Yet another Aussie coffee company has landed in New York City, albeit with a twist on the usual cafe model. Positioning themselves as a wholesale supplier, Abbotsford Road exists foremost to serve other cafes, and its grandiose tasting-room-cafe-roastery in Brooklyn’s industrial Gowanus neighborhood is a one-stop shop for a brew, cafe pantry supplies, and extensive coffee training sessions.
Abbotsford Road is the project of ex-Brisbanites Karl Jameson, Logan Kedwell, and Phillip Di Bella, the latter of whom once owned a shop named Di Bella Coffee, on Brisbane’s Abbotsford Road, offering inspiration for the name of the group’s newest venture across the hemispheres.
The Gowanus space opened in late 2017, a 27,000-square-foot warehouse with all sorts of toys on display, from a gleaming new Sanremo Opera to an even shinier 60-kilo IMF Roaster, which dishes out coffees twice a week. Sacks of green beans stack atop one another, exemplifying the company’s wide access to green coffee thanks to a sourcing program Di Bella established in Melbourne, while the cafe area hosts an ice-cream-parlor-esque display of roasted coffee to take home. Simply grab a scooper and take your pick of what’s cookin’ that week.
As Kedwell and I sit and chat about our recent moves to the city (mine from Los Angeles and his from Brisbane), we also piece together what makes Abbotsford Road different in not only the Australian coffee scene here, but also the New York coffee scene as a whole. And in this world of heated cafe competition, he asks, “Why can’t we all just be friends?” He answers his own question with Abbotsford Road’s business approach, which is to help the middleman. Indeed, Abbotsford has no plans to open additional retail space.
“We don’t want to compete with anyone,” he insists.
While the roasting company is open to providing coffee for any business, the main focus has been bringing beans to cafes around the city, along with providing employees extensive training for it. With a growing number of cafes and entrepreneurs inspired by the specialty coffee movement, Kedwell welcomes everyone to the club, and has so far established a small circle of wholesale accounts throughout New York, including spots like Paradigm and Gold Roast Cafe.
Also, while Abbotsford Road does offer single-origin coffees, their focus is mostly on a variety of light, medium, and dark blends. In addition to providing education and beans, Abbotsford has supplies like chai concentrates and flavor syrups on site for clients to “grab and go” as they refill and restock.
Still fresh to the scene, Abbotsford Road has big plans for the coming months. The team already has a coffee subscription service and offers free coffee classes for the public, which cover all grounds from an introduction to specialty coffee to latte art skills.
With a massive new space and big goals to educate and inform, Abbotsford Road has a lot of promises to hold up to in New York over the coming year. They may end up casually competing with the natives after all.