If you had a capacious, sun-bathed, Scandinavian-chic space beer garden just, you know—sitting there empty all day long, what would you do with it? For Evil Twin Brewing founder Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, the answer was pretty obvious. Open up a coffee bar within the space, making the day-to-night transition seamless for those who love to drink things. And you'd call it Evil Twin Coffee, of course.
Danish transplant Jarnit-Bjergsø unveiled the NYC outpost of Evil Twin Brewing in Ridgewood, Queens, in the fall of 2019 to great beer-nerd acclaim. Indeed, zoning-friendly Queens has become the heart of NYC's craft beer scene in recent years with an outcropping of several notable breweries—a growth that's apace with a coffee roasting boom within the same borough. And though the beer hall had plenty to recommend it as strictly a night spot, from Evil Twin's celebrated, irreverent brews to tempting food trucks to a stunning indoor/outdoor space—Jarnit-Bjergsø felt he could push it one step further.
“We had the space,” says Jarnit-Bjergsø. “And there really isn't any coffee out here… we're paying rent anyway, so I was like, let's just do it ourselves.”
Thus was born Evil Twin Coffee, a daytime joint that's not-quite-pop-up, not-quite-full-cafe living inside the greenhouse-bright taproom on George Street. In a natural move, the brewer tapped lauded roasters Sey Coffee, neighbors just across the borough boundary in Bushwick, Brooklyn, to provide coffee for the endeavor. They've worked together before—with Sey providing coffee for beers like Sey No More—and the roaster even provides them a bespoke Evil Twin Coffee package.
The coffee setup, which is compact but serious, occupies a makeshift “window” framed out atop the larger bar, topped with hanging plants and set apart by a glittery red reclaimed marble countertop. (Reclaimed, that is, from a marble warehouse on the same block that stored some slabs in the Evil Twin space before moving away and forgetting them.) A La Marzocco Linea anchors espresso service, while a Marco Jet provides batch brew. Mahlkönig grinders (EK43 and E65S) back the lineup.
As at Sey, pastries are provided by Bushwick's L'Impremerie, whose chef Gus Reckel “has an approach to pastries that's kind of like my approach to brewing—where there's no rules,” says Jarnit-Bjergsø. “I don't like gimmicks, but I think if you think something will work, don't stick to your rules.”
For now, the hidden-away cafe—one must enter through a set back courtyard—is slowly building business. “This building has been empty for at least 10 to 15 years,” says Jarnit-Bjergsø, “so people are used to just walking by.” But as the Ridgewood landscape continues to change, and Brooklynites continue to drift further east, attention to the space—at all hours—seems inevitable. (Look for a speakeasy-style cocktail bar to open just behind the taproom, too.)
Jarnit-Bjergsø admits coffee isn't his main business interest, but that won't stop him. “I still want to be one of the best coffee shops in the city, that's who I am,” he tells Sprudge. “So let's set the bar a little higher. I've been into coffee for many many years… this is an opportunity for me to live out another dream of mine.”