“The whole market is doing great,” said Nathan Slusser, a salesman at the upscale kitchen store Sur La Table in New York’s Soho neighborhood. He pointed to a shelf shining with coffee machines in all sizes and colors and added, “In fact, vendors are regularly releasing new models because of the demand.” Slusser’s hand came to rest on a particularly fancy machine with stainless steel casing and a price tag of $229.95. This was the Breville Café Roma Espresso, which makes both espresso and regular coffee. “These are very popular,” Slusser said. “It’s an investment.”
The economic crisis has gone a long way in re-domesticating coffee brewing. While Starbucks recognizes this and has responded - a spokesperson told us, carefully, “[G]iven the current economic status in the U.S., we’ve implemented a variety of a value based offers to address customers’ desire for everyday value” – home brewing seems to be percolating.
“I make it at home and bring it to work,” said Millee Moctezuma, on a cigarette break outside an office building on Broadway. “I used to go to Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts, but not anymore.”
A New York City government worker, Chris regularly bought his morning coffee at places like Starbucks until a year or so ago, when he started making his coffee at home. “It’s a matter of habit now,” he said, “and I’m saving money too.”
Other coffee vendors are feeling the effects, too. Moshe Nisanov, who runs a little coffee stand called Kosher Luncheonette on Fulton Street in downtown Manhattan, readily admits, “Business has slowed down… because people just don’t spend money.” To keep his regular customers coming, Nisanov often lowers the price of a regular-sized cup of coffee from $1.25 to one dollar.
And over at 'Wichcraft, an outdoor café in Midtown’s Bryant Park, server John Newman says, “People are generally buying smaller sizes.”
- Oli Foster