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Moving from Greece to Queens in 2013, owner of State of the Art Coffee, Billy Brogan, already had a passion for the coffee business, establishing himself in the industry.
“When I moved here, I focused strictly on specialty coffees,” says Brogan. “I worked for roastery cafes and for a few years did consulting, helping people open coffee shops, and helping coffee companies develop specialty lines of products.”
Not only was he an expert in the business, but he also competed in coffee competitions. “In 2014, when I was working for other companies and I was here from Greece, I was at the United States Barista Championship,” boasts Brogan. “I was very into the whole scene. We used to do a lot of latte art throwdowns and competitions.”
Brogan’s passion didn’t stop there. It was then time to look for the perfect location for his specialty coffee shop. “My friend, who owns a business in White Plains, brought me to Harrison,” explains Brogan. “We had dinner in the town and he told me Harrison was a nice area. I wanted to move out of Astoria and start a family, so I thought, ‘let me bring the business to Harrison, and then the rest will follow.’”
In March of 2021, he purchased a small shop in the Town of Harrison, and this past October, State of the Art Coffee opened to the public Although opening recently, the State of the Art team still considers this their soft opening. “We opened up very quietly,” says Brogan. “We said, let’s see what the town needs. Let’s figure out the hours, get the feedback first from the people and the community. Everything was up in the air.”
This was for a reason. Brogan had a few thoughts in mind with one specific goal; to make this place a landing spot for customers. “You can find a lot of specialty coffees in the city right now,” says Brogan.” I believe that a lot of towns, like Harrison, need good coffee. We want to make State of the Art a destination place. We want people who appreciate quality to come here because they can’t find something else like it around the area. That’s the whole idea. Quality drinks, quality food, and to have customers learn about coffee.”
As a coffee connoisseur and expert, Brogan has created his own specialty coffee brand, Redefine Coffee, which he uses in-shop and sells wholesale, created by using different farms. “I wanted to keep it simple first and educate people in general about what we do and about the whole specialty coffee idea,” explains Brogan.
Currently, Brogan is focusing on the now, thinking about what he can do for the community at the moment. “I want to establish myself here as the best coffee in the area,” says Brogan. “From there, we’ll see how it goes.”
So far so good, as customers from all over the county have visited this local spot to try the coffee. Going forward, he hopes to work with other smaller businesses and wants to bring more coffee brands and blends into the shop and start offering different types. “In the future, I want to work more in direct trade and support families and other small businesses who make coffee,” says Brogan.
Similar to the wine industry, coffee is different everywhere based on its surroundings and resources. Each blend brings something different to the table. “Coffee is very interesting because there are a lot of good types of coffee,” explains Brogan. “You can drink coffees filled with strawberries and fruits and different flavors and have different complexities.”
Although the coffee is complex, the shop has kept the menu simple, offering beautifully crafted drinks like cappuccinos, espressos, mocha or chai lattes, drip, and cold brew. The food menu is also short, but for good reason. “Whatever we make, we want to make sure people like it and want to come back for it,” says Brogan. “We want people to say, ‘Oh my God, I want to come back for that!’”
Along with a variety of pastries (below), Brogan opened up with three items on the menu: a breakfast sandwich with mortadella, egg, spicy cheese, and sriracha mayo; avocado toast with queso fresco, avocado, olive oil, and sesame seeds on sourdough rye bread; and muesli with oat milk and berries.
State of the Art Coffee is open Monday through Friday from 7 am to 4 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 8 am to 4 pm.
State of the Art Coffee
64 Halstead Ave
Kayla Garritano has been a freelance writer since 2017 when she graduated from Hofstra University with a degree in journalism and a double minor in creative writing and marketing. She now runs her own freelancing website, kaylagarritano.com, where she will happily flaunt her work in many different genres such as food, travel, lifestyle, and all things that make people laugh or smile. When she's finally done with the computer for the day, she enjoys keeping busy with friends and family. Whether it be attending a sporting event or concert, going to the gym, or just grabbing a drink, she doesn't know how to stay still.
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