HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
What's your latest food quest? Get great advice
TELL US

Mud Truck vs. Starbucks

guttergourmet May 22, 2007 08:53 AM

Forget about the fact that Starbuck has become the Walmart/Barnes & Noble of coffee houses and has driven out of business countless landmarked mom & pop cafes particularly in the Village. the Mud truck is simply better at half the price, n'est pas?

  1. m
    Mazzer May 22, 2007 09:37 AM

    I find their drip coffee to be over-roasted, but not as bad as Starbucks. Their espresso is much better. There is a bit of inconsistency between the various locations, but in general, yes (oui), I will make a bee-line for the Mud truck when I am near one.

    1. r
      randymac88 May 22, 2007 10:01 AM

      Sometimes I have trouble with the MUD. Often times I just want half and half, and they end up steaming the milk and then putting it in...I think that changes it and makes it not quite so rich. Probably for most this would be an upgrade, but not for me. I also think that their beans have a "sweeter" flavor that I don't like quite as much as the Bux.

      But then there are other times when its awesome. So, i guess the bottom line would be that there's some inconsistency.

      2 Replies
      1. re: randymac88
        DarthEater May 22, 2007 10:10 AM

        I'm pretty sure the barista wont mind if you request for your milk not to be steamed.

        1. re: DarthEater
          r
          randymac88 May 22, 2007 02:52 PM

          Well, usually I say "just some half and half" and they'll go ahead and just dump in the steamed before I can say otherwise. Yes, it would seem simple but for some reason it's more difficult that you might think. Maybe because I haven't had my coffee yet.

          Now regardless, not sure if anyone's tried 9th Ave Espresso (9th betw. C+D), its way, way, way above anything I've had in the east village when it comes to lattes and espresso drinks. By a mile.

      2. m
        mellowyaelo May 22, 2007 10:05 AM

        I ended up just not drinking coffee in america unless I have verified that the shop is really on a higher level. But I have never heard of this mud truck before, I will give it a shot

        4 Replies
        1. re: mellowyaelo
          m
          Mazzer May 22, 2007 10:37 AM

          mellowyaelo, I would try the actual Mud storefront first, which is on E 9th between 1st and 2nd Aves, closer to 2nd. But Mud is really just a funky coffee shop that pays more attention to coffee than most—it's not a place that's really religious about coffee.

          The trucks I know about are at Union Sq, Astor Pl, Sheridan Sq, and on Wall St near Pearl.

          1. re: Mazzer
            wleatherette May 22, 2007 12:17 PM

            beware - the union square truck is kind of erratic in terms of presence. i'm never sure if it's going to be there, which is a bummer since i love their iced coffee.

            1. re: Mazzer
              m
              mellowyaelo May 30, 2007 10:30 AM

              thanks mazzer. I appreciate the advice. I am not like those holy grail of coffee searchers but I like to have a good cup in the morning and its tough to find here.
              thanks again

              1. re: mellowyaelo
                k
                kathryn May 30, 2007 12:42 PM

                I'm not sure if they are the Holy Grail of Coffee but try the Roasting Plant on the Lower East Side. They are coffee worshipers and the beans are super-fresh, as they do their own roasting.

                http://www.roastingplant.com/

          2. m
            maxine May 22, 2007 10:58 AM

            I hate to say this because I want to love the Mud Truck. But I find the coffee too bitter. When I am at Astor Place I usually end up in one of the many Starbucks where I know I can get my coffee exactly as I like.

            Yes it is a big buisness but they are not Walmart. They treat there emplyees well and give a lot to good causes. And I wouldn't really say that small coffeehouses are being driven out. In fact, with a new Joe's (my favorite coffee), a new Gray Dog, and an exxprsso place on 9th, all recently opened or soon to be, I would say that Starbucks may have actually had something to do with the burgening coffee culture to New York.

            1. s
              stuartlafonda May 22, 2007 12:24 PM

              The Sheridan Square truck is better then Starbucks, but not really oustanding. It is good value and I get my coffee from the truck and then a choc croissant from Claude just a block away.

              1. minkdreads May 22, 2007 02:45 PM

                Does MUD offer soymilk? I always walk past that orange truck by Sheridan Square at Christopher street, but I've never really thought about trying it. BTW- I am a Starbucksaholic, but am interested in trying new coffee shops (and trucks, lol).

                1 Reply
                1. re: minkdreads
                  h
                  hbeeman Jul 25, 2007 11:58 AM

                  Yes, MUD has soy

                2. m
                  marlie202 May 22, 2007 02:51 PM

                  Mud Truck rocks--they have one at Union Square too

                  1. k
                    kittyboots May 22, 2007 04:08 PM

                    I adore the Mud Truck, and mornings where I cross Astor Pl before they've arrived are always off on a sour note. Without the Mud Truck the only option at that hour is Starbucks & not only do I hate supporting the suburban corporate sprawling of NY, I honestly dislike their bitter coffee & their too sweet breakfast options & brittle bagels. But when I round that corner & see ORANGE I know I'll have my perfect cup of coffee (small Mud dark with steamed skim & half a sugar, please) and one of the best fresh bagels around. When I get there at 7:20 AM the bagels are still warm enough to melt the butter. Yum.

                    So I adore the Mud Truck. Plus, the guys are friendly, they always have some cool music playing, & they give treats to all the local dogs. What's not to like?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: kittyboots
                      k
                      kathryn May 22, 2007 09:34 PM

                      There's good coffee and decent breakfast options at Japanese bakery Cafe Zaiya on 3rd Avenue, between St Marks and 7th.

                      I like the ice coffee in particular, especially because they give you sugar syrup.

                      1. re: kathryn
                        k
                        kittyboots May 23, 2007 05:30 AM

                        Thank you! I will remember that the next time the Mud Truck is running late. Hoping the bakery is open at that hour ... it's too early for Karen's on Astor, or East Village Cheese.

                        1. re: kittyboots
                          w
                          winebitch May 23, 2007 06:23 AM

                          to the above inquiry, yes mudtruck offers soy options.

                          9th street espresso is definately among my favorites. they just opened a new location in the front of center stage company on 13th between 3rd and 4th. (yes, its still called 9th street espresso)

                          starbucks always tastes bad to me. it always tastes a little bit burnt, or metallic, or dirty or something. but, everyone has different tastes. union square options for avoiding starbucks, tisserie or even whole foods upstairs.

                    2. c
                      centrejack May 23, 2007 08:01 AM

                      A midtown option that I just discovered Monday is called Macchiato it is on 44th between Lexington and Third. I haven't had their drip but their Espresso drinks are fantastic. I just returned from Rome a couple of weeks ago and the taste gave me flashbacks to Saint Eustachi (sp?).

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: centrejack
                        b
                        Brigita May 23, 2007 08:06 AM

                        I found a Swedish little place called Fika on 58th between 5th and 6th that has impressed me. It's near my office though. I am usually downtown after I leave work.

                        1. re: centrejack
                          b
                          boccalupo May 23, 2007 11:21 AM

                          Caffè Sant'Eustachio in Rome. Excellent coffee. If you want to pick up some in Manhattan, DiPalo's sells it by the can. Expensive, but not much more than Illy. Haven't seen it anywhere else though.

                          1. re: boccalupo
                            c
                            centrejack May 23, 2007 11:43 AM

                            Thanks for the advice - it has provided some relief. I brought a bag of beans back with me that will hold me for a few weeks, but soon it will be gone and I will be desperate.

                            1. re: boccalupo
                              sing me a bar May 23, 2007 12:01 PM

                              Omigod! That's the best coffee place in Rome! Who knew you could buy it stateside, though we all know it won't tatse the way it does in the piazza, having come out of a multi-thousand dollar Pasquino, prepeared by an expert barista.

                            2. re: centrejack
                              j
                              jimpeggy May 29, 2007 04:48 PM

                              . Next time you go to Rome try Tazza D' Orro sp?? very close to the Pantheon. Much better. Not pre-sweetened either. But many politicians go to SE.

                              I look forward to trying Macchiato. I rec Sant Ambroeus as the closest to Italian I know and many Italians frequent the place. Mad 78/79st. Stand up bar as in Italy.

                            3. n
                              nokitsch May 23, 2007 09:45 AM

                              Mudtruck, ftw! Starbucks coffee simply does not taste good, and overpriced to boot. Having said that, I find Mudtruck erratic - the one on U.Square is good, and the one on Wall St. is not good.

                              1. sing me a bar May 23, 2007 11:58 AM

                                Gotta boycott Starbuck. I hate hearing people saying " I have to have my Starbuck's in the morning!" Mud Truck offers a way better product and the people behind it are so nice, down to the barristas. I would have a Dunkin' Donuts cappucino before I patronized Starbuck's.

                                1. inuksuk May 30, 2007 12:47 PM

                                  Sure, Mud Truck is better than Starbucks. Big whoop. Oren's, however, is still the best in NYC. http://www.orensdailyroast.com/

                                  1. p
                                    plastix May 30, 2007 01:49 PM

                                    mudtruck, hands down. i read somewhere that they get their beans from porto rico coffee on bleeker at 6th ave, love that place.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: plastix
                                      k
                                      kathryn May 31, 2007 02:42 PM

                                      That doesn't make sense since you can buy Mud beans (something like "The Mud Blend") at Mudspot, the sit-down spot, as well as grocery stores in the area.

                                      1. re: kathryn
                                        equilibrist Jun 1, 2007 02:27 PM

                                        It's true though--Mud uses a custom, secret Porto Rico blend that they do also sell in their stores, albeit jacking up the price to about double what beans cost at Porto Rico.

                                    2. guttergourmet Aug 31, 2007 06:10 PM

                                      Mrs. GG begs to differ with me (what a surprise): Starbucks is very good plus clean bathrooms (to take GG's daughter who likes white chocolate mochas),polite servers, nobody rushes you out or trys to sell you more coffee, can sit on a cold rainy day with your laptop-can't do that with the Mud Truck.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: guttergourmet
                                        fsd1116 Aug 31, 2007 07:05 PM

                                        Both have their strong points. I agree with GG on the fact that you can sit as long as you want and the employees leave you alone.

                                        1. re: fsd1116
                                          guttergourmet Aug 31, 2007 07:17 PM

                                          That was Mrs.GG-I was the OP and I go with Mud Truck, Cafe Vivaldi off of Bleecker or La Lanterna on MacDougal.

                                      Show Hidden Posts