By Merle Exit
Cold brewed coffee has become quite popular in recent years, especially with the availability of ready-made products in bottles and cartons. One Queens coffee shop has exactly what the customers want.
Toby Smith founded Toby’s Estate in Australia, where he met Adam Boyd and Amber Jacobson, the co-founders of Toby’s Estate Cold Brew in the United States. Boyd and Jacobson started their Brooklyn-based company, where small batches of roasted coffee are prepared, in 2012. They later expanded, opening additional locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
In 2016, the owners sought a café site in Queens and found a spot in Long Island City, located at 26-25 Jackson Ave., in a turn-of-the-century brick building with stunning high cathedral ceilings. This historic building was once an artist’s studio and family residence.
Customers order their drinks and/or food to go or seat themselves in either the indoor area or lush garden courtyard just down the back staircase.
Sunnyside resident Vince Pitrone is the assistant manager at the Long Island City location. He has been with the company for more than two years and has worked at the LIC site for 2 1/2 months.
“I began my coffee career at another local roaster working as a barista. I then found myself first having that position here,” Pitrone said. “Toby’s has a strict training program where you start out working at the register.”
Training is done at the main company in Brooklyn.
“I go through the program of basic brewing and espresso making. It continues with the use of milk as an art form scientific, particularly with the foam,” Pitrone said, adding that the tasting of the different coffees is done black and without sugar.
“We look to find the ‘notes’ of flavors in the beans. After that we get educated in what is the core curriculum where you learn the ins and outs of the company and standards. Once this is completed, you become a certified barista”
As an example of coffee beans, the Brooklyn Blend was being used for both cold brewed or as a filtered coffee on this day. It is described by Retail General Manager Amelia Evans as a “filter classic and go-to coffee of the day brimming with flavors of creamy cocoa, sweet toffee and rich dried fruits.” Toby’s has several whole beans coffees available for purchase and will grind them for your coffee maker or if you want to create your own cold brew batch.
Their espresso coffee for the day was the Bedford Blend, which according to the company, has tasting notes of “marmalade, pomegranate and brown sugar.”
Pastries and breakfast are available as well. You might choose, for instance Toby’s Breakfast consisting of scrambled eggs, espresso maple bacon, avocado, roasted tomatoes, plus sour dough toast with a side of butter and jam that comes with a mug of bottomless Brooklyn Blend. There is a small stand where you can obtain milk and sugar for this cold brewed coffee.
Don’t expect bottles of flavored syrups or even one such as Hershey’s for mocha drinks, as they make their own chocolate syrup.
Toby’s features two flavors of locally made Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream: vanilla bean and honeycomb.
The Long Island City location hosts a Cold Brew Happy Hour every Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. when guests can enjoy $2 cold brews and $2.50 scoops of ice cream.
Toby’s is open from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.