Who said New York only serves up super charged drip coffee, stale overly roasted beans and milky lattes? The third wave of coffee is bringing premium coffee to New York, so you can say hello to super smooth flat whites and a burgeoning coffee shop culture which rivals the very best in the world. Here’s my ultimate New York Coffee Guide to the Big Apple.
It’s only fitting that this coffee shop is named after one of Melbourne’s most loved streets. Little Collins pays homage to the spirit of the bustling street in Melbourne and of course Melbourne’s buzzing coffee culture. It’s a cafe you would expect to find in a trendier area like Nolita or Soho, but it is welcomed by the hordes of caffeine hungry corporates in mid-town. This small industrial cafe hums in the morning like a well-oiled machine, with hundreds of cups of freshly brewed coffee churned out by the expert baristas. On the breakfast menu, there’s lots of tasty dishes like ‘The Pick Me Up’ sandwich with sage omelette, the avo smash and ‘The Big Dill’ toasted sandwich with cured salmon and scrambled eggs. Get on it!
Bluestone Lane is one of the early pioneers of the coffee movement in New York. Influenced by the coffee culture of Melbourne, Bluestone Lane is fastidious about the quality of coffee they serve and is keen to educate New Yorkers how to enlighten their palates. They source the finest premium organic fair trade beans around, roasted by coffee artisans, to ensure the fullest flavour and taste. On the all-day menu you can expect all the usual classics like smashed avocado on toast, bircher muesli and eggs all ways, as well as some pretty delicious cold-pressed juices. The fit out of the cafe is pretty fabulous too.
At Café Grumpy, it’s all about simple, quality coffee. The independently owed and operated coffee company, also pride themselves in sourcing socially responsible beans and highlighting the different flavoural profiles in each coffee they roast. The Chelsea shop, nestled in a tree-lined block, also has a cute courtyard at the back, which is a peaceful sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of the city. They also have an in house roaster on site.
It was only a matter of time that an Australian coffee shop infiltrated the New York coffee scene. Once stepping inside Toby’s Estate in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which is housed within a former meatpacking factory, I could have been anywhere in Melbourne. It has a fun hipster vibe, industrial interiors and, most importantly, great coffee and food. Join the arty types at the communal table with your laptop and be part of the creative energy of Williamsburg. Coffee is an art here and the staff travel the world to source the best coffee in town. Trust me you won’t be disappointed.
Blue Bottle Coffee was my saviour when staying in Chelsea. So many mornings I would wander to Bluebottle Coffee then go for a stroll around the neighbouring Chelsea Markets. This coffee shop started in Oakland, California and has quickly grown into a network of cafes, an espresso cart and a small fleet of Loring roasters. Be prepared for your mind to boggle at the complex range of brewing guides at Bluebottle – ranging from aeropress, cold brew to pour over and siphon. The choice is yours.
Established in 2001, Ninth Street Espresso is considered to be the first specialty coffee bar in New York City. Their focus is on a quality driven, purist approach to coffee. The no fuss menu is limited to just a few options; brewed coffee, iced coffee, espresso and espresso with milk. All of the beans used by Ninth Street Espresso are sourced from select specialty farms and roasted locally throughout the week. I frequented the Chelsea Market store but they also have locations in Alphabet City, Tompkins Square, Midtown and Gowanus.
With two locations in Greenwich Village and East Village, Third Rail Coffee is one of my favourites when it comes to a quality brew. Whether you’re looking for an espresso, cold brew or drip coffee (amongst many other options), rest assured you’ll be well looked after here. Their espresso is usually a single origin coffee roasted by Counter Culture Coffee and a number of “guest” rotations are also available. There’s also a delicious selection of freshly baked croissants, scones and doughnuts from my beloved Doughnut Plant.
Since opening in Chicago, Intelligentsia has developed somewhat of a cult following amongst coffee nerds. Lucky for New Yorkers, they can experience the finest Intelligentsia Coffee in the lobby of The High Line Hotel. With a contemporary, industrial feel, the store has an imposing zinc bar with a custom espresso machine, serving a nice range of single origin blends and rotations. Don’t miss their delicious pastries from Bien Cuit and Mah Ze Dahr
Culture Espresso is an independent and locally owned coffee shop that opened in 2009, serving up premium coffees from major roasters throughout the world. Coffee preparation and presentation is the focus of Culture Espresso, and they make sure every detail from sourcing to brewing is top notch. Culture Espresso is currently preparing coffees chosen and roasted by Heart Coffee Roasters out of Portland, Oregon. There’s also a great range of tasty treats like cookies and pastries to take away.
It may be tiny, but what Abraço doesn’t have in size, it makes up for it in charm and personality. The hole-in-the-wall style cafe is pretty much standing room only, so be prepared to get nice and cosy with your neighbours. It may not serve as good a flat white as the previous coffee shops but it does serve a mean freshly brewed drip coffee. Make sure you try the delicious home made treats including their signature olive-oil cake and rose almond cookies.