17 of the Best Coffee Shops In New York as of 2018
When people say New York City, they don’t stop to think about how vast a place it really is.
Most counties have several cities, but the Big Apple encompasses five boroughs filled with people bustling around on planes, trains, and automobiles.
If you’re going to get around and keep the pace in the busiest city on earth, you’ll need something to keep you fuelled. And coffee is easily available anywhere you go, since New York foodies love their java.
Take a look at some of the top recommendations here so you’re prepared for what awaits you!
#1 Start at Third Rail Coffee
Come for the cup, stay for the culture. This West Village coffee house is more than just java. While they offer some of the best brews in the city — I hear their iced lattes rank at the very top — these baristas also provide the atmosphere of counterculture the area is known for, great breakfast for the artsy NYU crowd, and delectable baked goods to keep energy high throughout the day.
Don’t be fooled by the cubby sized location: the caffeine frenzy here packs a big punch for a price even broke college kids can pay!
#2 Then Try Happy Bones
A traipse through Little Italy can lead you to a ton of tiny pizza parlors and traditional pasta shops worth trying, but don’t forget to stop here and grab a cup of joe with your Uncle Joe!
The trendy café in the heart of the district proclaims that they want to inspire you with the typical energy and creativity of New York City, and with a great selection of coffees and teas, they certainly don’t fail. With social art and interesting publications as décor, the owners pay homage to the espresso culture of New Zealand, where they grew up, in fine NYC fashion!
#3 Go Indie for Something Different
People go to Napa Valley to tour the vineyards. Come to Manhattan to do an indie coffee house tour. Check out independent locations that will knock the socks off the corporate cafes throughout the country — and the world. The Whynot Café, aside from having a great name that inspires curiosity, also offers a truly unique experience.
There are individual-sized tables just big enough for you and your laptop, book, or magazine and your latte or espresso. The coffee is incredible, the solitude blends with a comfortably social environment, and the atmosphere is definitely that of a true indie café.
#4 Relax with Craft, Coffee, and Cocktails
Blending the business with the popular culture haven, Kobrick’s has hit the mark as a unique experience. The roaster began building its empire 97 years ago in a factory in New Jersey. Today, they operate a “taste our work” shop in Manhattan, just across the Hudson, making it possible to showcase their variety to potential wholesale customers and patrons alike.
One of the oldest brewers in the area, Kobrick’s dates back to prohibition days and continues the tradition of offering great service and great taste, even when alcohol isn’t involved! At the same time, cocktails are available, making the blend a one-of-a-kind work of art.
#5 High (Design) on Coffee
New York is the most competitive place in the country for work, housing, the best coffee, and the best architectural design. Just as high fashion rules the runway, high design rules a particular area in the java scene, and you can find the same variety here as in the entire culture of the city.
Enter the vintage feel at Devocion in the Williamsburg district of Brooklyn, with exposed brick walls and leather furniture for that high-class classic design. They roast carefully sourced Colombian beans and serve up incredible mugs of the best brew in the neighborhood and perhaps all of Brooklyn.
#6 Kick Back in A.B. Biagi
Maybe it’s not the coffee that draws your attention to this little jewel. On Elizabeth Street, the bright yellow storefront of A. B. Biagi is like a giant smiley face inviting you to join in on the joke. Of course, there’s nothing funny about the gelato or the java, and you can enjoy both while escaping the grays and browns of the city.
All of Elizabeth Street is striking, but this particular dig offers a casual atmosphere with a sense of stepping out of the hustle and bustle of the city for a minute to cool your heels, followed by an equally enjoyable experience trolling the area.
#7 Combo Coffee & Cocktail
Looking for something a little less traditional? Enter into the scene Sweetleaf Café and Cocktail Lounge. All day, you can get the best coffee in Long Island City at the espresso bar. At night, kick back with a drink at the cocktail bar. The crossover period from five to seven means you can get a slow start on the evening drink.
And on Sundays, join the crowd for an incredible brunch till 4 p.m., and then stay for a drink — the cocktail bar is open until midnight, even on Sunday! It’s a great place any morning, noon, or night to catch some good conversation, excellent coffee, and a thriving atmosphere.
#8 Travel the World with Prodigy Coffee
Right next to Washington Square, this gem shines out among the rest for its international flair and flavor. You’ll find brews from around the globe to suit your palate and creative artisanal java drinks to wow the senses, as well as a stylishly minimalist décor, which is technically like a double-negative and yet works wonders in this small space.
Relaxing and vibe-y at the same time, the visit will leave you with a pleasant taste in your mouth as much from the atmosphere and service as from the delicious culinary delights.
#9 Scandinavian Sweets
If you love consuming confectionery treats with your caffeine, Bakeri in Brooklyn is the place to go. Offering small batch European-style bready treats, everything is baked fresh and served with excellent coffee. Because they source local, seasonal fruit, their offerings change from day to day, meaning you have to go in often to get the best of everything.
Not that this should be a problem — you’ll love everything about the traditional bakery and coffee shop, including the friendly service and daily delights. With a goal of excellence, the café also uses organic ingredients when available, so expect nothing less than the best.
#10 Fuel Up for the Day
When you think about consuming caffeine, you probably think about the boost in energy. What better name for a place with great coffee than Gasoline Alley, where you can fuel up with a variety of brews to suit your taste? The atmosphere is as vibrant as the name, and you’ll find premium artisan coffees for your palette.
With three locations in Manhattan, on Lafayette Street, Grand Street, and East 23rd Street, you can’t miss this café that excels in accelerating your mind and body with tasty, invigorating java. Try the espresso (it’s to die for) or create your own concoction with baristas that are more than up to the task!
#11 Don’t Want to Go Out? Try Toby’s Estate Coffee
Toby’s Estate hits all the marks, so let’s overlook the fact that we haven’t discussed a lot of multi-location businesses so far. This small-batch roaster deserves accolades for using the finest beans in the world, and they deliver fresh orders to your doorstep.
Co-owners Adam and Amber have created the beginning of a dynasty, offering not only some of the best cups of coffee you’ll ever taste, but education in how to make them! Sign up for delivery, or visit any of the four locations — Brooklyn, the Flatiron District, the West Village, or the Vanderbilt Market.
#12 Save the World at Grumpy’s Coffee Shop
With seven locations open since they began in 2005, Grumpy’s is a standard in New York coffee. But don’t listen to the name; it’s a little deceiving. They love what they do, and they will take your “grumpy” away with a little class, a little culture, and a lot of caffeine.
Add to that a bit of social responsibility, and you’ve brewed up a tall glass of success. A partnership with Action Against Hunger and a dedication to environmentally responsible brewing complete the image to create a grand slam of good ideas behind the business.
#13 Hungry? Try a One-Stop Shop Java Hut
While you go to coffee houses specifically for coffee, you can’t rule out the after-dinner affair of coffee at a restaurant, so consider some of the best restaurants in the city that also serve your favorite perk-me-up drink.
The small, decorative dishes at Estela leave plenty of room for dessert and a cappuccino, and follow up the Italian-influenced fare at Vic’s with a tasty espresso. Check out the Mediterranean-style delights at Meadowsweet in Brooklyn and chase it with a stout cup of joe, and be sure to read the rest of the list for more jewels for dining and getting a later dose.
#14 Cultivating the Community
Dig out your map and find Birch for a Kyoto drip iced coffee. At least, this is the drink most talked about by patrons. But what really sets the business is that they put people first, with coffee second.
That doesn’t take away from the quality of the brew at all, but it does add a great deal to the customer service aspect. You’ll find a welcoming atmosphere created to cater to the community, giving back through excellence in service and product, as well as locally sourced ingredients.
#15 Garden Seating & Charm
The Chipped Cup is an old-timey location, offering a cozy space to enjoy your coffee, whether the weather is good or gross. Sit inside and enjoy the traditional atmosphere or, in good weather, take advantage of the garden seating.
Aside from excellent espresso drinks, the hip location offers light eating to make sure you get a nutritious dish. Located on Broadway, you’ll find yourself in the middle of the bustling city without feeling the hectic hurry of the crowds. Don’t feel like going out? You can place an order online, and choose a time you do want to be out and about for preparation!
#16 Love Your Coffee
Did you know that Abraço means love in Portuguese? It becomes obvious when you visit the café and note how much love the baristas put into every cup of coffee they serve. Aside from stellar espresso, they also serve savory baked goods and small food plates for your culinary delight.
The counter service at this East Village café is excellent, and while there is no seating, you’ll find yourself wanting to hang with the local crowd that frequents this hole in the wall gem. If you don’t like espresso, don’t worry — they also serve top-notch drip coffee.
#17 Last but Not Least, Stumptown Coffee
Stumptown are in New York City and here to stay… but they also reside in several other very important coffee markets, including Portland and the Coffee Mecca, Seattle.
With several South American blends and a brew called Hair Bender that should just make any coffee lover’s toes curl with excitement and anticipation, it’s no wonder they’ve been able to corner markets in New Orleans against the Creole coffee, in busy Los Angeles, and in Seattle (the hometown of the Starbucks giant).
Resources are none too thin in New York City. You can find pretty much anything you need, anywhere in the city, any time, day or night. And most of that is available at the touch of a button. But make sure you’ve done your homework and know where to get a good infusion of caffeine. Coffee is going to be important if you’re going to troll around the City that Never Sleeps. The energy is high, and you need to keep up.
Besides, everyone should find their favorite, even it you have to go to each of these thousands of locations to find it! It’s a great idea to compile a sweet list like this when travelling anywhere in the world, it’s like your own personal road map to coffee in any city.
Did you just love this awesome list of the best java joints in NYC? Let us know how many you’ve been to!