New Kid on the Block: Interlude Coffee & Tea

When Josh Kim moved to New York City from Irvine, California, to study classical piano at Juilliard, he discovered independent cafés and good coffee: “I was surprised coffee could taste different,” he says. “I was used to Starbucks!” After graduating, he moved back west to help with his dad’s music-education business—and he found the coffee in Orange County lacking. “I’d drive all the way to L.A. just to visit Intelligentsia, which wasn’t going to be sustainable in the long run.” Eventually, he bought a manual home espresso machine and taught himself how to use it, sourcing beans from roasters all over. He returned to New York City with the plan to get an MBA, but none of the likely career paths looked appealing, so he took a job doing something he knew he’d love: At the Joe café chain, he rose from working the register to being a barista to training new employees. Then he went to manage Spreadhouse, a café on Suffolk, where he also developed the food menu.

By then, he was ready for a café of his own, and the result is now open on Hudson Street: Interlude Coffee & Tea. Kim has clearly given careful consideration about every decision, down to the logo: A circle with two parallel slashes, it’s meant to evoke the musical symbol for a caesura, or pause; a clock, to indicate a break from your workday; and a coffee bean. “While I was figuring out what to do, I also took a product-design course at Parsons,” he says. “I like minimalist style, very clean, but I didn’t want the café to feel cold, so we incorporated wood and cane chairs.”

As you should expect if you read the first paragraph, the coffee is very good, among the best in Tribeca. Using beans from George Howell Coffee, Interlude aims to appeal both to connoisseurs and casual drinkers. “Our house coffee is more chocolatey, and nutty, while our ‘featured’ coffee is on the bright, fruity, delicate side. We’re pushing the boundaries of what people think coffee should be.” Also of note: Iced coffee is available as nitro brew as well as flash brew, where fresh hot coffee gets cooled in one minute, without any dilution from ice.

Tea is of equal importance, which is why it gets billing in Interlude’s name. It comes from Tea Dealers, with a couple of options in every category. “Most cafés don’t offer straight ceremonial shot of matcha, just lattes and other concoctions,” says Kim, “We wanted to stay true to the roots of the matcha ceremony, too.” He thinks that matcha fans will follow the same arc as many coffee lovers, including himself, have: “I started drinking iced lattes with Splenda, and now I drink straight espresso.”

Last but certainly not least is the pastry program, which Kim’s sister, Melody, is in charge of. “She was teaching piano, working as a nanny, and baking as a hobby,” he says. “And she was also at a point where she was ready for the next step. So I invited her to join me.” The baked goods are classics, often with a twist: oatmeal-pickled-raisin cookies, banana sesame loaf, honey butter scones, malted chocolate chip cookies, blueberry maple muffins, cream cheese Funfetti cookies…. Still to come: sandwiches, yogurt pots, and affogatos.

Interlude Café is at 145 Hudson (between Beach and Hubert);

Recent New Kid on the Block / First Impressions articles:
A Summer Day Café
Allied Maker
Trader Joe’s
Twenty First Gallery



  1. They are such a great addition to the neighborhood.

  2. Really nice people!! Its good energy over there. And honestly a reeally good cappuccino!!

  3. Popped in recently; fantastic addition to the neighborhood, great drinks and they were so nice. We will be regulars and wish them the best of luck!

  4. So glad to have them here.
    The neighborhood really needs more mom and pop shops like this who take great pride in selling a quality product. Tribeca residents should really support them – I know I will.

  5. Good luck to them – I worry about that area though. Quiet…

    • There are actually quite a few decent-size office buildings (Citigroup, Havas, WeWork, etc.) within coffee-break distance of Interlude, and they’re far more helpful to a café than residential buildings—especially ones with a handful of people living in 5,000-square-foot apartments.