A New York coffee roaster is opening its first Long Island retail café in Manhasset about 15 miles from its roasting facility in Queens.
For Five Coffee Roasters co-owners Stefanos Vouvoudakis and Tom Tsiplakos met in third grade in their Whitestone, Queens classroom, and Vouvoudakis said about seven years ago, the pair ventured into the specialty coffee roasting and wholesale business. They built a roasting facility in Maspeth, Queens, in 2016.
With two stores in Manhattan on West 46th Street and inside One World Trade Center, Tsiplakos, who now lives in Roslyn, said they wanted to venture east to Manhasset for their flagship Long Island location.
“We saw that nobody was venturing into Long Island because no one understood it, but we know Long Island,” Tsiplakos said. “We felt that if we built a flagship in Manhasset, we would also gain brand awareness to the people of Long Island and then start getting more traction on the wholesale side.”
Located at 292 Plandome Road at Park Avenue, For Five offers approximately 30 single origin roasts and 16 blends, including a special Manhasset house two-bean blend with beans from Ethiopia and Brazil.
With its proximity to the Manhasset Long Island Rail Road station, Vouvoudakis said, the company will offer free delivery to the platforms beginning at 5 a.m. as well as pick-up orders through the Ritual app while the For Five app is under development.
Vouvoudakis said the prices are 10 to 15 percent lower than local chain competitors Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts because of the lack of a middleman between the farmer and the company, with a flat white for $4, Americanos for $3 and lattes for $4.50.
The café’s design is open, with many of the machines behind the baristas to give more one-on-one time to talk about the roasts and processes with the employees.
“We like to call it where science and coffee meet,” Vouvoudakis said. “You’re definitely going to get an education by walking in here and seeing the process.”
For Five also focuses on the quality and taste of the coffee, skipping the sugary add-ins, and Tsipkalos said despite offering a condiments bar featuring almond, coconut, macadamia, soy, oat and regular milk, he recommends customers taste the drip coffee options first.
“For years, people were drinking heavy milk and sugar because the quality of the coffee was so bad that you needed to add half and half,” Tsipkalos said. “We urge you to try it black first and then decide. All of the caramel and sugar and all that, it’s not what specialty coffee is.”
George Badouros, the director of coffee, is responsible for purchasing the pre-roasted beans and cupping the coffee, a professional way of tasting, to check on the quality regularly.
The shop is outfitted with two large brewers, but Badouros said the best way to taste the unique flavors of each roast is with the pour over method, which takes about three minutes to pulse brew the grinds manually.
“Pour over is the best way for us to try a coffee,” Badouros said. “Most of the coffees we do as pour overs are single origins and are very unique coffees. With the pour over method, you bring all the flavors to the cup.”
For Five’s signature drink, the Five, is made with drip coffee, a shot of espresso, chocolate ganache, frothed half and half and an orange peel twist on the rim.
Beyond coffee, the shop also offers an array of loose teas and matcha green tea, which is freshly strained and whisked with a bamboo brush for every order. Matcha can be substituted for espresso in any drink, and For Five’s specialty matcha latte is made with macadamia milk and lavender syrup.
For Five executive chef Scheyla Acosta will be headquartered at the Manhasset location and has been working for months to plan the café’s breakfast and lunch menus to fit the local clientele.
Acosta has worked with recipes, including scones with bacon jam, buckwheat pancakes with poached and smoked salmon, goat cheese mousse with baked eggplant caviar on a crostini, chicken liver and duck fois gras sandwiches, and spanakopita, a Greek spinach pie made in Cyprus.
The staff was most excited about Acosta’s stuffed cookies, filled with gooey chocolate and perfect for an afternoon treat.
“This has been a labor of love,” Vouvoudakis said. “Every time we open a new store, we try to think what we can do better, what we can add to this location and how we can elevate the experience of our customers. This is not just another specialty café; this is a roaster from New York who knows how to buy good coffee paired with the food and pastry program we feel is a perfect match for our brand.”