $99 per pound (or at least the highest I saw) and that was Jamaican Blue Mountain. Their coffees come from around the globe. Another excellent coffee they offer is light roasted Tanzanian Peaberry. I think if you try them, and order 5 different types of coffee in a five pound order, you will find at least one or two that you like very much and maybe even one you consider to be exceptional. I make trips there every couple to few months and if going to NYC for some other reason try to stop there as well. Excellent coffee, lots of tea too, odd coffee mugs and treats, weird customers (yours truly included), nice employees, great customer service. It is all much better in the store on Bleecker Street than the one in Brooklyn and I cannot speak to the other two in Manhattan as I have never been to those. I imagine that the owners are likely looney leftists but then again I do not know and they could be staunch conservatives. I do not know because I have never inquired about the politics of the owners or their employees and they have never pushed it in my face nor inquired about mine. The owners, the Longo family, have been in business since 1905 - first to sell bread then to sell coffee. After tiring of the bakery business, they bought the Porto Rico Importing Co. in 1958 which had been around - just across the street from 201 Bleecker - since 1907. Even though they now have other coffee store locations, their main store (both the bakery and then the coffee business) has always been at the same location - 201 Bleecker Street. That is where the current owner lives - upstairs from the shop - and where his mother lived before him and his grandparents before that. They are not in business to make political statements through their business as far as I am aware; I like that. I highly recommend this place and their coffees; I consider their coffees and service far superior to Starbucks.
More on the Longo Family story here: That story by the way was amazing and left me wanting to know more. I would love to meet the owner some day while at his shop even if just to pay him a compliment for keeping an old tradition in America alive - the mom & pop shop passed from one generation to the next. I hope at least one of his children takes over when he is ready to retire."

I have to say, their coffee truly is far superior to anything at Starbuck's in my opinion. So is the service. Being it is a true mom & pop family run shop, I would rather spend my money there than at a place like Starbucks any day. Not saying I will never have another coffee at Starbucks, they are all over the place and Porto Rico Importing Co only has the five local locations as at as I know but when it comes to buying beans or ground coffee Porto Rico Importing Co. is my go to place of choice if I have the time to go there. I just hope they never get political like Starbucks's.

 All the best,
Glenn B



B said...

Dude, McDonalds sells better coffee than Starbucks.

Starbucks is overroasted shit.

mitchrodee said...

Fox News left out the fact that Starbucks will be hiring immigrants to work in the 75 countries they do business in, not simply 10,000 jobs here within the US. Don't believe me, google and read stories from a variety of news sources. It's sort of a big detail to leave out.