You see the sign and it feels a bit like home. For more than 22 years Hampton Coffee Company has provided East End locals and visitors with spots to grab some homemade breakfast and lunch, places to linger over a made-to-order espresso drink and dessert. Each location is a casual spot where you’re just as likely to run into an old friend as you are to make a new one. Co-owner Jason Belkin talked to Pulse about the company’s past, future and secret to success.
They Roast Their Own Coffee
Roastmaster Dwight Amada grew up watching his grandfather roasting coffee on a small barbecue in the back of his home on Grenada. Amada started at Hampton Coffee Company 15 years ago and worked his way up from barista to company roastmaster. He roasts coffee for Hampton Coffee Company’s espresso bars and cafes and also for dozens and dozens of restaurants, coffeehouses and gourmet markets from Montauk to Manhattan that proudly serve Hampton Coffee at their establishments.
It’s Not Just About the Coffee
The original Hampton Coffee Company location in Water Mill is more than just a coffee joint. It’s also a very popular full-service sit-down restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. Locals and visitors love getting a seat on the outdoor patio where they can take in views of the nearby organic farm while biting into the food menu. Think housemade burgers grilled over charcoal briquettes, an authentic Mexican grill serving breakfast and lunch specialties and lots of delicious gluten-free and special diet selections. Did we mention there’s a local beer and wine list?
They Honor the Past
What ties all four Hampton Coffee Company locations together besides local hand-roasted coffee, expertly-prepared espresso drinks and fresh homemade food? A history of automotive. The Water Mill flagship, Westhampton Beach and Aquebogue cafes were all service stations in the 1940s. Look for old black and white photographs of the former buildings on display. In Water Mill and Aquebogue, Hampton Coffee Company keeps the history alive with garage bay doors that still open, ramps for wheeling tires down, and the same tall ceilings and 1940s architecture. “If you look at the old photos and a photo of our cafes today, you’d see not much as changed! We’re big fans of preserving the past,” Belkin said. Oh and in Southampton, the Coffee Experience Store used to be a Mini Cooper car dealer.
That Coffee is Green
Hampton Coffee Company is very eco-friendly. They have solar panels, use Energy Star equipment, recycled paper products and rain sensors on the irrigations systems. The newest location in Aquebogue is a great example of their commitment to keepin’ it green. They reused much of the existing building, built a parking lot with permeable parking surfaces, use drip irrigation, LED lighting in and out and 100 percent of the garbage is put through recycling.
They Know Your Name
Hampton Coffee Company believes the secret to their success is their commitment to the community. All staff lives in the local area and the company takes part in more than 100 different charitable events each and every year. But more than that, the staff members you see when you walk into a Hampton Coffee location are friends and neighbors, the college student who lives on your block, the mom whose kids go to the same school as your kids, the person you sit next to at church.
Hampton Coffee Company is Getting Even Better With Age!
Hampton Coffee Company celebrates its 22nd birthday this year. When Hampton Coffee Company opened in 1994 it was one of the first micro-roasteries on the East Coast. “When we opened, most people didn’t know what a latte even was and were drinking 50-cents harsh and bitter coffee,” Belkin recalled about the good (bad) ole days. Back then there was only one Starbucks on Long Island. Today, Hampton Coffee Company is Long Island’s largest independent roaster-retailer.
Learn more about Hampton Coffee Company from their new YouTube video! Visit their website for the link!