Coffee talk

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Sandy Miller gets his coffee at the same place every morning, the Boerum Hill Food Company [134 Smith St. at Dean Street in Cobble Hill, (718) 222-0140] near his home. It’s the type of cozy, owner-operated place that gives the neighborhood character. It’s also one of the cafes that Miller profiled in his new book, “Cafe Life New York,” which takes an in-depth look at 21 New York City coffee shops — six in Brooklyn — and what makes them special.

“When I decided that I would write this book, I had to define what cafe culture meant,” said Miller. “I decided to hone in on a culture based on independently owned neighborhood cafes.”

The neighborhoods that appear in the book — DUMBO, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Park Slope, Greenpoint and Williamsburg — all have great coffeehouses, but doesn’t leaving out so much of the borough deny readers a chance to experience what far-flung cafes have to offer?

“We went to 30 or 40 cafes in the borough,” Miller said, “but I couldn’t include them all. Vox Pop [1022 Cortelyou Rd. at Stratford Road in Ditmas Park, (718) 940-2084] was too far out, and I could have included Fort Greene, but we were focused on neighborhoods right over a bridge.”

Although he sampled countless brews, Miller was hesitant to say what the best cup in town was.

“Every place I write about brings incredible attention and concern to the quality of its coffee,” maintained Miller. “In terms of the best, I think it’s a matter of taste.”

“Cafe Life New York” (Interlink Books, $20) is available at BookCourt (163 Court St. at Dean Street in Cobble Hill). For information, call (718) 876-3677 or visit

Updated 4:01 pm, November 10, 2010
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