Park Slope’s famous Gorilla Coffee is expanding its habitat.
The owners of the Fifth Avenue java joint known for its intricate foam designs in bright red cups will open a second outpost in Gowanus this summer.
The new coffee outlet, eight blocks away from the original shop, will be the proverbial Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory of coffee houses, with a coffee bar and a roastery inside basketball-court-sized space on President Street that was formerly a printing plant.
“It will be our new home,” said co-owner Darleen Scherer, who bought the property between Nevins Street and Third Avenue with her business partner Carol McLaughlin to grow the Gorilla enterprise. “It’s going to take on a life of its own.”
Scherer said the new Gorilla space will be a coffee playground where trained staff will conjure up new blends, crank out a variety of beans, and sling lattes, cappuccinos, and espressos.
Java enthusiasts will also be invited to tasting classes and tours that will teach visitors about the journey of the coffee bean.
“There are so many steps in coffee from the moment it’s a seed to the moment we prepare it,” she said, adding that the same kind of training required for employees will be open to the public through classes. “Our hope is to improve the dialogue between the customer and the staff.”
The dialogue between workers and ownership is another are Scherer is versed in.
That’s because irate workers at the Park Slope storefront walked out en masse three years ago after tensions boiled over between staff and ownership, and the cafe closed for two weeks.
Employees cited the reason for quitting as “a perpetually malicious, hostile, and demeaning work environment,” that was “unhealthy” and “unworkable” in a letter that workers posted to the front door.
But Scherer said that she isn’t worried about any Gorilla warfare happening anytime soon.
“We have an amazing staff now, all really talented and confident in coffee and in their personal endeavors.”Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at nmusumeci@