At the Elm City’s newest coffee shop, baristas will soon be pulling European-style espresso and steeping tea as the scent of fresh coffee wafts in the air.
Midpoint Coffee Brewers, located at 250 Crown St. next to BAR, will open in roughly one month, serving pastries and beverages. Although the menu’s selections and prices are still being drafted, Jack Donmez, who owns Midpoint Coffee and Istanbul Cafe across the street, said the brewery will sell high-end, certified-organic coffee, artisanal pastries and chocolate. The shop will open as hundreds of new residents move into nearby apartment units on Crown Street.
“Everybody likes coffee,” Donmez said. “And my target is for everyone to drink high-quality coffee.”
The new shop will source its beans from around the world, mainly from African and South American countries. Workers will pull espresso shots and steam milk with the Italian espresso machine Faema E71, the first of its model in the United States, according to Donmez. Baristas will also brew coffee by pouring hot water over ground beans.
Cimbali, the Italian manufacturer of Midpoint Coffee’s espresso machine, has also been helping Donmez bring a European-style coffee shop to New Haven.
Midpoint Coffee will open near several other coffee establishments downtown — including Willoughby’s Coffee & Tea, Blue State Coffee and Starbucks — that operate two shops in New Haven’s nine-square downtown.
These companies all have their own lines of high-end coffee as well. At Willoughby’s, customers can buy Serious Select coffee beans, such as the Guatemala El Socorro Yellow Bourbon, at $17.99 per pound. Blue State, which was co-founded by Drew Ruben ’11 LAW ’17 before he entered Yale College, brews and sells beans from specific locations abroad as well as specialized individual farms.
The in-shop costs for that special coffee is the same as the other roasts, Blue State CEO Carolyn Greenspan said. But buying a bag of beans for those roasts is more expensive than for the other coffees.
Willoughby’s and Blue State sometimes have an advantage in New Haven’s coffee market since some customers prefer beans that are locally brewed and headquartered nearby.
“I’d rather go to an independent shop, as long as they have good pastries,” said Carol Whitney, a frequent Elm City visitor.
But Starbucks is trying to compete with local brands, which often market themselves as high-quality, with high-end coffee of its own.
The Starbucks located at 1068–1070 Chapel St. serves its Reserve line of coffee using its Clover machine, a roughly $10,000 brewer that combines vacuum technology and a French press system. Reserve beans are also available for purchase. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced in December that he would step down from his position to operate and expand Starbucks Reserve.
Donmez said he hopes that he will be able to expand Midpoint Coffee. If business goes well, Donmez will open another, larger shop in New Haven and then in the surrounding area, he added.
This is not Donmez’s first time operating a business. He developed marketing skills in Turkey and Greece before moving to the United States in 2008. In America, Donmez founded the Westport-based Green Eagle Transport, a FedEx contractor, and benefitted from the rise in shipping for internet retailers. Now Green Eagle boasts a fleet of roughly 90 vehicles.
“The United States is an amazing country,” Donmez said.
The coffee shop’s namesake is inspired by Istanbul, the “midpoint” between Europe and Asia.