After living New York for 3 weeks, I’ve drunk enough coffee to float a fleet of small, yet very practical boats to China. New York is home to the finest coffee in the world, yet surprisingly it also plays host to some of the worst coffee in the known universe. Thanks to Yelp, help from a few locals and our own trial and error, we found some great spots that you should try.
1. Ninth Street Espresso Bar
There are 4 Ninth Street Espresso Bars in New York city, and we chose to visit the one tucked away in the Chelsea Market (another experience for another post). Ninth Street is the first speciality coffee spot to open up in New York. It’s the only standalone coffee shop in Chelsea Market and they’re as busy as a generator seller in Joburg right about now. The coffee alone is worth the trip and when combined with a wander through Chelsea Market, a cupcake and a stroll through the Meatpacking district, it’s a definite New York bucket list item. To get to the Ninth street espresso bar, take the metro to 14th Street and head up to 9th Avenue. It’s on 9th, between 15th and 16th streets.
This spot is max hipster, min mainstream, so make sure to bring your boyfriend avec beard, your thick, dark rimmed glasses and your notebook and feather quill.Chelsea Market 75 9th Ave. Between 9th and 10th Ave.
One of the Mille-Feuille bakeries is on the upper west side and after 3 weeks, is still my favourite place in the city. It’s quaint french romance with a touch of New York humour. I have absolutely no idea where the coffee comes from or who produces it, but it doesn’t matter because it’s frankly fabulous. I’ve waxed lyrical on this spot in a previous post, so if you need more motivation go and have a squiz. The staff all speak french, so don’t forget your beret and your merci beaucoups.Upper West Side 2175 Broadway New York, NY 10024
(between 76th and 77th)
3. Ramini Espresso Bar
Ramini Espresso Bar is in the Garment District, quite close to Penn Station and prides themselves on their drip based coffees. According to the great Google machine, the drip method is arguably the simplest and cleanest way to draw out a coffee’s best qualities. These coffees are strong and full of flavour. Ramini don’t have a website and aren’t open on Saturdays or Sundays (just saved you a trip, you’re welcome), but the snug, quirky interior and coffee is worth the trip. Seating is pretty limited, so expect to get an order to go. I was busy being distracted by a case of historical spoons (kid you not) and forgot to take a picture, so found one on the Internet. Thank you MidtownLunch.Garment District 265 West 37th Street, New York, NY 10018
4. Roomr Cafe
Roomr is down in Dumbo, underneath the Brooklyn Bridge and a stones throw from Grimaldis. The coffee is good, it’s full of Brooklyn charm and they have a signature hot dog waffle – unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to try it. Roomr is the perfect end to what I’ve dubbed the Brooklyn trifecta – a pizza pie at Grimaldi’s, an ice cream at the Brooklyn ice cream factory and finally a coffee-to-go at Roomr and a stroll down the promenade.
If you’re in Dumbo, these places are within metres of each other and all worth a visit.Dumbo (Brooklyn) 17 Old Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Lastly, Gregory’s, Starbucks and Pret:
These last three are more commercial coffee spots, each with branches dotted across the city. In other words, you can lose the berets, fountain pens and just settle in for a decent cup of coffee.
No matter what anyone ever says, I’ll always love Starbucks, unless they’re putting dead cats in their coffee or something. As we can’t get it in South Africa, to me, the white cup and green logo have always symbolized the excitement of travel and exploring new cities. It’s an emotional thing. Plus an instagram with only a plane ticket, just wouldn’t be the same. You really can’t go wrong and their staff are friendly and on the ball.
Gregory’s is an example of where hipster has successfully become mainstream. They are a coffee spot born out of New York and are in quite a few areas around the city. The coffee is good, the brand is super quirky and the staff are awesome.
Pret a manger:
Pret a manger is another travelling favourite and their healthy soups and organic salads have been a much appreciated break in the haze of burgers, cupcakes and the Americans love for extra salt on everything. For the first time I tried out their coffee and it’s great. The salted caramel macchiato quickly became a treat of choice on cold snowy days walking up and down 5th Avenue.