Coffee culture has always romanced the origin of the bean, the roasting method and the brewing technique. But an Organic Valley dairy farmer, Gerrit van Tol, recently set out to prove that the secret to a great cup of coffee is pasture-raised cows.
Mr. van Tol launched the first ever Organic Valley coffee shop in the trendy NoLita neighborhood of lower Manhattan. But the shop only served organic half & half. Slightly confused customers could order Organic Valley Half & Half in three sizes: “Lil Bit,” “Double,” and “Lotta.” All pours were just $2 — and then visit the condiment bar to add coffee for free.
“People who love a rich and creamy cup of joe have been using Organic Valley Half & Half to make the best cup of coffee for over 20 years,” explained van Tol, who managed the store opening and served as head cream barista after traveling from his farm in Washington State. “But at most coffee shops you have no idea what kind of cream you’re pouring into your coffee, or if it’s even organic. It just made sense that we should have our own coffee shop that focuses on what we think is the most important ingredient.”
Over a sunny weekend in April, the Organic Valley coffee shop served hundreds of delighted – and surprised – New Yorkers. Organic Valley has posted several videos online that capture the scene and document van Tol’s trip from the placid pastures of the farm to the busy streets of New York City.
“We live in a time when the world’s biggest taxi company, Uber, doesn’t own a single taxi. Airbnb doesn’t own a single bed and breakfast,” van Tol playfully pointed out. “At Organic Valley we happen to make the world’s best coffee. We just don’t make coffee.”
A quarter of all Americans use half & half in their coffee at home and 30 percent use it when they’re in a restaurant. Organic Valley is the number one national half & half brand. The Organic Valley coffee shop also offered customers the opportunity to try the only flavored organic half & half available in the US, Organic Valley’s Hazelnut and French Vanilla.
It was van Tol’s first visit to New York City, and Organic Valley’s first concept store. “New York City is one of the cooperative’s strongest markets,” said Tripp Hughes, Director of Brand Management at Organic Valley. “So New Yorkers appreciate the rich and delicious half & half that comes from our family farms and the organic cows that graze there on green pastures.”