When we took our initial survey of the Manhattan specialty coffee landscape in 2009, the café that offered one of the most complete experiences was Kaffe 1668, a spacious two-story establishment in Tribeca with wooden sheep, stylish cartoon artwork, and beans from multiple coffee roasters. Prior to my most recent Manhattan trip, Swedish brothers Mikael and Tomas Tjatnberg opened a second branch nine blocks north. The darker, moodier branch features a towering ceiling and wood-centric design.
Premium coffee equipment includes two three-group Synessos and four Mazzer grinders.
They brew four different roasters on their pourover bar, which houses nine Hario ceramic cones, including Toby’s Estate, Counter Culture, Intelligentsia and Plowshares.
We already guzzle plenty of Intelligentsia coffee in Los Angeles, so we opted for a fairly clean cup of Plowshares Salvador Finca El Rosario ($2.99), which farmer Miguel Menendez grows in the Apaneca-Ilamatepec mountains.
Pastries are all house baked, including a flaky croissant.
We eventually devoured a double chocolate cookie, studded with walnuts.
Raspberry pound cake was probably my favorite slab, streaked with tart preserves.
The design impressed us, but we still prefer the original location, since it has better light, Wi-Fi, and a more social environment. After our experience, we returned to the original Kaffe 1668 and saw some more of their memorable branding, a sheepish superhero who revealed himself. Apparently he’s the black sheep of the superhero world. A rap group by the same name, Black Sheep, sang “The Choice is Yours,” suggesting, “You can get with this, or you can get with that.” If the new Kaffe 1668 is “this,” you should probably still get with it.