NYC’s Best Coffee (in our humble opinion)
It's a dangerous world out there when it comes to debating NYC's best brews, but we're going to come out and say it. These are hands down the 13 best cups around. Feel free to disagree.
This small-batch roaster, which originally started in Williamsburg, has now expanded to two Manhattan locations. Toby’s Estate takes its brewing seriously, with an in-house pressure-controlled Strada machine, pour-over coffee and an array of single-origin beans in a variety of flavors. If you want to learn the secret behind their java, sign up for Brew School classes on everything from latte art to advanced espresso-making.
Call us biased (JS HQ sits above one of La Colombe’s many outposts), but damn, they make a mean cup of coffee. The Philadelphia-based company is a master roaster, which explains why their shops are always mobbed (trust us, the place is packed morning, noon and night). Still, we'd wait in line for hours just for a sip of their iced cappuccinos, black and tans, and fresh chocolate croissants from Ceci Cela.
The interiors of this Bogotá-based roaster are as beautiful as the brews. Picture a sprawling space of exposed brick, plush leather sofas, a vertical green wall and a bright skylight. Plus, the beans are shipped straight from Colombia to Williamsburg just 10 days after being picked, which means it’s some of the freshest coffee around.
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Birch Coffee has a loyal following and for good reason. Here, it's all about the Kyoto drip iced coffee with soy or hemp milk (the drink is mixed in an elaborate glass beaker and looks like an experiment from 8th grade science class). Take it to go or sip it in the cozy lending library in the back of the shop.
Not many people know about this little gem of a Voyager Espresso, a futuristic, spaceship-themed cafe tucked in the Fulton Street subway station. The look is all silver walls, black marble tables and metal countertops (no reclaimed wood or brick in sight). And the beverage menu is just as cool, with hard-to-find coffees from far corners of the world, including the Ethiopia Duromina.
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Get a taste of Japan at Hi-Collar, a dual coffee house and sake bar modeled after traditional Japanese kissatens. The St. Marks haunt has pour-overs, Aeropress coffees and light, fruity brews made from Ethiopian and Kenyan beans, but the real specialty is the siphon coffee. Pair a cup with a pork-katsu sandwich or Japanese-style hot cakes.
While most people get their coffee to go, this Australian spot in the West Village is so charming, you won’t want to leave. The bright space is done up in reclaimed wood, with an indoor hanging garden, pillow-lined window seats and a sweet whitewashed patio. Try the flat white, an Aussie classic with a double-shot of espresso and frothy steamed “microfoam” milk on top.
El Rey Coffee Bar & Luncheonette
Though this 15-seat, California-chic café run by Nick Morgenstern (of Morgenstern’s Finest) is known for its veggie-centric menu and laid-back vibe, it also makes a killer cup of coffee. Our favorite? The Mexican Iced Mocha, with spicy chili flakes and cinnamon, sweetened condensed milk, topped with Mexican chocolate and a sprig of fresh mint.
The baristas at this low-key Soho spot are the ultimate coffee connoisseurs. All brews are made with Counter Culture beans, but the cortado is the standout. Think intense espresso mixed with rich Battenkill Creamery milk.) There’s also cocktail-inspired signature drinks and an artisan soda fountain if you’re still thirsty for more.
Starting as a tiny corner shop in Long Island City, Sweetleaf has grown quickly, adding a Williamsburg location and a Greenpoint roastery. You must taste the Rocket Fuel, a cold brew spiked with chicory, maple syrup and milk, and the Voodoo Child, a Vietnamese-style iced coffee made with sweetened condensed milk.
For almost 10 years, this shoebox-sized space in the East Village has been a destination for caffeine addicts. And it’s no wonder why: they roast their own brews, the drip coffee is off the charts and the homemade treats like olive oil cake and thyme lemon shortbread are out of this world.
With a Scandinavian beer bar, boutique and coffee nook, this Greenpoint concept space is a one-stop shop for the Nordic-obsessed set. You can browse Icelandic designer threads while sipping java sourced from Swedish roasters Tim Wendelboe and Koppi. We love the licorice latte (imported anise syrup and licorice powder).
This subway-tiled jewel on Avenue B is kitted out with leather sofas, a gas fireplace and — the coolest part — a beer-and-bourbon speakeasy hidden behind sliding barn doors. Fuel up before work with Brooklyn Roasting Company cappuccinos and Balthazar pastries, then pop back in at the end of the day to sip 16 local suds, including Coney Island Seas the Day IPL and Empire’s Amber Ale.
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