My first encounter searching for good coffee in New York years ago left me feeling very, very confused. No one had any idea what a flat white was, I had no idea what creamer was and I had never bought filtered coffee before. On my most recent trip, I was determined to find proper-great-not-just-good-coffee. This was New York City, I thought to myself, if I can find a hot dog wrapped in a pretzel, I can find worthy coffee. After a month of searching, I found four places you have to try if you’re a coffee lover, aficionado and/or refuse to accept anything filtered.
The Best Coffee in New York
Home of the only flat white I managed to find, Toby’s Estate is a speciality coffee roaster hailing from Australia. Their first cafe opened in Williamsburg (a beautiful open space with a floor-to-ceiling window) and they now have locations in the Flat Iron district and West Village. Each order is made with less milk and froth and served in a smaller cup, compared to the Aussie-standard. Definitely worth trying if you’re after an American-take on ground coffee beans.
Blue Bottle Coffee
Blue Bottle is known for their dedication to freshly brewed beans – every cup bought is made less than 48 hours out of the roaster, when the flavour is at its most peak. The Brooklyn establishment is buzzing with people during the weekend – both visits had lines at the door and every seat taken. But the hype is definitely worth it. The coffee is rich and full of flavour, without overstepping into bitter territory. If you’re keen to try a Blue Bottle signature, opt for their drip coffee (as pictured), a simple method drawing out the coffee’s best qualities.
A popular spot scattered around Manhattan, Joe’s matches the perfect amount of milk and froth for a distinguishable latte and cappuccino. There’s a great cosy one just before the High Line on 23rd with a bench out the front, making for the perfect people-watching spot in West Village. A little pricer than the New York average, you’ll pay around $4.20 for a regular.
After a month of searching and hitting a couple of dead ends (I had great hopes for Ground Support but it hit the bitter scale way too high), Starbucks became pretty damn good. The service is always warm and friendly, they have super-fun-festive drinks (like the pictured salted caramel mocha) and free WiFi – hoorah! There is a certain magic about Starbucks that you don’t realise until you feel stranded in the middle of a -2 degree Manhattan and need an immediate refuge. Mostly because they’re littered on every corner and after a while, American coffee just doesn’t seem that bad.