Looking Beyond the Viral Success of Williamsburg’s Most Hyped Coffee Shop
It’s freakin’ freezing as I walk toward The End Brooklyn, Williamsburg’s most hyped coffee shop, located on the corner of Metropolitan and Union avenues.
Despite the cold a trio of Coachella-styled girls jump out of a black cab with giggles and squeals. “I’m so excited!” I hear one of them say.
At the tiny storefront, which barely allows for a minimal seating arrangement, I stand in the long line of women in their early twenties and their boyfriends/personal Instagram photographers. The rebel inside of me forbids me from buying the ever-famed bluish Unicorn Latte, which made the coffee shop into an overnight Instagram sensation. True, I do like crystals. In fact I charge a rose quartz every full moon to clear my drinking water, and I am really into this Montauk-inspired laid back style, but even I can’t fight off an occasional eye roll due to the excessive fame of this place.
In my choice of a drink I will, however, stick to The End’s Plant Alchemy Bar, which offers plant-based lattes and tea lattes for $9 a 12-ounce drink. The End touts them as “functional superfood lattes to add some warmth and whimsy to your wellness routine. Comforting, ritualistic, and loaded with restorative ingredients.”
(If you find yourself at The End Brooklyn in need of a regular coffee or matcha tea, they have a “normal” coffee shop menu with “normal” Brooklyn prices--small drip coffee is $2.25, a small matcha latte is $4.50)
I chose an Anxiety Busting CBD Hot Cocoa, which contains cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg, ghee, vanilla, CBD extract, and a touch of maple syrup. Before I leave I place my cup at the designated Instagram spot--in front of a sign, which reads, “Oh. My. God, Becky. Look at her Unicorn Latte. I’m so jealous.” See what I’m talking about when I talk about eye rolls?
The End Brooklyn is the brainchild of Madeleine Murphy and Bret Caretsky who also run Montauk Juice Factory. Opened since October 2016, the founders tell So Williamsburg they chose our neighborhood because they found it similar to Montauk. “[This] unique neighborhood, people and atmosphere kind of released a similar energy and vibe [despite being] inside a major city,” Caretsky says.
When I ask about the reasons behind the viral success of their signature Unicorn Latte, Bret Caretsky says, “I credit the human beings’ instinctual curiosity factor, health and wellness's growth, coffee's 3rd wave, and Unicorn spirit animal love!”
“The plant based lattes are really colorful, they are incredibly healthy and make everyone feel amazing,” Caretsky continues. “I think people like that, people love things that come from a genuine place of authenticity and it's literally impossible to fake or buy authenticity.”
Caretsy further praises the work of his partner Madeleine Murphy as a brand leader. “She sees beyond what’s in front of her,” he says. “She’s willing to work on and manifest [what’s] in her deck of cards.”
Caretsky also explains that The End doesn't simply capitalize on the unicorn food trend, rather they have fun with coming up with the names of their beverage, adding a touch of whimsy and cosmos keep them inspired.
Murphy tells So Williamsburg about the use of crystals in preparation of their concoctions: “There are many modalities people have been using for centuries to harness the power of crystals and gemstones. [People have been] placing them on their bodies, keeping around the home, wearing them as jewelry--and infusing them into an elixir. We use purple amethyst to imbue your daily routine with extra magic.”
Once I’m back in the Williamsburg reality, leaving the unicorn haven behind, I take a sip from my hot cocoa. It’s vibrant, deliciously rich, and sweet. And fine, I admit, I smile a little as well, appreciating the power of a good idea, excellent branding, and a genuine desire to raise the energy of our daily drinks.
Cover photo via The End Brooklyn website