It’s long been the city that never sleeps, but New Yorkers are only starting to get serious about coffee.
It’s long been the city that never sleeps, but New Yorkers are only starting to get serious about coffee.

Aussie coffee expert’s guide to NYC

TOBY Smith opened his first café in Sydney in 2001, by 2012 his specialty brew, Toby's Estate, had stormed New York's espresso scene.

To the delight of latte lovers in the buzzy Big Apple, he continues to expand.

With five namesake cafes and counting, the caffeine-connoisseur-turned-entrepreneur has been spending some quality time Stateside.

So after his morning coffee fix, what does Toby get up to in the city that never sleeps? We asked him

WHEN YOU WAKE UP IN NEW YORK, WHAT'S THE FIRST THING YOU FEEL LIKE DOING?

Heading out for coffee and to have vegemite on toast. I generally head to one of our Toby's Estate cafes.

WHERE WOULD YOU TAKE A VISITING FRIEND FOR LUNCH?

I'd either take them to The Standard Grill or Brooklyn Sweetwater's courtyard.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE NEIGHBOURHOOD BISTRO YOU LIKE TO DINE IN?

It would have to be Balthazar in SoHo. I love the classic French bistro atmosphere and its fun vibe. It's a great place just to sit and people watch.

WHAT'S A MUST-SEE SIGHT YOU RECOMMEND TO VISITORS TO NEW YORK?

The High Line walk - I always do the walk when I'm in NYC, rain, hail, snow or shine. I've even done the walk during a blizzard.

 

The High Line Park walk is a must-do in New York.
The High Line Park walk is a must-do in New York.

 

WHAT DO YOU NEW YORKERS DO BETTER THAN AUSSIES?

I'd have to say that New Yorkers are better at free pouring their drinks than Aussies and we're talking about alcohol here not coffee.

WHAT DO AUSSIES DO BETTER THAN NEW YORKERS?

Without a doubt, we do a better job with the fish n' chip combo, chicken shops as well as affogatos and chocolate.

WHAT'S THE HARDEST THING TO GET USED TO WHEN YOU ARRIVE IN NEW YORK?

The chilling winds off the Hudson, traffic and crowds. But that's New York, so just lap it up.

HOW DO NEW YORKERS CONSUME COFFEE DIFFERENTLY TO AUSSIES?

New Yorkers are much more into filter coffees, cold brew and iced coffees.

WHERE WOULD YOU GO ON AN AFTERNOON OFF IN NEW YORK CITY?

Winter afternoon jazz session, or summer outdoor concert events.

WHERE CAN WE FIND YOU HAVING AN EVENING DRINK?

I tend to head to the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn and usually go for martinis, old fashions, negronis … in that order.

 

Toby Smith and Adam Boyd of Toby's Estate in Williamsburg. Picture: Ramson Stuart
Toby Smith and Adam Boyd of Toby's Estate in Williamsburg. Picture: Ramson Stuart

 

WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO STAY IN THE CITY?

I usually crash on my business partner's couch or at The William Vale in Brooklyn.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR AUSSIE TRAVELLERS HEADING TO THE BIG APPLE?

Be very aware of winter and summer extremities. It's the one thing that always gets me, so be prepared to pack your wellington boots in winter and thongs in summer.

MANHATTAN OR BROOKLYN?

As a visitor, you have to do both. They have such different and distinct vibes about them.

BAGELS OR BREAD ROLLS?

New York Bagels for sure - with the classic combo of smoked salmon, cream cheese and capers.

BURGERS OR HOT DOGS?

Burgers all the way as I'm not a hot dog fan.

BEER OR COCKTAILS?

Cocktails - tequila based as agave is good for you.

CAFFEINE OR DECAF?

Just coffee thanks.


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