Birch isn't just one of the best local roasters in NYC -- with eight storefronts, including a brand-new location in the Bronx, it's also one of the fastest growing. Since 2009, the brand has expanded its reach from a single shop at 27th and Madison to outposts across Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens. The secret to Birch's success? It simply boils down to quality control.
Not only do co-founders Paul Schlader and Jeremy Lyman hope to make the global coffee industry more fair and sustainable by sourcing from specific micro farms that have proven track records of caring for their communities -- they also scrutinize these growers' beans. As the overseer of all of Birch's purchasing, and one of only about 3,500 Licensed Q Graders in the world, Schlader, in particular, pays an insane amount of attention to green coffee on a level that most coffee purveyors (especially larger chains) couldn't even try to fake. Simply put, the man is coffee obsessed.
Meticulous selection and roasting is exactly what makes Birch's coffee so good -- which was apparent when I visited the roast house in Long Island City, where Schlader took me through the entire roasting process, step by step, from sorting raw beans to weighing the final product.