New Harvest Embraces Historical Providence with Dynamic Coffee Cocktail Bar

Ben pours a whiskey flight at New Harvest's Coffee & Spirits.

New Harvest Coffee Roasters’ Coffee and Spirits brings high-end coffee together with quality alcohols and stellar service

BY JEREMY MARTIN
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE

Cocktails and classic architecture ”two art forms that whisper refinement. Mix in small-batch, hand-roasted coffee, and all of a sudden, you’re looking at a renaissance of sorts, or in the case of downtown Providence, R.I., a rebirth of urban commerce and industry.

A decade ago, Arcade Providence, the city’s flagship downtown shopping center, had been essentially abandoned. Built in 1828, the Greek Revival temple to commercial prosperity was all but shuttered, and appeared destined for the bulldozer, as was the fate of so many historic properties before it.

However, a developer with a sentimental vision of downtown and a soft spot for craft-roasted coffee stepped in to save the landmark building. Nearly three years later, Arcade Providence is home to two floors of contemporary micro-loft apartments and a ground level filled with locally-owned boutique shops, including a 16-year -old Pawtucket, R.I., coffee roaster that is beginning to dabble in the world of classic and unique cocktails.

coffee and spirits
Arcade Providence houses some of the most unique independent businesses in Providence, R.I., including New Harvest Coffee Roasters’ Coffee & Spirits.

  œRik has always wanted to open a shop, but never quite pulled the trigger on it. But now that downtown is having this great resurgence, he saw that as a real opportunity,  says Ben Terry, bar manager for New Harvest Coffee Roasters‘ Coffee & Spirits retail space, of the company’s owner, Rik Kleinfeldt.

The Arcade Providence location is New Harvest’s initial foray into retail coffee business, and though its baristas prepare coffee as well as any other third-wave bar you’ll come across, the company sees this site more as a traditional East Coast public house than a modern cafe.

That vision has as much to do with its clientele of downtown bankers, local art students, and Arcade residents as it does with New Harvest’s penchant for serving one-of-a-kind cocktails and curating whiskey and coffee pairings.

coffee and spirits
Ben Terry pours a whiskey flight at New Harvest’s Coffee & Spirits.

œWhen people sit down and want to drink a coffee and whiskey side by side, there are a few that I love pairing,” says Ben. “If someone is drinking a dark roast, something like a Sumatra, I’ll pair up a really smokey single malt scotch or a smoked corn whiskey. If someone is drinking a really bright and fruity natural-processed Ethiopian coffee, I’d recommend a Hibiki 12, which is a 12-year-old Japanese whisky that’s finished in plum wine barrels.  He adds  that œcertainly with bourbons you’ll get a lot of sweet vanilla notes that will go with almost any coffee, but with a lot of scotch single malts or Japanese whiskys and newer American whiskeys, they’re finishing them in barrels that have had all sorts of things in there, so you can get all these crazy flavors. Matching them with coffee, is a fun adventure.”

coffee and spirits
New Harvest’s Coffee & Spirits attracts a diverse crowd between its daytime service of quality coffee drinks, and nighttime focus on top-shelf coffee cocktails.

And according to Ben, so is creating a cocktails using New Harvest’s fresh-roasted coffee. Luckily Rik has given the New Harvest Coffee & Spirits  team a rather long leash when it comes to inventing quaffable new concoctions.   œWe pretty much have a bartender’s choice philosophy. If you come in and say, ‘here’s what I like, here’s what I’m looking for,’ we’ll figure something out for you.”

Most recipes do tend to borrow heavily from customary cocktail lists.

œWe certainly focus on a lot of classic whiskey cocktails, and riff on that using coffee ingredients. For example, one of our more popular cocktails is called the Broken Arrow, which is similar in nature to a classic Toronto,  Ben says.

For those without a monocle and upturned mustache who might not be familiar with a Toronto, the drink includes rye whiskey, Fernet Branca, simple syrup, and bitters, and is mixed, never shaken, and served in a chilled rocks glass.

œThe Broken Arrow is created using rye whiskey, maple syrup instead of simple syrup, and some homemade coffee bitters, which gives it a nice, rich, chocolaty coffee base note,  Ben says.

But that’s not to say New Harvest bartenders don’t play with  the toys behind the  coffee bar ”in fact, several of the selections from Ben’s menu prominently feature the use of the espresso machine.

coffee and spirits
The Whisper in the Dark cocktail.

œOur most popular coffee cocktail is a warm beverage called the Stay At Home Dad,” he says. “It’s a bourbon latte. Bourbon, steamed milk, espresso, and a little cinnamon and brown sugar to take the edge off the bourbon a little bit.  We also make what’s called a Whisper in the Dark, which uses our Whisper Espresso blend. We pull a shot of that over our homemade Irish cream and some BrancaMenta, an Italian mint liqueur. I also do a coffee drink I really like in the summer called a Mexican Radio ”it’s one of our more adventurous coffee cocktails. That one includes tequila, Ancho Reyes, which is a spicy chili liqueur, as well as cinnamon, and mole bitters with a shot of espresso. It presents kind of like an espresso martini but it blows up your flavor palate with sweet and spicy. You get that espresso jolt in there, too. 

Whether your bag is a simple cup of coffee before work, or a two-whiskey lunch to help you get through it, New Harvest aims to serve your libation of choice in a classic Providence setting.

œWe’re part of a bigger thing,” Ben says of New Harvest Coffee & Spirits’ location inside Arcade Providence. “It’s not just about a storefront that can make money ”it’s about being a part of the growth and revitalization of Providence, which is a really cool city.”

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeremy Martin

Jeremy  Martin  is a freelance writer and photographer who has reported on coffee, craft beer, college sports, and business for a variety of publications over the past six years.  A veteran of the café industry and graduate of Western Michigan University, Jeremy lives in Seattle where can often be found making sandwiches from whatever is left in the fridge and cracking wise for the amusement of his adoring wife Amanda.

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