Astoria, Coffee
Nov 21, 2016

Stellar Brews Coffee Popup at Sekend Sun

There’s a new coffee popup at Sekend Sun, called Stellar Brews.

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Over at Sekend Sun there’s a coffee popup going on—have you been by? We wanted to learn a little more about it, so we reached out to Erin Diaz, the man behind the popup. He was born and raised here in Queens, and believes Queens “is where coffee will be reborn.”

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One of our first questions was how long will it be at Sekend Sun, and he replied, “Until the wheels fall off! We love it here and plan to stay.”

When he was putting together Stellar Brews, he chose Astoria because he loves community and wanted to contribute to the growing coffee culture here. He knew he could put together a great cafe. And why start with a popup rather than opening a cafe in his own space? He responds, “What better place to start out than a bar with flavor and just the right amount of class!?”

He continues, “I spent most of my coffee loving life hanging in Williamsburg and on St. Marks in the Village; I’m comforted by this setting.” He hopes that by sticking with the popup, and accumulating enough capital during, he can perhaps open a sister location one day.

As for the coffee they use, they are dedicated to the Lavazza brand. “As a company they have proven to be consistently among the best bean providers in the world,” Erin remarks. “We favor Gran Espresso, Super Crema and Top Class, serving 3 different espresso beans for our customers and working on procuring many more for our customers who love options.”

Along with a stable of classic espresso drinks (e.g., latte, cappuccino, macchiato) they offer specialty drinks, too. “From exotic drinks like our Aztec Mocha, to our Dark Side of the Moon, we know when being good could use a little being bad,” he quips. “The Aztec Mocha starts with our fine espresso poured over organic cocoa, sweetened with just a hint of brown sugar and spiced with a touch of chili. The Dark Side of the Moon is our own take on the classic affogato. First we pour our fine double espresso over a chocolate bar of your choice from our variety of organic bars, melting it down to a thick luscious syrup. We then grace the surface of a double scoop of Alden’s organic vanilla bean ice cream, making for a treat that’s too dark, too tempting …and too delicious.”

So far, though, one of their the best sellers is their signature Hazelnut Butter Latte, made with a ristretto double shot of Super Crema espresso poured over a scoop of Hazelnut butter and a touch of brown sugar. Erin adds, “the fun never ends as our steamed milk melts it down into a sensuous fine textured latte. Low sugar yet sweet, this drink is hard to beat.”

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Photo credit: Facebook

Quality of ingredients is very important to Stellar Brews. Erin tells us, “We are sourcing all natural/organic ingredients for flavors from ground hazelnuts, artisan organic coconut, melted organic cocoa bar based mochas. Stellar drinks start with a stellar foundation. We proudly serve Skytop Farms organic, grass-fed, non-homogenized cream line milk, organic house-made almond milk and WestSoy organic soy milk.

They also offer food, including all-natural homemade pastries, a variety of pies, and cookies (matcha green oatmeal, chocolate chip). Also look for whole wheat challah French toast, “endless toppings” waffles, and croissant breakfast sandwiches made using all organic and natural eggs, cheeses, bacon and more.

He also has a great staff he’s really proud of, made up of seasoned baristas with years of service in the industry. Everyone on staff is dedicated to bringing the best in coffee to the neighborhood. Part of that involves constantly updating and improving their familiarity with coffee. “I have been a drinker of coffee since the tender age of 7,” explains Erin. “I love its taste and texture. I keep learning, continuously growing my knowledge and skills, and am dedicated to separating good joe from great joe, and great joe from Stellar Brews. We dedicate more than five days a week each perfecting our craft that we may each one day compete at world championships of coffee.”

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Erin shared what he calls the “God shot” standard and the high bar of excellence he aims to reach in her work with Stellar Brews:

“Every morning no matter how arduous the task we grind, weigh and pour trial after trial of shots using fine espressos until each and every one is perfect. Every shot should go down smooth. Never bitter, sour, good or even great…it’s stellar, or your money back!

Stellar Brews operates from 7:30am to 4pm on weekdays and 8am until 4pm on weekends, out of Sekend Sun, located at 32-11 Broadway. Find them on Facebook and Instagram, too.

About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

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