Saratoga Springs, New York, known for its horse racing culture, music venues, and popular bar scene, has finally become home to a specialty coffee shop. Kru Coffee, a surprising oasis in a strip mall off of New York State Route 50, opened in August 2016.
The venture is the product of owners Kristi Brock and Ryan Miller, the latter of whom was trained by David Schomer of Espresso Vivace in Seattle before bringing back his experience to the East Coast. Miller’s success as the owner of Caffé Vero in Lake George led to his opening Spektor Coffee Roasters in Glens Falls, New York. With Brock, Miller saw great potential for specialty coffee in Saratoga Springs, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The interior of Kru is sleek yet rustic, using wood to soften the interior of the store’s boxy interior. Natural light floods through massive windows along the shop’s walls, illuminating the ground-level seating area. There are small tables and couches for customers to relax, as well as larger tables for a communal workspace. Above the bar is a lofted seating area with warm lighting and a more intimate, cozy feel. There are more tables, as well as a bar seating area with stools that overlook the first floor.
Kru has an extensive menu as well as a concept bar within, dubbed Brūbender. Located in a small room next to the coffee bar, it has a sleek modern aesthetic with dim, purple lighting. Brūbender features a rotating menu of specialty drinks on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m.–4 p.m, like cold-brewed cascara tea mixed with pineapple juice, fresh lime, and a coffee/egg white mixture. In addition to the concept bar, Kru has plans to expand into a wine bar in December. The shop’s liquor license will also allow for the use of alcohol in the concept bar to create new possibilities for specialty drinks.
Kru is aiming to become a community space for live music, movie screenings, and more. The pending addition of a wine bar and the new tartine menu, featuring various toasts, should create an inviting space to fit all interests. And perhaps most excitingly, Kru will host barista classes in conjunction with The State University of New York (SUNY) Adirondack; the 20-hour course will be offered twice a year: once in October for the fall semester, and once in April for the spring semester.
Kru boasts state of the art equipment for their coffee preparation: they use a FETCO brewer for drip and a Mahlkönig EKK 43 for grinding. Alpha Dominche Steampunks are used to brew single-origin coffees, and cold brew is made in a Yama drip tower. For espresso, a three-group Slayer is paired with a Mazzer grinder, and an additional single-group Slayer is kept in the concept bar for specialty drinks. The shop’s pastries are prepared by Spektor, but are baked in-house. Coffees, roasted in-house on an electric Joper roaster, are offered by the cup, and include blends and single-origins as well as coffees from their own proprietary farm in Hawaii. Of the owners’ many goals, expanding their wholesale business is a key point on their horizon. For now, the beginnings they’ve shown on Route 50 have already changed the game in Saratoga Springs.
Adam Friedlander is a freelance writer. Read more Adam Friedlander on Sprudge.