Due to the hyper-local nature of coffee retail, “build it and they will come” is a perfect maxim for the response every new coffee shop that opens in the West Village receives. And thanks to the Australians, the Aussie coffee invasion of New York is now so widespread that there are two significant Australian cafés in the West Village just over a block away from each other, both completely swarmed with patrons. Like Bluestone Lane, Toby’s Estate has several spots in the city, though the most recent outpost is more squarely focused on coffee than the Australian café experience.
It’s an attractive triangle of space, sure to be flooded with light come spring when the scaffolding is removed, thanks to two walls of large windows that extend from the countertops to the ceiling. These countertops are generous enough to allow laptop use, so the already bustling shop will be even more packed when Wi-Fi is installed (it’s coming soon).
A high communal table, nook with a couch, and adjustable, industrial crank table add distinctive flair, but the shop also shares the same white motif and natural wood found in its Flatiron and Williamsburg locations. The most prominent adornments, however, are etched into the decor: the shop’s name in script, engraved into the stone floor before the entrance, and the chalk-like drawings on the red brick wall behind the counter. They limn various 19th-century coffee roasters, a little bit of coffee history befitting this landmarked location.
And the coffee? All single origins from Central America, East Africa, and South America — the usual suspects — are featured, plus espresso and milk-based options like the creamy, caramel-colored cortado, a drink growing in popularity around the city.
Organic teas and non-caffeinated drinks fill out the liquid offerings, while a selection of sweet pastries and a newly added roster of egg dishes, toasts (gotta offer an avocado smash nowadays), and granola, the latter three available until 3 p.m., satisfy hunger pangs. Home-brew tools like an adjustable-setting Hario hand grinder (for travelers, campers, and off-grid types who still demand the perfect cup, no matter the occasion) and a Baratza Encore burr grinder can be snapped up from the retail wall.
Toby’s has one major downfall, however: no bathroom.
The Charles Street location will also house a brew school (to be known as the “brew parlor”) downstairs, which will hold twice-weekly public cuppings, limited to five participants, for $5. Several classes will also be available, and topics will span home brewing, espresso, and even latte art. Providing classes for the public was an express purpose of the new shop, but already there is much to love about the latest charming corner coffee shop in the village (as long as you don’t have to pee).
Lauren Mowery is a wine, coffee, and travel writer based in NYC.