Sylvester Expands Dreamy Coffee to Soul Cycle in Bridgehampton - 27 East

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Sylvester Expands Dreamy Coffee to Soul Cycle in Bridgehampton

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Modern General on Main Street in Sag Harbor. Alex Appel photo

Modern General on Main Street in Sag Harbor. Alex Appel photo

The coffee bar at Lynda Sylvester's Modern General on Main Street in Sag Harbor. Sylvester has expanded the reach of her popular Dreamy Coffee brand to Soul Cycle in Bridgehampton this summer season. Alex Appel photo

The coffee bar at Lynda Sylvester's Modern General on Main Street in Sag Harbor. Sylvester has expanded the reach of her popular Dreamy Coffee brand to Soul Cycle in Bridgehampton this summer season. Alex Appel photo

Coffee is available freshly brewed, or to go, at Soul Cycle in Bridgehampton. Kathryn Menu photo

Coffee is available freshly brewed, or to go, at Soul Cycle in Bridgehampton. Kathryn Menu photo

Sylvester Expands Dreamy Coffee to Soul Cycle in Bridgehampton

Sylvester Expands Dreamy Coffee to Soul Cycle in Bridgehampton

The Dreamy Coffee bar at Soul Cycle in Bridgehampton. Kathryn Menu photo

The Dreamy Coffee bar at Soul Cycle in Bridgehampton. Kathryn Menu photo

authorStaff Writer on Jun 19, 2024

By Alex Appel

A longtime staple of the South Fork is expanding: Dreamy Coffee Company opened a new coffee bar in Bridgehampton, inside a Soul Cycle, on May 24.

Like the Dreamy Coffee store in the Modern General in Sag Harbor, the store will sell cold brew coffee, using Lynda Sylvester’s custom-made coffee and brewing it with a special method.

Sylvester is the owner and founder of both the Modern General and the Dreamy Coffee Company. She is also a passionate traveler and an artist. Her trips and love of art inspire many things in her store, including her coffee.

“I think I am more of an artist than I am a businessperson,” she said. “I go on adventures.”

Decades ago, when she was camping on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania with a group of friends, the man who was guarding her group would prepare them coffee every day. He would crush the beans, soak them in water overnight, and, in the morning, he would strain the coffee and mix the concentrate with equal parts fresh, boiled water, according to Sylvester.

“It was,” she said, “the best coffee I had ever had.”

The coffee at Dreamy Coffee is brewed using a modified version of that process, according to Sylvester. She also sells bottles of coffee concentrate at her store, with instructions on how to brew it at home.

“This store has evolved quite a bit — it’s always been an adventure for me,” she said.

Sylvester had a long journey to Sag Harbor.

“I was trained classically as an artist, but I was shy, and going to galleries, showing my work, was just not a comfort level for me. And women artists still struggle with getting any presence in the artwork, so I thought, ‘What do I do?’” she said. “So I did what I could with all the art available to me.”

Before moving to Sag Harbor, she ran a product design store in New York City. Her store in the city was successful, but after a decade there she started to long for the quiet life.

“My decade in Manhattan was really great, but then I started taking a share house in Sag Harbor,” Sylvester said. “Every week, I found I was staying here one day longer, until I was here all week.”

She moved to Sag Harbor in the middle of the winter and in 1989 opened the Modern General.

“I stood here in January and thought, ‘Oh my God, what have I done?’” she said. “It’s a big store, so I thought, ‘I have to please everybody.’ You know, 10 people come into the store, nine people have to buy something. So I started looking at it like a general store.”

Modern General is a year-round store that services both tourists and locals. “It was kind of a depot for the supplies you need to have a perfectly happy weekend in the Hamptons,” she said. “So if you forgot your toothbrush, or you needed a bathrobe, or you needed a book to read, you could find it here. And the coffee bar was installed because I was looking for ways for people to come every day.”

Many of the products in the store are artisan-made. This includes cutting boards made by a man in Wisconsin who uses the knots in maple trees, and a man in Naples who makes tables out of wood and resin.

“I’m blessed with having the best customers in the world,” she said. “They are the smartest, kindest, well-mannered … I’ve been really lucky with people. This store is nourishing to people — it’s like an emotional gas station.”

Her unique experiences have had a big impact on her store. “Had I been more predictable, maybe I would have been more successful or [found it] easier to do multiple stores,” she said. “But I can’t help myself.”

This year, for the first time since she opened the store, she has cut back her hours. She says that staffing is challenging — and, besides, she wants “a little bit of a life.”

Despite these concerns, Sylvester always sees the positives in life. With fewer hours, she gets to focus more on her art. “I’m trying to get back to where I was before I was a businesswoman,” she said. “I was trying to get back to a place where I just enjoy making art.”

There are also good things happening with Dreamy Coffee. In addition to the new coffee bar in Bridgehampton, Sylvester is partnering with Matchbox Distilling Company in Greenport and the Vine Street Cafe in Shelter Island to integrate her coffee into new products, including martinis and barbecue sauces.

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