There’s a new coffee spot just steps from the Myrtle-Wyckoff station, and its mission is to brew the perfect cup. With a focus on sourcing beans from local roasters and meticulous standards in brewing, Altitude Coffee takes the best of what Brooklyn has to offer and brings it to light.

Started by a Bushwick native, Otto Ruano, in November of 2018, Altitude Coffee came about through a series of good fortunes and close connections to the community Ruano grew up in.  “I grew up on Hart St between Knickerbocker and Irving,” Ruano says. “I was there for years before going to Pratt to study architecture.”

When asked how one goes from being an architect to opening a coffee shop, Ruano explains his eyes were opened to the world of coffee 10 years ago, while celebrating his marriage in Guatemala. “We met a lot of the farmers. We met a lot of the people who were involved in the production. It’s always been a part of our culture. My mom has stories of how her mother used to make very antiquated and really interesting styles of coffee on a farm back in the 1960s, so it felt very natural to us, and was something we wanted to tap back into.”

It took another eight years before Ruano was able to open a shop of his own, and it ended up being right around the corner from his childhood home. When the previous owners of the space approached his mother, who does paralegal work, about terminating their lease, Ruano was able to take over the space.  At the same time as he came upon the space, Ruano’s friend, Jiahn Kang of Brooklyn Floral Delight, was looking to offload some nearly brand new coffee equipment as her bakery began receiving a rush of viral fame.  

Otto Ruano behind the bar at Altitude Coffee, courtesy of author.

“My mom helped open the shop with me. She’s from Guatemala and immigrated to Bushwick in the ‘70s,” Ruano says. “She’s been here through all the changes that have been happening.”

Going into more detail about some of the changes he has seen, Ruano says, ”Everything today is geared to this new, extra-calibrated level where people are paying attention more to where things are coming from. We’re from the neighborhood, and we’ve always loved the neighborhood, and we wanted to bring something to the neighborhood that we think would be part of the change.”

Ruano has built Altitude to reflect that attitude. Using his architectural skills to rebuild a space that used to sell empanadas, corn, and juices, and then being hyper-selective about what coffee they serve, Altitude’s mission is to brew the best coffee possible, even if it means stocking beans from multiple roasters and re-calibrating processes throughout the day as temperature and humidity varies.

The beans will change with the seasons, too, but currently they serve coffee from local roasters, like City of Saints and Devocion, as well as Sweetleaf Rocketfuel and a house-made cold brew — which starts at the astonishingly low price of $3.

Altitude Coffee storefront, courtesy of author.

On top of their coffee program, they brew a variety of teas, serve pastries from Colson in Park Slope (with gluten-free and vegan options), and make a spin-off of a horchata using specially sourced Guatemalan chocolate. It’s all served up front in a space filled with natural light. There’s an elevated seating-area in the back, too, for those wishing to take their time.

Altitude Coffee is focused on coffee, tea, and pastries for now, but there are exciting future plans on the horizon. Over the summer they will open their kitchen and begin serving food, which will include updated versions of Latin-American dishes as well as carefully selected food pairings for their different coffee drinks.

Further down the line they plan on serving a selection of wines and tapas in the evenings. With hot weather approaching, now is the perfect time to stop in and grab a delicious cold-brew, or for the more adventurous, let knowledgeable staff guide you toward one of their current selections of perfectly-calibrated espresso or pour-over.

Follow them on Instagram for updates!

Hours: Monday – Saturday  7 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Cover image courtesy of Altitude Coffee.

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