Dallis Bros. serves up perfect cup of joe

Dallis Brothers Vice President of Sales and Marketing John Moore demonstrates a "steampunk" brewing machine, which produces coffee through a siphon brewing method. Photo by Karen Frantz
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At Dallis Bros. Coffee, a 100-year-old coffee roaster in Ozone Park, the goal is to treat coffee the same as other artisanal beverages: with a meticulous eye to every flavorful and aromatic detail.

“We want [the consumer] to think about coffee like a fine wine,” said Dallis Bros. Vice President of Sales and Marketing John Moore, explaining the steps the company takes to make each cup a unique experience, created through specialized attention at every step between farm and mug.

And, indeed, a lot goes into producing the perfect cup of joe at Dallis Bros.

Beans are carefully selected from coffee farms across the world, including Dallis’ own farm in Brazil, shipped to the Dallis Bros. facility, at 100-32 Atlantic Ave., for roasting, and then packaged on site.

The roaster produces a few different brands. The Gramercy Park label is for the customers that are focused on consistency, accessibility and perhaps a bit of nostalgia.“They want to know that their coffee tastes like it did when their grandfather ordered it,” Moore said.

The other flagship brand, under the Dallis Bros. name, is where the artisanal flare comes in and the roasting process is more exacting. Beans are seasonal and roasted to order, with the intention that different beans will create a coffee with a different character, and the roasting is modified to bring out the best in each bean.

Dallis Bros. roastmaster, Anne Cooper, says she monitors every roasting process carefully through a computer graph that allows her to recreate batches or avoid roasting beans in a way that before produced coffee with a lower-quality flavor.

“If we have too much heat, it can scorch it, burn it,” she said.

But then if there is not enough heat, the bean can suffer as well.

“It’s up to us to find that balance,” she said.

Dallis Bros. is also a showcase and testing ground of sorts for new machinery. The facility owns a number of cutting-edge coffee brewing machines, including a new coffee maker in the reaserch and development phase called a “steampunk.” The machine produces coffee through a siphon brewing method, and Dallis Bros. is just one of five facilities that owns the machine.

In addition, the building has a repair shop where coffee shops can send their brewing machines to be fixed. Moore said the shop gives the roaster a window into how people are making coffee and allows them to adjust the way they produce beans accordingly, which he said is important because coffee is ultimately prepared by a barista or the consumer.

“We’re one step removed in ways that the beer and the wine community aren’t, he said.

The attention to quality seems to be paying off. On Friday, the owner of Conti Gourmet Coffee, which is hoping to expand his high-end brand along the East Coast, said he is considering signing Dallis Bros. on as his roaster. He said he could find another roaster that was less expensive, but said he was worried the coffee would suffer.

“I don’t want to sacrifice quality for profit,” Roberto Conti said.

Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4538.

Updated 2:40 am, January 11, 2013
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