New York has become one of the major coffee capitals of the the world. Cafés and coffee shops in New York City are a dime a dozen. To stand out from the rest, providers have to become increasingly creative and exceptional. Starbucks and some other chains continue to have their share of the market, but locals prefer to go to their small coffee shop around the corner. New York coffee drinkers are a curious, well-heeled bunch and are known for their willingness to try new things. Given that combination of customer characteristics, it is no surprise that New York City is often the test market for new products and there is no limit to coffee creations. Customers don’t mind paying for good quality coffee – but where do you get it?
Approximately 1,900 Coffee Shops owned by close to 1,000 independent operators are registered in New York City with the non-profit organization, New York City Economic Development Corporation. About 20% of these really do make great efforts to enchant their customers with wonderful coffee. Some operate their own roasting house or labs for in-house quality control, and others even offer training centers for their baristas. But only 10% of the 1,000 independent coffee houses are truly successful, because the competition is so great. I have uncovered the 5 Top coffee shops in New York for you. Two of them also rank among the Top 10 coffee shops in the country.
My Top 5 Coffee Shops in New York City
1. Joe the Art of Coffee
At Joe the Art of Coffee, customers don’t order a cup of coffee but a “cup of Joe’s”. Located in the Greybar passage of Grand Central Station, the tiny coffee shop serves approximately 2,000 customers a day. During the morning rush hour, that translates to one customer every 15 seconds. Lines are always long, but the coffee is worth the wait. With 8 locations in New York City and two others in Philadelphia, Joe is a giant among independent coffee houses. 150 employees process more than 2000,000 pounds of coffee beans a year. As Joe’s has expanded, the coffee products have steadily improved. You can get proof of the pudding at Grand Central Terminal. Other locations in New York City can be found here. Our tip: If you want to know how to make first-rate coffee, you can learn the tricks of the trade at Joe Pro Shop on 131 West 21st Street.
2. Café Grumpy
If you are a fan of fresh-brewed coffee, you will love Café Grumpy. The coffee shop opened in 2005 on Meserole Avenue & Diamond Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Today, Café Grumpy has four locations in the city. The US TV series, “Girls” by Lena Dunham, has made the Greenpoint coffee shop famous. The coffee is as delectable as the pastries prepared at the in-house bakery. The Café Grumpy location on 20th Street & 7th Avenue in Chelsea is the perfect spot to unwind. The peaceful garden there entices customers to linger. Other location in New York City can be found here.
Abraco is a mix of Spanish and Italian culture in a tight space. But size does not matter – what’s important is that the coffee is good. And indeed it is. The coffee house has earned its rightful place on our list of the Top 5 Coffee Shops in New York City. Customers have enjoyed exquisite coffee flavor here since 2007. Fresh-brewed coffee made from beans roasted in house is served with pleasant, often Spanish, accompanying music. Everything is 100% organic! Be sure not to miss the pastries and cakes baked in-house: these also reflect Spanish/Italian flavors. Read more here abut the Abraco Café in New York City.
4. Blue Bottled Coffee
This California-based company is one of the highlights of the New York coffee scene. Their individual “brewing method” for each cup can only be found in a handful of coffee shops in New York City. It is one of the most ceremonious coffees in the city, a homage to the coffee of Japan. Blue Bottle’s original shop is located – where else – in trendy Williamsburg (Berry Street & 5th Street). But there is also an excellent location in Manhattan. Because of its proximity to High Line Park (16th Street & 10th Avenue) it is popular with walkers in the park. Now in summer, iced coffee (New Orleans iced coffee) is their biggest seller. Five other locations, for example in Hell’s Kitchen and Bryant Park, are available.
5. The Brooklyn Roasting Company
Whenever you are thinking of coffee and New York City, Brooklyn Roasting Company should come to mind. This established institution in Brooklyn offers an excellent selection of Fair Trade and organic coffees. The first coffee shop was opened in a former warehouse in the charming neighborhood of Dumbo in Brooklyn. Its proximity to the East River and Brooklyn Bridge / Manhattan Bridge makes this café special. Compared to all the other coffee shops in New York City on this list of the Top 5, the Brooklyn Roasting Company is spacious and provides lots of room for customers to enjoy their coffee. The charm of the recycled and repurposed furniture make this coffee shop unmistakable. Their second location is on Flushing Avenue & Washington Avenue in Brooklyn. Click here for other locations in New York City.
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