New Kid on the Block: Cafe Boca Ciega

Cafe Boca CiegaCafe Boca Ciega, which you first read about here, officially opens this morning. Its founders are Osiel Rojas and Joel Morejon, friends since sixth grade who opened a record shop, Safety in Numbers, on Orchard Street in 1999, which led to record distribution and nightlife events. In 2004, they started No Romance Galleries—but we’ll wait till its new incarnation, in the storefront attached to Cafe Boca Ciega, debuts in April. (The first show, featuring eight artists, opens April 3.) And they also have a digital media agency called Oscuro, with offices at 373 Broadway.

“This is our rendition of what we think a Cuban coffee shop should look like in New York City,” says Rojas. “For fifteen years now, we haven’t been able to find a good cup of Cuban coffee here.” When I ask what makes Cuban coffee different, he responds about the roast, style, presentation, technique…. I explain that I still don’t understand. “It’s fucking strong!” he says. “It’s crack! You’ve been drinking gasoline. This is rocket fuel.”

You can order a colada (one cup that you share via little cups), a cortadito (akin to a macchiato), or con leche (like a latte). I can testify that the cortadito is indeed strong, with sugar for extra pep. Of course you can always just order a coffee, an Americano, or whatever. The kiosk also sells Harney & Sons tea and Cuban sodas, and the food offerings will be expanding from just pastries and cookies to include Cuban sandwiches and what Rojas says is a fantastic flan. The café is open seven days a week.

P.S. “Boca ciega,” or “blind mouth,” is evidently an old pirate term for a hidden cove; it also happens to be the name of a beach in Cuba, Rojas’s favorite while growing up there.

Cafe Boca Ciega is at 355 Broadway (between Franklin and Leonard);

Cafe Boca Ciega machineCafe Boca Ciega cupsCafe Boca Ciega coffee bagCafe Boca Ciega sodaRecent New Kid on the Block/First Impressions articles:
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