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At Dora, Nicole Slaven Shares Her Passion for Coffee

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When Nicole Slaven sets out to make a cup of coffee, she is not messing around.  Every serving is individually brewed in a Hario 360 1-cup cone. There’s an 18:1 (water to coffee) ratio that allows all of the grounds to hydrate thoroughly.  The process takes exactly three-and-a-half minutes. In short, the details matter a lot!

Beginning next Monday, Slaven will be sharing her passion for perfect coffee at Dora, a new cafe she’s opening at the corner of East Broadway and Clinton streets.  For many months, she’s been honing her brewing skills and renovating the storefront, located in a section of the neighborhood dominated by take-out Chinese counters, one room synagogues and 99 cent stores.

For Slaven, next week’s opening represents a return to her roots. The park across the street at the Bialystoker Home for the Aged was named for her great grandmother, Dora Cohen.  Now she is living in an apartment right above the store — and reconnecting with the old neighborhood. This past summer, she was making coffee in a stall at the Hester Street Fair. She has also worked at Saxelby Cheese in the Essex Street Market.

Nicole Slaven (left), with Sophie Slesinger.

Each cup of coffee at Dora will be individually brewed on the spot.

Dora's newly restored tin ceiling.

Slaven has been part of the New York food world most of her adult life, “winding her way (as Serious Eats put it) through chocolate, cheese and spirits.” But Dora, she says, is a dream come true:  “It feels like coffee has not been a focus here. I wanted to be an educator — to teach people about coffee and brewing — to serve the community.”

For now, Dora will be open 7am-4pm Sunday-Friday. After the first of the year, the shop will expand its hours (7am-7pm every day). Slaven is featuring Stumptown beans, roasted at the company’s relatively new Red Hook plant. There will be other offerings, including granola (made by Slaven’s mom), baked goods from Balthazar and lox & bagels. Dora staffer Sophie Slesinger told us her mom is getting in the act, too — providing the shop’s homemade biscotti. There will be a full line of coffee-making products available for purchase, including bean grinders and Stumptown beans.

Even before the opening, Dora has been a labor of love. Slaven stripped the ceiling herself, revealing beautiful tin tiling. While we were in the shop, her brother (who owns the building) called to consult about getting some fabric to cover up some electrical pipes. The whole family was on hand early last week for a small pre-opening celebration inside the almost-finished shop.  Slaven’s grandmother seemed to approve. “Nicole’s always wanted her own store,” she told us.”

Dora is loacted at 221 East Broadway. The phone number is 212 876 8065.

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  1. Some people would trek 60 blocks for a cup of coffee! And it was worth every drop. As an obsessed visitor to New York, on this my third visit, I had heard about this gorgeous, yet understated coffee shop. I was particularly interested because my name is Dora (and there aren’t many people I know who share that name). My daughter and I walked from 42nd Street. Not so crazy, because what better way to see the wonderful city of Manhattan than to walk. The coffee was great, as was the experience.

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