This month, we spoke to Hartje Andresen of Pudge Knuckles, a coffee shop favorited by locals, as well as a wine bar and roastery. It's also a featured stop on our Williamsburg Bites Brooklyn Food Tour and Sunday Funday Boozy Brooklyn Tour. As their website states, "Packed with the full flavor and energy of New York City, PUDGE KNUCKLES is not just another coffee shop. PUDGE KNUCKLES was started by Ivan Greene & Hartje Andresen. Ivan is a former top ranked professional rock climber and Hartje is a highly sought after professional model."
How did you come to open Pudge Knuckles?
My husband and I spent many years traveling the world and living in different countries, and learned to love the coffee and coffee house culture. Ivan as a professional rock climber, me as a model - both are professions that require a lot of caffeine.
Furthermore, my family has a background in coffee roasting, with my great grandfather opening the first coffee roasting company in Husum, northern Germany. My father used to work in my great Grandfather's coffee shop when he was a little boy.
When Ivan and I met, we bonded over our love for coffee, amongst other things, and were excited to learn what it took to start our own coffee company.
It was more of a side project at first, and we sold our coffee online to fellow rock climbers and friends, but very soon as well to coffee lovers and climbing gyms all over the world. When the retail space at 184 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg became available, we wanted to not only have a place for people to buy our coffee, but also create a European style coffee spot with a welcoming atmosphere where patrons can enjoy their coffee "to stay", hang out to read a book, play a board game, write emails or to study.
Such a great story! What do you love about Pudge Knuckles?
I love being able to continue the family tradition by roasting coffee here in New York. Our northern European style lighter roast is named "Broder's Blend" to honor my great grandfather Broder Brodersen.
I love creating a community feeling by making the cafe available for special events, fundraisers and social gatherings. The Williamsburg neighborhood is full of creative people and young entrepreneurs, and because we are accommodating to people using laptops and free WiFi, we have seen many projects grow from their Kickstarter campaign all the way to a successful business. It makes us happy to think how many startup businesses were fueled by Pudge Knuckles coffee!
I love being my own boss and creating my own favorite coffee roasts and drinks. I can go all "coffee-nerd" with light roasted single origin pour over, or play around with our very own creative concoctions that we give funny names like f**k sleep or crack-o-latte.