There’s just something special about a new coffee spot in New York City. The stakes are higher, the tension tauter, the degree of difficulty far more extreme—but that’s NYC for you. It takes something special to make it there, but you know what they say: if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.
Today as the 2022 Build-Outs season continues, we’re taking a closer look at Honey Moon, a “relatively new” coffee roasting company based in New York City. Their new collaborative space is located in Ridgewood, Queens, and it features a really interesting approach to coffee’s space as a cultural unifier across multiple pursuits and disciplines. Let’s dive in.
As told to Sprudge by Mike Naideau.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Honey Moon is relatively new coffee roasting operation based in New York City. It is run by me (Mike) and my brother Ryan. It is an organic extension of our collective, lifelong passions and pursuits. We’re brothers, New York natives, big coffee drinkers, musicians, artists, and community-focused people.
Additionally, we’ve both dipped into the coffee world over the years; I for a bit longer—I was at Stumptown for six years before launching Honey Moon. Since September 2021 we have formed personal relationships with coffee producers, importers, exporters, and community organizations in coffee-producing regions around the world and have independently and directly sourced, roasted, designed, and distributed several exclusive coffees throughout the United States. We have also produced a bunch of merch featuring original artwork by close friends.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
The new space is a collaborative effort between Honey Moon and some dear friends. The building has been a sweater factory and a bar and grill. The owner, who has lived in the building all their life, is going to have a hand in the cafe buildout. It’s in a relatively quiet, mostly residential area of Ridgewood, Queens.
The space’s primary focus will surely be the coffee. It will act as a space for customers to fully engage with and experience Honey Moon’s offerings, but the concept of the space is a bit more expansive than that. There will be a focus on independent music (Caleb Braaten of the NYC-based record label Sacred Bones will be involved) as well as used books and NY-based imprints (Matthew Winn of Brooklyn’s Molasses Books will be involved), etc. We plan to have events as well. Conceptually, we hope for the space to act as gathering place for Brooklyn/Queens/NYC communities, all while retaining a super firm focal point of exclusive Honey Moon beans.
What’s your approach to coffee?
We have a DIY approach to coffee. As much as we can possibly do ourselves, we will. This approach holds true with regards to sourcing, importing, designing, roasting, packaging, etc. What most interests me personally about the whole process is the sourcing (connecting with producers, understanding their worldviews, documenting their voices, etc.). Coffee production is such an incredibly lengthy and complex chain, with each link absolutely crucial in terms of transparency, quality, mutual trust, etc. There are so many risks, and this is the sort of thing we felt we wanted to explore more on a personal level when we launched Honey Moon. We strive to work directly and as collaboratively as possible with international partners who are producing amazing coffees and share our vision.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
As of now the equipment is still TBD. With regards to coffees, yes. We have an exciting, super exclusive collaborative offering from Chiapas, Mexico that will be roasted at origin and launched around the time of the shop opening. We also have a house, organic Ecuadorian offering that is currently being harvested exclusively for Honey Moon.
How is your project considering sustainability?
We strive to work with partners whose environmentally conscious approaches to coffee production resonate with us. This is perhaps most apparent with our partners in San Ramón, Nicaragua and Veracruz, Mexico. A portion of all money spent on these coffees goes to sustainable agriculture funds that they have set up (as well as women’s unpaid labor funds and a women-run cafe). In Ecuador, our main partner Pepe has a cosmic relationship with the Earth and carefully considers the Earth’s wellbeing in every step of the coffee production/exportation process at his farm. On the ground in New York, we plan to implement sustainable practices in the buildout of our cafe and make decisions on what type of materials and gear we choose to use with this notion in mind in order to limit unnecessary waste, etc.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
As we mentioned about, pretty much everyone involved from the coffee team to the build out crew has their roots in NYC music and arts scene. Some really cool top secret collaborations are already in the works… 😉