Have you ever had an experience where you walked into a coffee shop and had to do a double take? I recently had an experience like this, when I stumbled upon Felix Roasting Co. in the Midtown South (Park Avenue South) neighborhood of Manhattan, NYC.1
Entering Felix Roasting Co. is like entering a new dimension—a magnificent and opulent space where the first thought that comes to mind is “This isn’t a coffee shop but a 5-star hotel.”2
Details and photos from Atlanta Coffee Shops’ visit to this landmark of a coffee shop in NYC are below. Profiled in this post are the design elements of the coffee shop as well as behind-the-scenes photos of the two seasonal drinks on the menu: the Hickory-Smoked S'mores Latte and the Deconstructed Espresso Tonic.
(Editor’s note: this is the first full-feature post from the Travel Edition of Atlanta Coffee Shops).
The Space & Design
Felix Roasting Co. is a coffee shop (and bar/lounge by evening) that consists of three distinct areas (or “moments”): a sunlight-filled entrance (named “The Hall”) with a teal-and-pink-patterned terrazzo floor; a central coffee bar area with copper counter tops under an oval copper dome (named “The Sanctuary”); and “The Lounge” at the back of the shop with fashionable couches and paintings adorning the back wall.
The coffee shop was a concept brought from idea to reality by hotelier Matt Moinian (known for his involvement in W New York and Hotel Hugo, and who was itching to do something in the coffee space for a number of years) and Al Ansari. The design of Felix Roasting Co. was developed by Ken Fulk (a well-known designer based in the San Francisco Bay area). The effort by Moinian and Fulk was collaborative in nature, in which Ken Fulk became a Creative Director of Felix Roasting Co.
Other notable design elements made by Ken Fulk and his team for Felix Roasting Co. include a unique hand-painted wallpaper adorning the space that features a blooming Arabica plant, four different designs of the coffee to-go cups, books wrapped in beautiful covers on an illuminated bookshelf, and a custom-built bar tap for milk and water.
The entrance to Felix Roasting Co. is known as “The Hall”: This is the space to begin your journey/exploration of Felix Roasting. Co—or to come back to after you order your coffee (or tea).
One of the most beautiful elements at Felix Roasting Co. is the wooden bookshelf on one side of “The Hall.” Tucked inside are many leather-bound books covered in the Arabica-flower wallpaper. For the curious: yes, these are real books on those shelves; unfortunately, the names of the books are not catalogued (hello, feature request!). How amazing would it be if some of these books would be available as coffee table books in this part of the coffee shop? Bookstagrammers all over the city would have another reason to flock here :-).
Seamlessly transitioning from “The Hall” is the “The Sanctuary,” featuring a beautiful oval dome with copper leaf. The design of this element at Felix Roasting Co. is so incredibly beautiful that it reminded the writer of this post of one of the most beautiful metro stations in the world, the Maykovskaya Station in Moscow, Russia. (Editor’s note: spectacular images of the Moscow Metro appear in this collection by photographer David Burdeny, including the Maykovskaya Station; what other station(s) or places around the world does “The Sanctuary” remind you of?).
The tiles on the walls of “The Sanctuary” feature three women (deities) and a tree that represent Passion, Dedication, Authenticity, and Creativity, respectively—the four pillars that are fundamental to Felix Roasting Co.
The beans at Felix Roasting Co. are roasted in a facility in Houston, TX and shipped to the anchor NYC location. From this Sprudge piece by Liz Clayton, on the tools of the trade at the counter:
Service is anchored by a La Marzocco Linea PB and twin Malkhönig EK43s, alongside a suite of opulent copper-plated toys like a Mazzer Kold grinder, Modbar AV-ABR modules, and Marco MIX water boiler. The fast bar focus is primarily on espresso service, and no pour-over is offered.
At the back of Felix Roasting Co. is “The Lounge,” featuring three vintage paintings, plush sofas, and another beautiful pink/pastel wallpaper.
The menu at Felix Roasting Co. is fairly simple, featuring:
Filter coffee (currently: the Finca Sircof from Costa Rica; black honey process, with notes of hazelnut, caramel, golden raspberries, and stonefruit).
Espresso drinks (espresso, Americano, cortado, flat white, cappuccino, latte, and mocha; the prices range from $3.50 for an espresso and Americano to $6.00 for a mocha; the cappuccino at Felix Roasting Co. is more than fairly priced at $4.25, considering the quality of the espresso and the atmosphere in which you’ll get to enjoy this coffee).
Teas (black, sencha, or herbal), sourced from Chicago’s Spirit Tea Company.
Draft beverages: the Felix cold brew coffee and a seasonal nitro cold brewed tea. Rounding out the regular menu are the matcha latte (hot or iced) and the latte chai (hot or iced).
Wine (red, white, rosé) and beer (from Grimm Brewing; Brooklyn, NY). The alcoholic beverages are available after 5PM at Felix Roasting Co.
Not examining the menu in detail, I ordered the usual: a cappuccino. It was fantastic.
However, it is the two seasonal offerings at Felix Roasting Co. that command your attention and are the stars of the show: the Deconstructed Espresso Tonic and the Hickory-Smoked S’Mores Latte. These drinks not only look incredible, but the baristas behind the bar put on quite a spectacle in the preparation and presentation of these two drinks.
As I was spending some time in the coffee shop, marveling at the various elements and capturing some photos of the interior, I was invited by Erik and Isabelle at the counter to see a demonstration of the two seasonal beverages. Following are the behind-the-scenes photos of the drinks being prepared (the Hickory-Smoke S’Mores Latte) and presented (the Hickory-Smoke S’Mores Latte and the Deconstructed Espresso Tonic).
The Hickory-Smoked S’Mores Latte
The Hickory-Smoked S’Mores Latte is the star of the show at Felix Roasting Co. This drink concoction is the brainchild of head barista at Felix Roasting Co., Reagan Petrehn, who also serves as the company’s Head of Brand.
The way it all works: an espresso drink is placed in a bell jar (dome?), which is connected to a container of hickory chips. After the core drink is prepared (espresso, with a in-house made graham cracker-infused milk), the show begins. At this stage, the barista turns on the hand-held torch to apply heat to the hickory chips. The smoke from the burning hickory chips is pumped into the jar. The show concludes when the drink is garnished with a torched house-made salted caramel marshmallow on a stick. For an added experience, you can also sample the in-house made graham cracker-infused milk—it has a wonderful sweetness to it.
The seven-part visual act in creating the Hickory-Smoked S’Mores Latte is profiled below.
After the seven-step process described above, the Hickory-Smoked S’Mores Latte was transported around the coffee shop for a few glamour shots:
The Deconstructed Espresso Tonic
The other seasonal beverage on the menu at Felix Roasting Co. is the Deconstructed Espresso Tonic. This beverage features Italian Campari (reduced to remove all alcohol), fresh basil, and a rosewater spritz. The customer is provided a shot of espresso (currently: the Ethiopian Guji Hambela) in a separate cup to add to the beverage.
The experience at Felix Roasting Co.—from the incredibly beautiful space and the gorgeous design elements, to the wonderful and friendly customer service, to the incredible (looking and tasting) drinks—is unlike anything else in New York City. Felix Roasting Co. is an epitome of what a coffee experience can be.
The tremendous effort that it took to put this idea into reality, IMO, has paid off. Is it any surprise that Felix Roasting Co. is seeking to expand into Los Angeles, Miami, London, and Tokyo? (Editor’s note: can Atlanta make the cut too?).
If you haven’t yet been, put Felix Roasting Co. on your must-visit list in NYC ASAP.
If You Go
Felix Roasting Co. is located at 450 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016 (Google Maps link). If you find Isabelle or Erik behind the counter, please say hello. Erik brings fifteen years of experience in coffee and is a wealth of knowledge3 about the coffee scene in NYC. (With Erik's guidance, there are now a few additional spots of where to explore next for the travel edition of Atlanta Coffee Shops).
Notes and References:
1 The coffee shop recommendation came to Atlanta Coffee Shops via an Instagram story reply (“Which NYC coffee shops are worth visiting?”). Thank you to Bellwood Coffee in Atlanta and Instagram follower @katiecsny for the joint recommendation!
2 But the thought of "This is a hotel" begins to make sense once you figure out that the coffee shop was the brainchild of a NYC hotelier, Matt Moinian.
3 Erik recommended I check out the editorial work of Liz Clayton at the coffee magazine Sprudge; she wrote a superb review of Felix Roasting Co. for the magazine.