Where To Find The Best Coffee in New York City
Coffee culture and New York culture are synonymous. Whether you're running through Midtown for meetings or taking a stroll through Williamsburg, a cup of joe in hand is necessary to look the part. At any turn of a corner you could find either a bodega for a quick grab-and-go coffee, a quaint little shop offering seasonal lattes or a more spacious coffee shop that roasts its beans on site to deliver the finest and the freshest of third-wave coffee.
Among all those options are a few gems that stand out. Here are some of the best and unique coffee shops to try on your next trip to the Big Apple:
1/15 Urban Backyard
This environmentally-conscious cafe may be the cutest coffee shop you’ll stumble upon in Nolita. As if its earthy and vintage aesthetic wasn’t Instagrammable enough, its fragrant lattes—which include flavours such as lavender, rose, ube and turmeric—are also Insta-worthy. Inside, you’ll find luscious plants, eco-friendly products and messages promoting sustainability on the walls. Space is limited (there are only two tables inside) but there is a little stool outside to sit on if weather permits.
Tatler Tip: Have a flower or succulent icing cupcake (made in-house) with your latte. But come early, they sell out quickly!
180 Mulberry Street, New York, NY (Nolita); urbanbackyardnyc.com
Step into any Maman location and you’ll be taken straight to the South of France. The cosy cafe boasts traditional blue and white tableware reminiscent of Provence, white-washed wood, and lavender spread throughout. Even the to-go cups are adorable. The pastries are outstanding and are the perfect complement to the delicious coffee.
Tatler Tip: Don’t leave without trying the pistachio chocolate croissant, almond croissant or the nutty chocolate chip cookie, which Oprah named one of her favourite things in 2017.
Multiple locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn; mamannyc.com
This take-away shop doubles up as coffee shop and hair salon. On one side, you’ll find hanging plants (that are also for sale), great coffee, as well as vegan and non-vegan baked goods. On the other side, you’ll find the Japanese-owned hair salon Commune by Krasil. The cafe is a much-loved local watering hole in Williamsburg, and is constantly praised for the baristas’ friendliness and the delicious coffee.
Tatler Tip: The coffee keeps people coming back for more, but the hojicha latte is a nice treat to have every once in a while.
189 Roebling Street, Brooklyn, NY (Williamsburg); facebook/pages/ppl.com
4/15 Coffee Project
Coffee Project stands out from the mould with its nitro flights and deconstructed lattes. The barista will be happy to explain the concept of the latter, before presenting you with three glasses—the first with an espresso shot, the second with steamed milk and the third with latte foam art. The finishing touch is a waffle cookie and sparkling water to cleanse your palate.
Tatler Tip: If you want to learn barista basics or how to evaluate aroma and taste, take a class at their lab located in Queens.
Multiple locations in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn; coffeeprojectny.com
Devotion, or devoción in Spanish, is exactly what New Yorkers have for this coffee joint. Skylights, exposed brick walls, reclaimed wood, leather sofas and overgrown plants are some of the key elements that make up the cosy atmosphere at Devoción. That and its delicious Colombian coffee are two of the reasons this place is always bustling with professionals and coffee-connoisseurs alike. Devoción is all about coffee freshness, which they upkeep by importing their dry-milled coffee beans from Colombia and roasting them at the front of their Williamsburg outpost.
Tatler Tip: Try the oat milk latte and Red Barrel pour-over coffee. And come early if you want to sit. This place can fill up with people working remotely by 11am, though the wifi is only available on weekdays.
Multiple locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn; devocion.com
6/15 Sawada Coffee
The wooden and dimly lit Chinatown coffee shop is latte art champion Hiroshi Sawada’s second outpost after the Chicago original. The coffee shop is connected to restaurant Au Cheval Diner and is quite small, but people flock to it for its popular matcha and espresso drinks.
Tatler Tip: Order the Military Latte—made with matcha and espresso—or the Black Camo Latte—made with espresso and charcoal-roasted matcha.
33 Cortlandt Aly, New York, NY (Chinatown); sawadacoffee.com
7/15 Felix Roasting Co
This trendy coffee shop’s interiors could have been taken straight from a Wes Anderson movie set, with shades of emerald green and bubble gum pink adorning the walls and the lattes being equally sophisticated. Though US$14.5 may be the most you’ll ever spend on a latte, the signature Hickory Smoked S'mores Latte is worth the experience. If you want a nice refreshing alternative to a coffee, try the other popular drink: the Deconstructed Espresso Tonic.
Tatler Tip: Ask for the homemade nut milk and try out the pastries that come directly from Supermoon Bakery.
450 Park Avenue S, New York, NY (Midtown East); felixroastingco.com
8/15 Sey Coffee
Sey Coffee is not a place to grab-and-go. The coffee shop’s relaxed vibe will make you want to sit down and enjoy the minimalist space basking in natural light and decorated with pillars of plants. They roast their beans on site with the equipment you see in the back and do not accept tips, instead paying their employees a true living wage—another reason to love the coffee shop that much more.
Tatler Tip: Try the deconstructed latte or the Kenya Gititu pour-over.
18 Grattan Street, Brooklyn, NY (Bushwick); seycoffee.com
This western-inspired Japanese cafe—otherwise known as a kissaten—specialises in siphon coffee and allows customers to choose the beans and preferred brewing method. It can also work like a mixology bar, where customers state the flavour profiles they are looking for and the barista will get right to work. Once the sun goes down, the coffee shop turns into a late-night bar offering a variety of Japanese beers and sake.
Tatler Tip: Stay for lunch and try out the omurice that is supposed to be one of the best in the city.
214 E 10th St, New York, NY (East Village), hi-collar.com
10/15 Bluestone Lane
Australia brings its relaxed vibe to New York City with multiple locations of Bluestone Lane, a safe haven for customers to escape from the hustle and bustle of the hectic city. The airy cafe offers an impressive array of interesting sounding lattes (had you heard of a beet latte before?) as well as healthy bites. The espresso is quite strong, perfect for those that need a kick to last them throughout the day.
Tatler Tip: Come for the coffee, stay for the avocado toast.
Multiple locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn; bluestonelane.com
11/15 The Elk
Located on one of West Village’s quaint streets, The Elk is easy to miss if you’re not looking. The homey coffee shop is a local favourite and features a “general store” wall with local homeware and market items for sale. The space is small but laptops are limited to one section so that customers looking to catch up with friends or read a book have a place to sit.
Tatler Tip: Grab your coffee to go, as West Village is one of the best neighbourhoods to walk around in anyway.
128 Charles Street, New York, NY (West Village); theelknyc.com
12/15 White Noise Coffee Co
With its modern minimalist aesthetic and Japanese-influenced decor and menu, the coffee shop is a favourite among those looking for a large and cosy space to get some work done. The lofi music and bonsai trees add to the relaxed atmosphere, and people flock to the cafe for the oat milk matcha latte and Kyoto-style cold brew.
Tatler Tip: If you want a sweetener ask for their syrups, as they are made from scratch.
Multiple locations in Brooklyn and Queens; whitenoisecoffeeco.com
13/15 Patent Coffee
If you’re here for business, chances are you'll have to go to the Midtown area, which is the most prominent central business district in Manhattan. While you're running in between meetings, step into Patent Coffee to get your coffee fix. Hidden just down a flight of stairs, the unassuming little cafe is a grab-and-go type of place. The coffee shop offers seasonal coffee specials, delicious cookies and a line of CBD-infused drinks.
Tatler Tip: For a treat during the cold winter months, try the s’mores latte.
49 W 27th St, New York, NY (Flatiron); drinkpatent.com
14/15 Birch Coffee
Walking into Birch is like walking into a house full of friends. The staff is attentive and personal and the friendly atmosphere is the perfect way to start of the day. The coffee shop has its own little game where you can take a sign with an icebreaker question and put it on your table to start a conversation with a stranger. Coffee lovers keep coming back for the iced coffee and cold brew.
Tatler Tip: There is a little library nook for you to cosy up in.
Multiple locations in Manhattan; birchcoffee.com
15/15 La Colombe
La Colombe is one of the most iconic coffee shops in New York City. The coffee roaster has multiple locations around the city but the Soho location is an especially popular one. Don't be put off by the line of people out the door, it moves rather quickly and the coffee is worth the wait. Their coffee is so popular that visitors living abroad often stop by the coffee shop to purchase their coffee beans to bring back home.
Tatler Tip: Don't leave without trying the Draft latte, which comes in a can. A combination of foamy nitrous-infused milk and cold brew, this cold latte comes in multiple flavours.
Multiple locations in Manhattan; lacolombe.com
See also: The Best Street Style from New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2020