Tim Brooks, one of the owners of Hudson Coffee Traders, always noticed the building attached to the Trailways bus station, figuring it would make a nice, small coffee shop.
Brooks and his wife first owned a shop in the Kingston business district at 288 Wall St., and recently celebrated a five year anniversary at that location.
Though the couple wanted to open a New Paltz location closer to their home in Gardiner, N.Y., Brooks said the opportunity did not come until last year.
Hudson Coffee Traders had their soft opening in November 2012 at 139 Main St. and thus far, Brooks said the reception has been great.
Originally from Montana, Brooks said eastern coffee house culture often seemed to be less evolved than out west. He said they hoped to bring that atmosphere to their own cafes.
With yellow walls and a trio of tables, the shop caters to regular commuters as well as the “mass exodus” of students coming and going during semester breaks, Brooks said.
“We try to stay on par with better cafes in the city, it’s the norm there,” Brooks said.
Brooks said the cafe’s menu, like other notable shops, provides for a range of different diets including vegetarian, vegan and Paleolithic nutrition options.
He said he has benefited from following the “Paleo diet” and tried to create menu options that consist of a range of fruit, vegetable, lean meat and nuts that also avoid grains, processed foods, sugars and starches for fellow “Paleo” eaters.
However, Brooks said that ultimately he is a coffee person and serving good coffee to the “great and diverse crowd” who frequent the cafe is key.
“Even though there are a lot [of coffee houses], there are very few that really concentrate on their coffee,” Brooks said.
Brooks said Hudson Coffee Traders provides “high end” organic specialty coffee from Counter Culture Coffee, who they contract with for their beans.
“Start with a good bean, then you need to brew it right with a good machine. It takes a lot of technique,” Brooks said. “It is so easy to mess up a shot of espresso.”
Mariah Eagles has worked as a barista at both the Kingston and New Paltz locations of Hudson Coffee Traders, originally getting to know the Brooks family through her fiance who slaughtered animals used for Hudson Coffee Traders’ food.
Eagles attended training sessions in New York City held by Counter Culture Coffee to learn to make latte art.
“I didn’t think I’d be able to learn it that fast, but they had me doing it in no time,” Eagles said.
Eagles said the fern-shaped art she makes on lattes is often a pleasant surprise for patrons who are usually in a hurry to catch a bus — a bit of beauty during a chaotic commute.
Brooks said the decorative art is only possible on a well-made latte.
“Just the ability to make latte art assures you’re doing it right and brewing the coffee right,” Brooks said. “There are few places that really make a good espresso.”