Hudson Coffee Traders, owned by locally grown Tim Brooks and his wife Donna, have opened a satellite store at the Trailways bus station in the Village of New Paltz. The upscale, organic coffeehouse and bakery has enjoyed great success and loyal clientele in uptown Kingston for the past ten years; but the Brookses always wanted to do something in New Paltz.
The grand opening was filled with friends and family, champagne and gourmet hors d’ oeuvres and of course, coffee, espresso and cappuccino from the finest organic farms in the world, blended and steamed and created to perfection by the owners. “They’ve ruined espresso-drinking for me anywhere else,” said Kevin Pitcock of Stone Ridge, who was there to celebrate the opening. “Their espresso is an artform.”
The couple — Tim from New Paltz and Donna originally from New York City — spent several years out West, where they discovered that “the West had a much more advanced coffee culture than we did back East,” said Tim. “Even in small towns in Montana, it was easy to get a great espresso.”
Both coffee aficionados and fans of homemade baked goods and meals, they began to search for a place where they could open up their own coffeeshop. “At that time, New Paltz was just too expensive. We wanted to open up something here, but it was not economically feasible. We found the place in Kingston and immediately fell in love with it: the history of the building, the location, the space,” said Donna of their café at 288 Wall Street in Kingston.
She noted that at that time, five years ago, the recession had just hit and “Uptown Kingston was still depressed. Our friends wished us well, but it was definitely a risk. We stuck it out, and I’m so grateful to say today that it’s doing so well.”
Being from New Paltz, they have a strong local following that had always wanted them to open up something in town. “When we heard of this space becoming available, we said, ‘Let’s do it!’”
Somehow they managed to turn a 450-square-foot space at the bus station into a charming coffeehouse with new ceilings, flooring, painted walls and state-of-the-art espresso machines and ovens. “Our brand is super-important to us and what our reputation is built on,” said Donna. “So we wanted to make sure we were offering the same high-end organic coffee and homemade baked goods that we’re known for in Kingston.”
To that end, Tim proudly pointed to their shining La Marzocco 6B5 handmade Italian espresso machine, made in Florence. “It’s arguably the best espresso made in the world,” he said, noting that he and Donna and their staff had always aimed to “bring the art back into espresso-making,” steaming the milk just right, creating the perfect blend. If you compare the best espresso machine under 200, it would have nothing to compare itself to such a machine, the blend of art and engineering is world class.
Equally important to them was to purchase all organic and Fair Trade or Direct Trade coffee. “Fair Trade has a middleman,” explained Tim. “Direct Trade is where the roaster goes directly to the farm and pays them for the coffeebeans. The coffee-grower gets more money and there’s no middleman.” “That’s been so important to us: to purchase organic coffee directly from these farms,” added Donna.
While their 2,000-square-foot space in Kingston obviously offers a much greater line, the Brookses have done a phenomenal job renovating the small bus-station shop so that they can offer as much as possible to those traveling to New York City and back, and to a larger clientele.
“We will have egg sandwiches in the morning, our freshly baked scones, muffins, sandwiches, juices and of course, a large menu of coffee, cappuccino, lattes, et cetera.”
They said that of course, because of their location at the Trailways bus station, they’re conscious of catering to that clientele. “They can come in, grab a good cup of coffee and sandwich and head to the bus. But we want to be much broader than just those using the buses. The people in New Paltz know us; they’ve already started to come during our ‘soft opening,’ and people are just excited for us to be here, which means a lot to us.”
They will also have a rotating art show by local artists, beginning with the work of Polly Law. A display of bricolage pieces based on Law’s book The Word Project, where she finds real English words that are no longer in use, provides their definition and designs a piece around the meaning of the lost word, is now on view.
Hudson Coffee Traders will be open every day beginning at 5:45 a.m. to be there for the first bus, and will remain open until 6 p.m. on weekdays, and then again from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. They also hope to begin office deliveries in the spring.
Café au lait!