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Great coffee in Brooklyn

Can anyone give me some recommendations to some great places for coffee in Brooklyn? Preferably anywhere near Cobble Hill, Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights, and Dumbo. Thank you!

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  1. i think gorilla coffee and cafe regular (former is strong, latter is creamy) are not only the only coffee places i love in park slope but possibly the finest coffee places in nyc in my opinion.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sam1

      I agree. Gorilla has great iced coffee.

    2. gorilla -- not so good. over-roasted at best. steak is great when charred on the barbie, not coffee.

      3 Replies
      1. re: coffeegirl

        what's your recommendation then, coffegirl?

        1. re: coffeegirl

          i agree -- gorilla is bitter or over-roasted. and perhpas the worst part is poorly trained baristas.

          for brooklyn coffee, go to gimme coffee in williamsburg.

          in the city, there is 9th street espresso and joe the art of coffee. everything else i've tried in new york is pretty bad.

          1. re: coffeegirl

            I agree about Gorilla coffee. There are a bunch of places that I would pick over Gorilla. My favorite place rite now is Abraço but that is in Manhattan. In your are I would choose Ozzie's Coffee. Head over to Williamsburg and you'll have a bunch of great choices.

          2. tell me what you like and i will tell you where -- there's wonderful coffee in nyc if you take the time to look. it's hardly a secret.

            1 Reply
            1. re: coffeegirl

              well, the OP was looking for suggestions in downtown Brooklyn.
              I think Gorilla's coffee is pretty good but it is toward the dark end of the espresso spectrum.

            2. java joe in park slope is my favorite. and i'd second cafe regular.

              1. I agree that Gorilla is over-roasted and bitter.

                For some of the best beans anywhere, go to D'Amico's on Court St. in Carroll Gardens. They roast everything in the store, and the smell while it's cooking is divine. I haven't tried their prepared coffee, since I brew my own at home, but the quality and selection of their whole beans is outstanding.

                2 Replies
                1. re: DirtyMartini

                  Yes!!!!! there is no other coffee than D'Amico's. Mine is Red Hook blend. Good at home or brewed at the source.

                  1. re: redhookandrew

                    Absolutely - Red Hook Blend is the absolute last word in BoCoCa caffeine!

                2. I second Java Joe in the slope for buying beans. For ordering a cup I like the old slope standby Ozzies.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: magnetomotive

                    Really? Ozzies? I used to frequent the one in Bklyn Hts., what 8 years ago... and liked it, but when it moved out and I happened upon the one inPkSlope I was a tad disappointed. I have had a nice cup of regular blk coffee at the Red Hens on 8th btwn 11th and 12th.... don't know if it's still there, but scones were devilishly good.

                    1. re: magnetomotive

                      Ozzie's? Ughh. I don't know why they bother to roast their own beans when the end result is like that.

                    2. Remind me. Where is Cafe Regular?
                      And what about the new place on 4th Avenue, near St. Marks?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Sarah McC

                        Cafe Regular is on 11th st. at 5th ave.

                      2. Gorilla is definitely WAY over roasted, as cool as their sign and logo is. makes Starbucks seem lightly roasted by comparison. The Pillow Cafe in Fort Greene (Myrtle ave) makes fine coffee. Smooch isn't bad either on Carlton Ave. especially the ice coffee, although the vibe there is kind of annoying (over the top hipster/gentrification). For the Slope, check out the Egyptian cappucino at Mr. Falafal on 7th--also the best food for the money to be had in my opinion. the feta they use is unbelievable.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: realbreadplease

                          Yes, the coffee at Smooch is good but the service is so horrendous that some friends have started a pool about when it's going to go out of business. Also, the hipster attitude mentioned above extends to the illogic of the pricing there. I recently ordered an iced coffee--on the menu it's listed as costing $2.50. However, I was charged $3.50. When I inquired about why the price was a dollar more than what is listed on the menu, I was told that because I asked for a splash of half and half in my coffee, it was no longer iced cofee but an iced latte. i tried to explain to the hipster at the counter that a latte contains 1/3 coffee and 2/3 milk but he would not hear it. For the sin of requesting a dollop half and half in my coffee, I was forced to pay for a latte!

                        2. Gimme Coffee in Williamsburg is by far the borough's best place for coffee--incredible baristas and superb espresso roast (from their roastery in Ithica). I'd also recommend Cafe Grumpy in Greenpoint (though their coffee from Victrola Roasters in Seattle is not as rich and smooth as Gimme's) for their welcoming environment and well-trained baristas. Sadly, that's about it in terms of good coffee--most other coffee in the borough is over-roasted and poorly served (a good barista can make a crucial difference).

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: BGRose

                            so true... baristas matter just as much as the bean. if you're looking for a good latte, there ain't many options... you're better off with a drip or iced coffee.

                          2. The Victory on State and Hoyt is quite good. The dingy deli at Hoyt and Schermerhorn is also decent. Sometimes you want a $2.00 coffee, sometimes you don't.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ryan

                              I want to like the Victory, cause it's this cool little hole-in-the-wall kind of neighborhood place ... but the coffee just ain't that good.

                            2. I still think the best is to buy the fresh roast beans at D'Amico on Court Street near President, take it home, and brew it yourself over ice, but their in-house is also good. Try the Red Hook blend. For espresso drinks, I am still loyal to Fortunato Brothers in Williamsburg. So smooth! Those baristas know their business.

                              1. I still like Ozzie's for a quick cup. I can't stand Connecticut Muffin on 7th Ave. Naidre's is pretty good. The one by Park Circle is much better. I'm at the point where I brew my own. For beans I go to Leaf & Bean.

                                1. Gorilla is strong, well roasted, fair trade coffee. The beans are superb with a variety of roasts, very flavorful! I think roasting is a matter of preference; I can't agree that Gorilla is burnt or over roasted. Gimme kind of rocks too!!! CT muff and Ozzies have never done it for me.

                                  1. Wow! Thanks for the comprehensive list of places and opinions you all have mentioned. I will definetely give Brooklyn coffee a whirl, since I feel a bit jaded by the coffee in Manhattan and open my caffinated horizons to a whole new borough. Much appreciated.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: chocokitty

                                      If you haven't tried Joe's Art of Coffee on Waverly or 13th Street, you're definitely missing the best coffee in NYC (they use Barrington Roasters, whose beans are superb--I highly recommend ordering them online at http://www.barringtoncoffee.com. They'll be shipped the day they're roasted, and thus ready to be used a few days later).

                                      1. re: BGRose

                                        I've been drinking Joe's coffee for almost 5 years. It's not that I don't love their coffee but it's just that I want to try something different than the coffee in Manhattan.

                                    2. The new place on 12th and 6th in Park Slope, Red Horse, uses the same beans as Joe's in Manhattan--Barrington Coffee Co. So far, they seem to be doing a pretty good job with them too.

                                      I think this place is better, currently, than Cafe Regular, where I've received three totally botched espresso drinks in the past few months.

                                      Other places not mentioned in this thread: Oslo, on Roebling in Williamsburg; a very solid overall coffeehouse. And Verb Cafe on Bedford, which isn't that great, but has the best iced coffee in the city. It's cold brewed, and the difference is pretty clear.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: PAL

                                        They have free wireless too. I'm going to check it out after work.

                                        1. re: PAL

                                          Red Horse uses frozen coffee chunks for their ice cubes in their iced coffee. It's pretty awesome.

                                          1. re: PAL

                                            I went to Red Horse on Friday to experience the coffee ice cubes. I got an iced cappuccino - they gave me plain old ice cubes. I didn't complain b/c I thought I might be at the wrong place, but I see now that it was Red Horse that uses coffee cubes. Do they only use them in the straight up iced coffee? Also, my barrista was a newbie, maybe she didn't know.

                                            Despite the plain cubes, though, the iced cap was excellent. I recommend it.

                                            1. re: jillkg

                                              I guess they only use them for their straight up iced coffee. That's all I've gotten from them. I'm sure they would put them in any iced drinks if asked.

                                            2. re: PAL

                                              I don't know if it was you who recommended Red Horse, but if it was, THANK YOU. I have found my new default coffeehouse in Park Slope and never will have to step foot in Dunkin Donuts again. Great coffee.

                                            3. Dumbo: Almondine

                                              Cobble Hill: still looking for one

                                              Downtown BK: good coffee does not exist.
                                              someone please open a decent place.
                                              you will make good $, given the D'D and
                                              Starbucks are your competition.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: kvn

                                                Agreed! I work there and the coffee situation is DIRE! I sometimes get coffee from the health food store Perelandra, which has strong, full roasted organic/free trade coffee -- I go right when they're making it and it's great.

                                                1. re: mrb

                                                  I buy groceries there, good to know!

                                              2. Has anyone tried Lonelyville on Prospect Park South? Of course, I love the decor and vibe, and I thought the ice coffee was good. But I'm no coffee expert.

                                                1. i put my vote in for cafe regular!

                                                  1. As for Brooklyn heights, I think Siggy's (health food restaurant on henry) has surprisingly good coffee. Certainly the best cup I've had in that coffee-challenged 'hood, tho the iced coffee has been hit or miss. FYI: They use fresh roaasted Jim's organic beans and are sip in or take-out.

                                                    1. Anyone here home roast their beans? I'm hoping my roommates will leave town in late August. Maybe I can experiment then. I used to live across the street from a coffee roasting company. Just 24 hrs after a new roast, I noticed a loss of complexity in the flavor. I'm looking to reproduce the fresh roast taste at home. Where can I get unroasted coffee beans?

                                                      1. Cafe Regular has great coffee and the best hot chocolate I've ever had.
                                                        Gorilla is a bold Full City roast, but much more flavorful than Starbucks. They rotate through their bean styles daily, so you can get stuck with a bean you don't particularly like. The Brazil beans are very smooth and complex, and probably their best catch-all.
                                                        And I agree that Gimme in Wmsbrg has the best baristas.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: rdowd

                                                          "And I agree that Gimme in Wmsbrg has the best baristas."

                                                          Yeah...when they're not too busy strumming their guitars or chatting with their friends to serve you.

                                                        2. checkout Tilly's in fort greene

                                                          1. I'm not a fan of very bitter coffee, but I like Mule on 4th near St. Marks. Course their pastries might bias my opinion just a tad...

                                                            1. Which place has the best vibe?

                                                              1. Having moved to NYC from the kingdom of coffe snobbery (aka Seattle) a year ago, I've been struggling a bit with the general crapulence of the coffee here.

                                                                Fortunately, I've found a couple of places that are pretty decent. But still looking for real genius coffee. Thanks for the local tips. I will be trying some of those out.

                                                                In Brooklyn, Heights coffee on Flatbush near 7th is good. I find their coffee flavor a bit timid, so I order my drink with a double shot and less milk.

                                                                A big complaint for me in general is this city's lack of milk heating skills. The foam should be velvety, and the temperature should be no hotter than you can drink the instant the cup hits the counter. Espresso is for immediate enjoyment, and should not be nuclear-heated enough to survive a half-hour subway commute.

                                                                For beans, I've been buying mine at Muddy Waters on Vanderbilt around Park Place. They don't roast them there (they are roasted in Brooklyn somewhere). The Ethiopian Peaberry is quite nice. The coffee in-house is decent.

                                                                For you interested in roasting your own, dunno about in NYC, but you can order the green beans online at http://www.espressovivace.com/retail....
                                                                Vivace is the finest cafe and roasteria in my hometown. Lots of coffee info and tips on their website. Haven't really tried their beans at home, but their coffee in the cafe in as good as it gets. A real art-form.

                                                                Oh, in the city, Cafe Pick-Me-Up on 9th and A makes very good coffee. Ruby's on Mulberry near Spring (? I think) makes a good cup. Get the flat white. Nice coffee to milk ration. yes!

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: senorpepe

                                                                  Heights Coffee, Cafe Pick-me-up, and Muddy Waters are nothing special...several of the places mentioned above in this long thread, however (Gimmee, Gorilla, 9th Street, Grumpy, Joe the Art of Coffee [best for latte's and milk temperature regulation], etc.) are almost good enough to satisfy a Pacific Northwesterner (I put in a year in Portland). Hope they can at least improve your coffee situation, senorpepe.

                                                                  Outside the friendly confines of Places That Care, try telling the barista not to scald the milk and to make a west-coast style dry cappucino with extra foam.

                                                                2. DUMBO.... don't even know the real name of the place, we always call it Anna's, the art supplies cafe has good coffee, as well as great soups and panini.

                                                                  1. If you can head to Williamsburg we now have some very good options for a well-prepared latte. Oslo on Havemeyer (and now on Bedford) makes an excellent and careful latte. St. Helen's, not far from the river, has a great latte, worth the wait if it is packed, but best to go to their garden out back on a weekday afternoon if you can, when it is quiet. There's a little place called Butcher Shop on Grand, just east of Bedford, in an empty lot, and they do coffees during the summer - they use Porto Rico beans but it's fresh as the roaster is down the street. And to my taste the best ice coffee in Williamsburg is at Verb on Bedford in the Mini Mall - Porto Rico beans again but cold brewed.

                                                                    1. We drink French Roast Sumatran almost exclusively, and do it up in the Cuisinart Grind and Brew, on the very strong side. I find the Tea Lounge beans to be the deepest, oiliest, richest all around most flavorful.
                                                                      Am I the only person here who buys beans from Tea Lounge? Haven't done a lot of the places noted above recently, our alternatives have been Fairway or D'Amico's. My wife greatly dislikes Gorilla. I like it, but it's different.
                                                                      In general it seems most places charge 8-10 bucks for a pound of Sumatran beans, while Tea Lounge is 12. Is that why it's avoided, or is it the frequently heinous culture? Most of the employees (at least at 10th st) are nice and fun, but few know how to kick it in gear during rush hour or when I'm double parked and getting the wife to work at Methodist. And I don't ever have to hear Kind of Blue or Uprising ever again.

                                                                      1. i don't know why everyone is so down on gorilla - the vibe is a little intense but the fair trade organic fresh roasted coffee is fab. of course, i like a deep dark roast.
                                                                        you could buy beans at porto rico. depending on the roast/bean they can be good.
                                                                        i found a surprisingly good cup of deli coffee (which is another breed) - cold coffee too rather than iced - at a deli in cobble hill - bonafide's - it's on henry st. - pretty far in towards carrol gardens.
                                                                        and a good strong cup of dominican coffee in washington heights can do the trick too.
                                                                        i think - in general - nyc is not the place for coffee, honestly.

                                                                        1. It'd be a trek for you, but I like (though I can't pronounce) Gulluoglu, 1985 Coney Island Avenue (Avenue P). Very good turkish and Americano style coffee, but the big draw is the baklava, which is flown in regularly from Istanbul.

                                                                          1. I really like Pillow Cafe on Myrtle and Adelphi. I know the owners so I am biaised, but I only went there for the first time a few days ago, and I really loved their coffee. I had a hummus and avocado sandwich and LOVED it. I think this might be my new place to hang out.

                                                                            1. For non-gourmet, regular Joe coffee I like 7th Avenue Donuts on 7th Aenue by 9th Street. They have a heavy rotation of fresh coffe every 15-30 minutes, it has a nice flavor and goes well with their in-house made donuts. Sometimes the newsstand/diner on the corner of Flatbush and 7th Ave. makes it good. Other than that I enjoy my rare cappuccino at Tomasso in Bensonhurst.

                                                                              1. The read in williamsburg is a cozy place with great coffee. They have some real stoners working there who are a little slow on the service :) But the coffee is great. Some nice pastries and cookies as well.

                                                                                1. I think the best roasted beans to take home are from Ozzie's. They do a great job, and I particularly like their Organic Ethiopian. I often give it as gifts to coffee drinking friends, and it usually recieves raves.

                                                                                  I am not particularly fond of their house blend, and when I order a cup from them, I usually have one of their daily roasts.

                                                                                  I find Gorilla coffee to be over roasted, too similar to Starbucks. I don't really like Gorilla coffee personally, but I seem to be in the minority on that one.

                                                                                  1. the nytimes has an article about artisnal coffee in nyc - most of it in greenpoint/williamsburg. seems worth checking out - i definitely will!


                                                                                    1. Fort greene/Clinton Hill/Bedstuy: There's a new place with amazing coffee called OUTPOST LOUNGE. It's on Fulton Street between Grand & Classon Aves. It's the best in the neighborhood and it's all organic and fair trade.

                                                                                      1. I'm also (in regards to my above reply) a big fan of Castillo de Jauga on Flatbush and Carlton. They make excellent Spanish coffee as well as regular. Their cakes are great as well. I have had no problems/hassles sitting down at a table there and ordering only cake and coffee or just coffee.

                                                                                        1. I've been on a latte kick lately, and I have to say that Oslo in Williamsburg is my current fave, followed by Cafe Regular (La Colombe Torrefaction beans from Philly), Gimme! Coffee, and Cafe Grumpy (Counter Culture beans). I find Gorilla to be too "burnt" in all of their roasts.

                                                                                          For just drip coffee I really like The Victory's (State and Hoyt in Downtown Brooklyn) and Cafe Regular (they use La Colombe for this, too).

                                                                                          1. alright it's like this...
                                                                                            NY coffee is inherently mediocre due to the hardness of NYC tap water. this is a fact, and keeping this in mind, here's the breakdown...
                                                                                            guerilla coffee...hard roasted in the pacific northwest style. i like it, but in oregon for example it would be a solid but average cup of coffee.
                                                                                            joe...their everyday roast is fine but uninteresting. their a.m. lighter/featured roasts tend to be better. i've had a few cups that i actually thought were good.
                                                                                            d'amico...ha ha, please.
                                                                                            gimme coffee...iced is good. hot, ehh.
                                                                                            naidres...ok, but always a little sour.

                                                                                            i think that's about everything of interest. you really can't brew good coffee in NY. the water's too hard and it will always be sour. you can try to cover it up with a harder roast but then the coffee is a little too bitter for most palates. on a realted note, you CAN NOT MAKE A GOOD CAFE AU LAIT WITH STEAMED MILK!!!!! there's only one place in NY i've found that does it right. it's a cuban resaurant deep in queens. the milk is scorched in a pot on the stove, the milk solids are just browned in the bottom of the pot resulting in an ethereal sweetness and depth. that is how you make cafe au lait, and when it's done right it's sublime. when you steam the milk it's like trying to brown something in a microwave. you managed to get it hot....but that's about it.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: eznice

                                                                                              I have always figured that the coffee sucks because people don't know what they're doing. High-end coffee shops usually make it too strong and greasy spoons make it too weak. I have found Castillo De Juaga on Park Pl & Carlton makes a good variety, Cousin John's is good, not great. And 7th Avenue Donuts seems to be consistently good. Egg, in Williamsburg makes a great French press.I can certainly make a decent French press. Which places have the appropriate water where most of the places you hit gives you a great Cup O' Joe?

                                                                                              Cousin John's
                                                                                              70 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

                                                                                            2. where is this place in queens?

                                                                                              1. The coffee at Dizzys at 8th Av and 9th St is good.

                                                                                                819 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215