From emu-egg mayonnaise to beard oil, the Brooklyn brand runs rampant in this city.
So imagine my surprise when, walking through the epicenter of it all last Sunday, Park Slope, I saw this sign outside of a cafe on 7th Avenue
The proprietors of Cocoa Bar have apparently looked beyond their neighborhood to serve coffee roasted a good 13 miles—but really another world—away in Mariners Harbor, Staten Island.
Here’s a bit of history from Unique Coffee’s website:
In September of 1995 [James] Ferrara incorporated Unique Coffee Inc. Starting in the garage of his home with the help of his father Al and wife Toni; they started the business. It was a lot of work, not having a roaster in his garage Ferrara’s first account was a gentleman in Brooklyn who had a small shop roaster that he rented time on. He would buy his green coffee; pick it up at the pier; drive it to Brooklyn; roast it; bring it back to Staten Island; package it; load the van; and deliver it the next day all while doing his own sales while on the route.
At the time he was using his and his father’s garage along with their first Dodge van as storage; he then realized that it was time to move into a warehouse.
Unique Coffee moved into their first warehouse in the Mariner’s Harbor section of Staten Island in 1997 which is where they purchased their 60 kilo roaster and believed that they would never grow out of the then very large space.
While providing New York City with the finest coffee the business grew to a point where they again needed to find more space. In late 2000 Unique Coffee began the move to their current manufacturing facility and corporate offices where they operate today.
That current office is at 3075 Richmond Terrace in Staten Island. According to this article in DNAinfo New York,
Unique Coffee typically roasts 8,000 to 12,000 pounds of coffee during an eight-hour shift. They bag it by hand, then sell it from their website and in 4,000 retail stores around the country, including Stop & Shop, T.J. Maxx, Bed Bath and Beyond, Marshalls and Homegoods.
Their beans can also be bought from 350 stores in Canada, 17 countries in Scandinavia and recently Korea and China.
In addition to coffee under the Unique label, the roaster grinds private-label java for several supermarkets and gourmet shops in Manhattan. They also sell coffee to several local shops, including Royal Crown Bakery in South Beach and Pasticceria Bruno in West Brighton.
Who knew that coffee roasted in Mariners Harbor was shipped around the world—and across the Narrows?