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Chic cafe Coffee Lab opens in Bay Ridge

New cafe offers coffee from Williamsburg, organic milk, and high-end cookies

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High-end coffee has arrived in the Ridge.

A new java stop called Coffee Lab debuted on Third Avenue near the corner of 69th Street on April 4 — complete with coffee from Williamsburg roaster Toby’s Estate, organic milk from Whole Foods’s distributor, and fancy French cookies courtesy of Macaron Parlour in the East Village.

Coffee Lab’s owners said the store will fill a major hole in Bay Ridge’s commercial fabric.

“You have a lot of great restaurants here, but what’s missing is really good coffee,” said store co-owner Dora Wu.

Wu hails from the island of Macao, off the coast of China, but her husband and co-owner Don Lee grew up just a few blocks away from the new cafe on Sixth Avenue. The couple spent years living in Manhattan, working as an engineer and a pharmacist, respectively, but recently moved to Bay Ridge to start a family — and to pursue their dream of running a hip caffeine depot.

Wu said Coffee Lab’s brew will be more like the espressos popular in Australia and Europe than the average American joe — meaning more beans and less milk per cup.

“In America, people tend to drink coffee with seven or 14 ounces of beans, and fill the rest up with 10 ounces of milk,” said Wu. “In Europe and Australia, they use nine ounces or 18 ounces. It just doesn’t taste the same.”

For now, a latte at Coffee Lab will cost $4, to remain competitive with the Starbucks at 75th Street and Third Avenue. But Wu said that the specialty ingredients might eventually force her prices higher.

“We’re all about quality, not quantity,” said Wu.

Filling out Coffee Lab’s menu are $2.50 macarons — creamy French sandwich cookies — from quirky upscale Manhattan bakery Macaron Parlour. For now, the shop has stocked the sweets in lemon, raspberry, and green tea — but could order more offbeat flavors, such as candied bacon and Earl Grey.

Wu hopes to catch a good part of the morning commuter rush, but also offers free wi-fi to appeal to those with time to linger. The cafe’s interior is industrial chic, decorated with flasks and beakers recalling Wu and Lee’s past careers.

“Hopefully, it’ll work. It’s what we really want to do,” said Wu.

Posted 12:00 am, April 8, 2014
Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.
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