The Best New York Cafes

The 21 Best New York Cafes

Receiving a warm smile from someone you just met is a great way to start the day. You can make coffee at home. However, getting outside and meeting friendly neighbors is a much better and invigorating way to begin your mornings. Get up early, go for a walk - do your morning routine! Further, get your caffeine fix in the best New York cafes and say hi to your favorite baristas. 

With so many options in NYC, what should you choose? We created an easy guide ranking the best New York cafes. These are based on ambiance, staff, local community, fast wifi, the variety of drinks, and rankings by their peers. Most importantly, the most important thing is the quality of their coffee.

Coffee Project NY

Know what's in your cup! This best New York cafe roasts its beans in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Meanwhile, their milk is from Battenkill Creamery (the #1 highest quality milk in New York State). Coffee Project NY also sources its pastries locally with Gluten-Free options.

What are the people saying? - Great cortado, inexpensive, and always super fast and friendly service.

McNulty's Tea & Coffee Co.

Like a journey into another age. This cafe is located in the heart of New York’s Greenwich Village. It is the best New York cafe timelessly preserving the aura of a century-long gone. Upon entering McNulty's Tea & Coffee Co., the many aromas from across the globe will delight your senses.

Sacks of coffee and chests of tea with obscure markings from far away lands are also visible everywhere. Even the bins, chests, and scales they store and handle these products date back to the previous century.

What are the people saying? - I get all my teas and coffee beans here. There's a spectacular selection of loose teas from all over the world and a wide variety of coffee. They even have fair trade coffee beans.

Abraco

Inspired by Spanish and Italian bars. From day one, Abraco, as one of the best New York cafes. It aims to create a bright, lively environment beyond its small walls. They love food, coffee, and music. They mostly use organic and seasonal ingredients, and they roast their coffee with enthusiasm. Moreover, every day Abraco radiates the vibrancy of the music that inspired its name.

What are the people saying? - A huge fan of their cured olive cookies and cortados. This place is a sentimental favorite of mine; as the East Village changes, I can always rely on the strong coffee and talented baristas at Abraço. I'm sure to visit every time I'm in the neighborhood.

Joe Coffee

Initial layout of Joe Coffee
Photo taken from Joe Coffee

Joe Coffee began as a singular specialty coffee house in manhattan’s west village. Initially, they had the simple vision of brewing the highest quality. It offers unique coffees and thus, serves them with unsurpassed hospitality and knowledge. They also worked alongside some of the most renowned domestic and international roasteries. With the launch of their own roasting operations in Red Hook, Brooklyn, they now roast 100% of their own single-origin and blended offerings.

What are the people saying? - The coffee, the service, and the atmosphere at Joe's is second to none! I was in a rush, but I wish I could have stayed around longer to see what else they had to offer!

Think Coffee

Think Coffee devotes itself to providing fairness in the coffee business, from farmer to customer. All of the coffee they purchase comes directly from farmers they know. They often travel to ensure that the land on which their coffee grows contains no chemicals and the workers are cared for. Moreover, they frequently conceive and implement development projects with their farmers. At home in NYC, they donate 10% of their after-tax profits to local community organizations and compost all of their waste.

What are the people saying? - Great space for relaxing, chatting or working. Lively atmosphere, yummy beverages and snacks, great beer and wine. Despite being a huge coffee shop, seats are limited. Thus, getting a table can be hard at times.

The Chipped Cup

Taking inspiration from the Victorian Tea and Coffee Houses of old, the Chipped Cup aims to be a place where the diverse population of Hamilton Heights can come mingle over one of their delicious Espresso Bar drinks or sit quietly plugged in using their free wi-fi to get work done. Furthermore, if sunshine is what you crave: step out into their back garden patio, a tribute to the Victorians' love of plants and flowers.

What are the people saying? - While vacationing in New York City, I stumbled upon the Chipped Cup purely accidentally (I stayed three blocks away). Early in my trip, I passed a nearby Dunkin Donuts and thought, "No, you'll find a better place if you walk a little further." Boy, I'm glad I did. The Chipped Cup had an inviting and laid-back atmosphere. The staff was always smiling and seemed to genuinely care about their customers and their coffee requirements.

Jack's Stir Brew Coffee

Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee is a coffeehouse with 5 locations in New York City. Owner Jack Mazzola opened the first location in the historic Greenwich Village on W. 10th Street in 2003. It was also the first Organic, Fair Trade, Shade-Grown coffee shop in the city. The coffee is prepared using the patented Stir Brew method.

What are the people saying? - Great coffee and muffins. The service was wonderful and just a great place to be.

Irving Farm Coffee Roasters

Irving Farm Coffee Roasters was founded in 1996 by two college friends, Steve and David, when they opened a tiny neighborhood café on Irving Place in Gramercy Park. Soon after, they started roasting out of a repurposed carriage house in Dutchess County, and nearly two decades later, Irving Farm has become one of New York's most beloved small home town coffee chains with six cafés, a thriving wholesale business, a brand new Roastery & Tasting Room, and a green coffee buying program that emphasizes direct relationships with farmers, environmentally sustainable practices, and a philosophy of quality over quantity.

What are the people saying? - Friendly and fast service. Great Americano. Chill vibes. Good for reading and doing work.

Gimme! Coffee

In the state of New York, Gimme! Coffee is a small chain of espresso bars with locations in Ithaca, Trumansburg, Brooklyn, and Manhattan. Additionally, Gimme!

Coffee additionally offers a wholesale service for coffee and espresso establishments.

The New York Times recognized Gimme! New York City's best espresso bars serve coffee. In 2011 and 2012, Gimme! Coffee received a Good Food Award in the coffee category. Roast Magazine chose to Gimme! The winner of their 2013 Roaster of the Year competition is coffee.

What are the people saying? - Amazing espresso! The baristas are really passionate about their craft and will discuss recommendations without being condescending. All of the beans are really good; just ask which is best for your preferred brew method.

Ninth Street Espresso

One of Ninth Street Espresso's locations
Photo taken from Ninth Street Espresso

In 2001, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Ninth Street Espresso, one of the best New York cafes, established the city’s first quality-driven, specialty coffee bar. Moreover, the idea was to serve the highest quality coffee, plain and simple.

Since its inception, Ninth Street Espresso has set the bar for quality in NYC and throughout the United States. Their focused approach and streamlined menu have become the standard for specialty coffee shops throughout the country.

What are the people saying? - Limited seating, but beautiful location. The espresso was solid. The shot was artisan level. I had to request water with the shot. Overall a great experience.

La Colombe Coffee Roasters

This is often considered one of the best specialty coffee companies in New York, known for its ethical, long-term trade practices with growers. La Colombe also owns and operates four cafes in NYC. The cafes are also a window to their national wholesale business, which maintains thousands of specialized coffee programs for many of the world’s finest restaurants and cafes.

What are the people saying? - Colombe is one of the best espressos in the city. I'm Italian. If you are looking for traditional Italian espresso - dark roast, nutty, and well-balanced - this is the place to go. I guess I'm not into dessert coffees, but they have a large selection of lattes and similar drinks. For me, the best thing about Colombe is that they brew espresso correctly (as opposed to some other espresso places where they use medium roast). I use their exceptional beans in my home espresso machine.

Birch Coffee

What started as a concept and two people's desire to love what they did for a living has rapidly evolved into so much more. The idea to provide people with their morning cup of coffee has evolved into fostering a culture of idea generation and fostering a local gathering place. Moreover, giving back to and serving the community are central to the Birch philosophy.

Birch Coffee is committed to being the ultimate coffee shop, a coffee community, and not just another local coffee shop.

What are the people saying? - Holy moly, this place is genius! I'm in love with the toasted almond tea right now, and every other drink I've had at Birch has been amazing! I also enjoy the calming atmosphere and ambiance.

Brooklyn Roasting Company

The Brooklyn Roasting Company is committed to offering the best quality Fair Trade, Organic, and Rainforest Alliance-certified coffees and espressos. Also, they select their ingredient, green coffees from the world’s most renowned coffee-growing regions, and hand roast them each day in the heart of Brooklyn.

And…they're writing a book on Coffee Counter Intelligence, cooperating with the city's top baristas to create "the bomb" espresso. In their fully-equipped roasting and cupping lab, they also offer intensive training in the service of espresso-based beverages and private tastings by appointment.

What are individuals saying? - The first time I visited Dumbo, I ordered the Ethiopian Natural, which was naturally sweet but not excessively so. I prefer black coffee and am not a fan of heavily (over-roasted) roasted coffees. The hotel's setting, location, and staff are all excellent. A requirement for visitors. Essential if you drink coffee every day.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters

Stumptown Coffee Roasters started with the goal of doing things differently, with a vision that’s always been a little left-of-center, and with a focus squarely on quality. They also source the best coffees in the world and strive to maintain transparent, quality-based relationships with farmers along the way.

Moreover, from plant to portafilter, they pay homage to these folks through their own fervent attention to detail at every step, quality control in their cupping labs, meticulous roasting profiles, and extensive barista education. They are also very committed to the well-being of everyone they work with, from the farmers and the communities they live in, to their employees and communities in NYC.

What are the people saying? - Stumptown is in my top five coffee spots (they're all pretty tied), except Stumptown's advantage?...NITRO BREWED COFFEE! Yum, yum, YUM! They've got a good selection of goodies as well. Go check them out.

Cafe Grumpy

Coffee shop in New York CIty
Photo taken from Cafe Grumpy

At Café Grumpy, they like to keep things simple and focus on quality. Serving their favorite coffees from roasters around the country was a great way to introduce NYC to single-cup brewing. Every year, they also strive to connect their customers more closely with the coffees they source by maintaining direct relationships with their producing partners around the world. Their mission is to serve you a cup that is both delicious and socially responsible, highlighting the unique characteristics of each coffee they roast.

What are the people saying?- Love this coffee house. Delicious coffee. Speedy and super kind service. And plenty of seating both indoors and out. Great place to get work done. You will be far from being grumpy if you pursue to go here.

Lenox Coffee

Lenox Coffee roasts its beans in Red Hook and gets its milk supply from Battenkill Valley Creamery in upstate New York. It has been serving a small menu of breakfast and lunch items, as well as beer and wine, in its sunny venue in Central Harlem since 2011. The Good Batch, Colson Patisserie, and a rotating cast of renowned New York bakeries provide the pastries.

What are the people saying? - If you enjoy coffee, please stop by and sample their freshly brewed beverages. It will certainly keep you awake. Additionally, it has complimentary WiFi and is comfortable for all seasons, purposes, and meetings.

Variety Coffee Roasters

Variety Coffee Roasters has grown and developed: Variety, one of the city's early coffee pioneers, has a newish Upper East Side cafe with wood paneling and beautiful lighting. The original boutiques in Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick are fittingly funky, while the Chelsea and Park Slope sites are just as urbane. Variety began roasting coffee in 2014, and its rich, chocolaty roasts have become well-known in NYC!

What are the people saying? - Their lucky shot beans are so fantastic for home brewing that we've been ordering them by mail for years. The best aspect of Variety is that it is a rare coffee shop that actually brews coffee, despite the excellent beans. Each table has an electrical outlet and the seating is charming. It's wonderful to see a coffee shop with a place to work for those who wish to linger.

Sweetleaf

Sweetleaf's original location is comfortably full. The Rocket Fuel, a cold brew laced with chicory, maple syrup, and milk, and the Voodoo Child, a Vietnamese-style iced coffee blended with sweetened condensed milk, are also two speciality iced coffee drinks worth trying, both a far cry from the syrupy concoctions sold at larger coffee chains. Every location has its own personality: The mothership is a Greenpoint roastery-café (159 Freeman Street), the Queens Plaza coffee bar (2810 Jackson Avenue) is geared for speed, and the Long Island City cafe also serves beer and cocktails (4615 Center Boulevard).

What are the people saying? -This is a cute little coffee shop with no seating and kickass brews. I could tell their coffees were brewed with coffee beans of superior quality. Just a few sips gently woke me up. There was no bitter taste at all. They sell a lot of merch, including fresh locally roasted beans. I'll definitely be back to try their other drinks and to pick up some beans to brew on my own at home!

Bluestone Lane

Bluestone Lane offers a refined product proposition dedicated to producing the highest quality coffee and complementary foods, delivered engagingly. Thus, as one of the best New York cafes in town, they are focused on creating environments where customers are immersed in the experience and leave feeling like they are a local.

Bluestone Lane Coffee is inspired by Melbourne, Australia, a renowned coffee culture center where premium coffee is a part of living.

What are individuals saying? - Fantastic, friendly staff from Australia If you purchase a bag of coffee beans (for home brewing), you receive a complimentary beverage. I'm unsure if this deal restricts you to specific drinks. I have not yet tried their breakfasts, but I have seen them and they look delicious.

For more about Bluestone Lane see our interview with Nicholas Stone

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