Simply peer in the window as you stroll by Kinship Coffee near the corner of 30th Avenue and Steinway Street, and you will see a pristine, intimate coffee shop seated to capacity at practically every hour it’s open.
Some patrons relax over glowing computer screens and electronic tablets, while others chat with comrades over plump doughnuts and glazed pastries. But the real energy behind this java joint is the founders’ love of latte that has demanded years of meticulous brewing. In fact, the winning formula has been percolating for quite a while.
Owners Jason Pierson and Stanley Rivera met eight years ago while serving as baristas in an independent café on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, but their passion for coffee began a long time before that.
Rivera’s father had been working for several years in the transportation industry in Peru. When his company finally shuttered, he jumped at the opportunity to move his family to Iowa. Shortly after, young Stanley and his mother were sent to Seattle, Washington, to learn more about the coffee industry.
“I fell in love with the ‘art’ of coffee first,” Rivera says. After learning the intricacies of the coffee-making process, he moved to New York City with his wife. Always working with coffee in some capacity, he developed an affinity for coffee and became interested in what it takes to operate a successful business. That is when fate introduced him to his present business partner.
That Upper East Side café closed only six months after opening, but Pierson and Rivera created Kinship shortly after.
Now two years old, Kinship has eased into a rhythm and established its place at the community table in Astoria. “We are launching our website in May,” explains Rivera, “along with a coffee subscription service for home brewers—we will be mailing coffee nationwide.” The hope is that the website can be a platform where coffee lovers, coffee professionals and coffee growers can connect and talk about the coffee subscriptions.
“We also started offering a weekly coffee class for home brewers,” Rivera adds. “Classes will be every Thursday from 8 to 9 p.m.”
As a preview of some new cold beverages Rivera plans to reveal later this month, we were offered a sample of the refreshingly delicious honey almond latte dusted with cinnamon powder. Kinship will also be introducing a cold brew sweetened with Vermont maple syrup, as well as a lavender agave matcha shaker.
In honor of the artistry of the community and much of the staff, Kinship will regularly curate art showings on the front wall. Rivera himself is an artist. “I think I am the least talented one who works here,” he says. If his coffee is any indication, it seems humility might factor in quite a bit. “It’s really all just math and science,” Rivera says of making coffee. But a sip of one of his mugs of mocha reveals an altogether different truth. Kinship truly is an art form.
Kinship Coffee is located at 30-05 Steinway St., Astoria, phone: 646-468-7149