An Espresso Fiend Visits 11 Of The Best Coffee Shops in New York City
As a writer, curator, artist, and photographer, NYC is the perfect playground.
As a coffee lover, it’s equally awesome.
I love coffee. It’s one of my favorite things in this world, so when I had the pleasure of staying in Manhattan over the course of a few days a few weeks ago, I made the most of it. When it comes to tasting top notch coffee, the density of experience New York City provides makes walking from coffee shop to coffee shop a realistic & enjoyable adventure.
While many don’t mind drinking whatever swill is being served at the local Jiffy Lube, gas station, or bodega, I am not one of them.
Over the course of 3 days I was able to visit 11 different coffee shops from the Upper West Side to Brooklyn, tasting macchiato’s or single origin pour overs at each one.
My advice is, take 30 seconds to launch a quick Google Maps search for coffee near you when you’re in NYC. Whenever you’re in a bind, this will help you hone in on the best cup nearby, or you can hit the heart-button on this article so you can come back to it whenever you need to.
Oh, and before you take me to task for not mentioning your favorite spot, I must include the fact that this list is not exhaustive. It’s NYC for cryin’ out loud — there’s a lot more awesome coffee including the likes of Blue Bottle in Williamsburg and the Roasting Plant in Greenwich Village, and I look forward to expanding my mission.
Ahead, I give a glimpse into some of the best coffee shops in Manhattan & Brooklyn with links to each website & their respective Google Maps listing so you can taste the goodness for yourself.
I hope you enjoy it. I know I did!
They have 7 locations in NYC and knock out delicious macchiato’s with the quickness. I often visit the location at 79th and Broadway, which dips down a short staircase and leads you into to a cozy, wood-laden shop perfect for getting work done. The room in the back is a nice hideaway & their food is legit as well (breakfast sandwich with gruyere and bacon anyone?!).
Their Gotham dark roast doesn’t play, while their Ethiopia is one of my favorite coffees around. Avoid rush hours, as you’ll be made to wait with the rest of NYC.
They have roughly 20 locations between the bulk of them in Manhattan and a location in both New Jersey and Brooklyn. The 7th Ave location is right up the street from FIT, is spacious and doubles as a nicely lit remote office.
I had a macchiato there, it was nutty and delicious. Not too pushy with a nice round finish, their espresso has a balanced and understated profile.
They have 8 locations between BK and The City, with their Flatiron location taking up a big space on 23rd St. A darker roast espresso, it’s a bit blunter, more straightforward, but still highly awesome. I ventured there early on a Saturday and the place was wide open, as was 23rd St in general.
I must say, there is a special magic involved when walking down a usually busy New York street at the break of dawn to enjoy a macchiato. The optimism of coffee is certainly it’s most potent in the early AM.
I found this tiny little gem of an espresso bar with a Google Maps search while getting lost taking photos of street art. Their cute little Mott St. location is perfect for a quick pick-me-up. No room indoors for hanging out and computing, but there is a lovely little bench out front for your quick espresso hit. The set up is great, they have plenty of locally roasted coffee for sale, and when you buy a bag of coffee they kick you down with a drink of your choice! More and more places do this, and I support it fully.
The gentle-dude pulling shots recommended their Burundi Long Miles Coffee Project roast and God bless him for that. A few weeks later, as I make coffee in my condo and compare roasts from many of these purveyors, this coffee ranks right up at the top.
Think has 9 locations in the city and one in Korea! Howbout that?! I stopped into their Mercer St. location to write some newsletters and update one of my websites. The V60 pour over single origin El Salvador I had was light, super caffeinated, and very drinkable. Have some.
I also bought a bag of their Kellensoo Ethiopia and have had it regularly this week… it deserves an extended golf clap. The deep cheery note on this coffee is astounding. This location is a great place to grab a snack, open your laptop, and get shit done.
Think is also dedicated to giving back, environmental sustainability, and community projects, so there’s an awesome mission component as well.
With two locations in Manhattan, and one of them just 5 blocks from the Empire State Building, I was able to stop in before a meeting in the area. The 38th St. location is tiny and was packed with afternoon fiends searching for the most delicious espresso they could find. While they don’t feature local roasters, they do insist on quality. Heart Roasters from Portland provide their coffee goodness, so you know I had to buy a bag there too.
I went with the Ethiopia Worka and it’s amazing. Really.
Who needs a real website?! These guys have a Facebook page, seem to have dedicated clientele, and churn out expertly made espresso drinks with beautifully delicate microfoam. Their tiny shop on 47th St. in Hell’s Kitchen is in the middle of a mostly residential block, has a few small tables to work from, and has a tiny bar area. When I got there it was packed, but the dudes did a great job of getting drinks out.
Between the tiny space, the good vibes, and the true craftsmanship applied to my drink, I loved checking this place out. You will too.
After I made my way over the Williamsburg Bridge (by foot) in December, you know I needed a little warmth. After lunch I walked around Williamsburg and once again hit up Google Maps to find the closest, delicious coffee I could find.
I passed it up then worked my way back, and stepped into their little storefront on Bedford Ave. One standing table and a row for a few seats by the window, this is mostly a place to pop in and keep it movin’. Another shop that offers a free drink for anyone who buys beans, I had my customary macchiato and purchased a bag of their Costa Rica single origin called El Mirador. It’s a clean tasting roast with honey & vanilla notes. Really good.
I had a good chat with their barista as he poured shots from a beautiful machine that featured wooden handles. I’ll be back.
Known for their increasingly ubiquitous cold brew, they also know a thing or two about great single origin coffees and drinks made with gusto. Their location on 29th St. in The Ace Hotel is hoppin’ and features the added benefit of opening into the hotel’s lobby.
I pounded a macchiato (served with a side of bubbly water to cleanse my palette) and purchased a bag of their single origin Guatemala Bella Vista. It’s got fudge, lime, and caramel notes, offering a really nice, complex cup without the heavy-handed approach of an overly roasted coffee.
Toby’s Estate is one of my favorite coffee roasters. On this particular trip, I visited 3 of their 4 NYC area locations. It’s true. I love what they do.
I stopped into their large Williamsburg shop, their small spot on 5th Ave, and their West Village location. They take the time to craft great drinks with espresso that not only tastes incredible, but the microfoam they conjure up has great mouthfeel and stands above the rest. They must truly train their people diligently because I’ve noticed great consistency among the espresso drinks and pour overs at various locations.
You’re damn right I took a bag home. (Their El Salvador with Pluot, Apple Butter, and Rainier Cheery tasting notes. Order some for yourself.
I stopped into this cozy West Village spot on Jane St. to meet a friend, and ordered a macchiato as I read the days news. Their espresso made me nostalgic for beans that are roasted a little longer, where you can taste the oils a bit more, giving the coffee a bolder flavor.
Plenty of tables, this place also offers sandwiches and teas, and has everything you’d want without the fluff. If you make this place your office for the afternoon, you will have done well.
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