Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Oct 29, 2001 10:50 AM

Good coffee in NY???

  • g

Ok, after 3 years I've been unable to find good coffee (liquid or beans) in NY. Charbucks can't be the only option! I've tried Oren's Daily Roast and Guy and Gallard (both not very good, although Oren's was ok).

I'm from SF, and I'm looking for a place like Peet's or Spinelli (if anyone knows of them). I've been mail ordering from Peet's (Spinelli is gone!). Is there anywhere in NYC that roasts their own coffee and knows what they're doing?

Please help!


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. c
    caffeine hound

    peet's has a branch in img's cafe, an insurance company @49th between mad & park. they're a mon-fri 9-5 operation. call 411 for img's cafe tel #. if you call by wednesday, you can place an order for beans which will arrive by friday of that week with NO delivery charges. img does not get ALL of peets, just representative beans: french roast, but no italian espresso. whenever i go to boston, i pick up more peets, & have BEGGED them to open a nyc store. they say we're next on "the list" (whatever that means...).

    5 Replies
    1. re: caffeine hound

      There is nothing in NY to compare with Peet's. I buy my beans from Oren's and rarely buy coffee out anymore. To my taste, Oren's is a lot better than Porto Rico, but still far from ideal. I was riding my bike around DUMBO in Brooklyn recently, which is very trendy but at the same time has plenty of warehouse space on offer. It would be ideal, I thought, for a coffee fanatic to establish a roaster, run a small cafe, and sell beans to other coffee houses, etc. This city desperately needs a small, fanatical roaster.
      Has anyone here tried La Colombe Torrefaction in Philadelphia? It's a small roasting house that runs a brilliant cafe near Ritenhouse Sqaure. Their specialty is espresso and its offshoots, so they only do blends. But if you love espresso, this is the best source on the east coast. They will deliver phone orders for a reasonable shipping charge.
      If you visit their Philly cafe, with its huge windows, spare decor, and devilishly good espresso drinks, you will be ruined here in the land of Star$$$$.

      1. re: tom


        As a Philly Chowhound and caffeine addict I am a big devotee of La Colombe. The finest restaurants in New York including Le Bernardin and Daniel serve this Philadelphia coffee, so that has to say something. Mangia Caterers at 40 Wall Street, 16 E. 48th or 50 W. 57th are the only Manhattan retail outlets for La Colombe beans. They are the BEST I have had. I've had Peet's coffee also, but only once or twice as a treat at someone's home that had just brought some back from S.F. so I can't say I grew up drinking it and have extensive comparative experience. However, the La Colombe beans are the best I've had that are readily available to me. I'm hooked!


        1. re: Katie Benes

          I also think La Colombe roasts the finest bean that's readily available on the east coast. However, I had very mixed experiences at its cafe near Rittenhouse Square while working nearby. It was probably a 50/50 chance that the brewing lived up to the bean. Nevertheless, those beans are great, I work near a Mangia so I can purchase them, and any brewing problems are my own.

          1. re: opjk

            As is the case anywhere - you get what you pay for. While the full time salaried professionals that work for La Colombe are brilliant and can pull the best cup of espresso I've had in North America, the other 50% of the time you will get a part time barrista working their way through art school or their latest post-adolescent crisis at just over minimum wage. Need I say more?

          2. re: Katie Benes

            As an ex-Philly (now NYC) Chowhound I agree that La Colombe is great. Their Corsica roast is one of the best daily brews that I have had.

            It's a tough call, but I am still partial to Torreo in Philadelphia.

            I can't find anything here in NYC that matches either Torreo or La Colombe. I tried Oren's recently and was not impressed at all. IMO, Porto Rico is the best one can get around here.


      2. well, nothing beats peets. i used to live in sf and i've actually had dreams since moving in which i'm drinking a peets latte and i wake up sad. oh so sad. i mail-ordered beans from peets for a while, but the cost is prohibitive. plus, it's just inconvenient. i now buy all my coffee at porto rico. there are three (i think) shops in downtown manhattan. one is on st. mark's place just east of 2nd ave. there's another on bleeker somewhere. it's pretty good stuff. much better than anything else i've found in the area. still not as good as peets. but give it a try. i'd be interested in someone else's comparison of the two.

        1. For drinking coffee try:
          St. Ambroius (Madison-77/78 Streets) They were recently taken over by Fauchon, so they have good pastries.

          To Buy beans:
          I agree with Porto Rico, I have tried the branch at St. Mark's place and they have a pretty large selection.

          Good luck!

          1. d
            Dan Saltzstein

            for purchase, Porto Rico is my place of choice. A nice selection at pretty good prices (teas too).

            For a cup, I love Simon Sips, a kiosk on the north-east corner of Bryant Park (42nd and 6th Ave.) Not much else that does it for me. Timothy's is ok, but definitely no Peet's. Frankly, I'll take Dunkin' Donuts over Starbucks...


            1. This is probably a stupid question, but why do you need it roasted in-house? I recall buying Illy beans somewhere (Porto Rico has the ground stuff)... and their roast is superior, imo, to anything I've had roasted here. Another coffee I really liked, surprisingly enough, is the unbelievably cheap stuff labelled all in Spanish you can get in bodegas. It doesn't last very long (pre-ground, so once you open the bag, you've got a day or three), but as a mathematician that never is a problem for me :-) I really liked the Supremo brand, if I remember correctly.

              I never got beans at Oren's, but I don't like their [liquid] coffee very much. Perhaps it was just the employee I got, but the espresso had no crema at all, and the drip coffee usually tastes burnt to me. Then again, I've had mostly disappointing coffee experiences in New York. Am I being too picky?

              3 Replies
              1. re: Sam

                I second the Spanish stuff from the bodega - my favorite is Cafe Bustello (also pre-ground, in a sealed "brick"). I love the flavor - very rich and not bitter or burnt tasting, which is how I find most gourmet coffee. And incredibly cheap.

                1. re: Liana

                  I am on board for both Bustello and Illy -- Bustello got me through college; and Illy is what they brew at Ceci Cela, my favorite place to get a cup. I've never brewed Illy myself though. Usually these days I buy beans from Gourmet Garage.

                  1. re: Jeremy Osner

                    I'm no coffee expert, but I've found the coffee at Once Upon a Tart, near Prince and Sullivan, to be consistently good. It's strong but doesn't have that burnt taste you sometimes get at you-know-where. This place also has wonderful scones and muffins.