I’m always on the hunt for the perfect cup of coffee, so when I heard that Manhattan had a new coffee shop, Arrow Coffee Company, 1800 Claflin Road, I was beyond ecstatic. One more place to fill my caffeine addiction? Yes, please.
The coffee shop signed its lease in April and opened shop early this month. Arrow runs a pretty tight ship. When I went in at 3 p.m., there were only two baristas rocking out beverages for the masses, one of whom was David Adkins, the brains of the operation. He was friendly and helpful in telling me about the process, which is good because when I first noticed four scales in front of me, I sort of wondered if this is more “Breaking Bad” than just a normal cup of joe. (It is just for the coffee, in case you’re wondering.) David explains to me that they weigh each order of coffee and make it to order in a Japanese-style drip method. The pots and filter holders, which are called harios, are something to see. What they do is give you the satisfaction of seeing your individual cup of coffee brewed right in front of you - something I personally enjoy. You get the aroma of the coffee and you know you are getting it fresh; it can’t be much better than that.
The coffee beans are something else, as well. They aren’t roasted in-house like Radina’s, but Adkins explained that he and his crew work directly with roasters to get high quality beans, changing varieties depending on what’s fresh.
On the day I visited, he had beans from Kenya, which he describes as “fruity” with a date or raisin flavor. The second is a dark bean for South America. I’m not much into fruit-flavored anything, so I go with the one from South America.
Its dark, rich flavor is compelling. I don’t need to put sugar in it, which I consider a good thing.
I did add a bit of half and half to balance the bitterness of the dark roast, but overall, it’s one of the best cups of coffee I have had in a while.
Arrow’s menu is pretty limited. They only sell espresso, cappuccino, lattes and regular coffee. You can get flavorings in the coffees or have them iced, but to me, that takes away from the interesting flavors of the beans.
Like most coffee shops, it offers a range of locally made pastries. These are made by Ann Valakia of Sullivan’s Sweets.
Arrow also offers sandwiches during the lunch hour. Adkins said that he doesn’t have a whole menu of sandwiches, but usually features just one “really darn-good sandwich.” He said that he tries to get his ingredients from local food cooperative People’s Grocery. One of his creations is a grown-up peanut butter sandwich with homemade peanut butter on honey wheat bread. The decor of the place is also nice.
It has ample natural light from several windows, and the walls hold great art pieces.
It’s tucked away on the back side of Wildcat Landing, the shopping center that houses Claflin Books, Pizza Shuttle and Subs N Such. If you take the time to seek the place out, it would be a great afternoon hangout or study nook for those roaming around campus right across the street from it. It’s also a great hangout for people like me who have a never-ending caffeine addiction.