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Best coffee in New York City?

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  • skpow Jul 5, 2008 09:07 AM
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Just having been to Spain, I find that the coffee in New York is severely lacking. Does anyone know where to go in New York for a REALLY consistently good cup of coffee that isn't brackish, bitter, sour or otherwise offensive to the taste?

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  1. espresso, not from starbucks will replicate spain the best

    3 Replies
    1. re: thew

      yeah, tried that. But still find that most of the espresso here pales. Do you have any specific suggestions?

      1. re: skpow

        I love the espresso at Cafe Dante. I believe they use Illy.
        You can also get great whole beans at Porto Rico on Bleecker.

      2. re: thew

        Dunkin donuts is the best

      3. i admit, ive been living in the city for less than a month. However, i know good coffee when i drink it. gimme coffee in nolita is good. the baristas are coffee geeks
        http://www.gimmecoffee.com/static/fea...

        2 Replies
        1. re: cls105

          I second Gimmee Coffee.

          1. re: davr73

            I third Gimmie! I'm lucky enough to live close the the Gimmie! Coffee off of Grand and Lorimer in Brooklyn and always buy my (roasted date stickered) beans there and I HAVE to have a double macchiato whenever I stop by. Their "Leftist" espresso beans are top freakin' notch and the always-pleasant staff there pulls some of the best shots I've ever had.

            Just remember to tip your barrista and NO CELL PHONES at the register (that's just rude).

        2. Joe on 13 between 5th & University is a great cup.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Spends Rent on Food

            Joe also has a spot in Grand Central in the Graybar Passage. Excellent coffee and friendly staff.

          2. Zibretto Espresso on 56th and 7th, Mud on 9th street in the East Village or Jack's Stir Brew in the West Village. The best option, however, is to get a french press, learn to use it properly and find a coffee that you like and make your own. Try experimenting with Illy, Citarella brands, Oren's, etc and different strengths, acidities.

            1. Go ask Rich or Tone (Anthony() at Fairway on 125th Street to make you a mix based on your likes & dislikes. They will come up with a smooth roast for you.

              1. 9th St. Espresso (ave c and 9th st)
                Zibetto
                Cafe Regular in Brooklyn
                Joe on 13th

                2 Replies
                1. re: frankbooth

                  I second 9th Street Espresso--both locations (9th St and Chelsea market)
                  Also Abraco on 7th Street.

                  1. re: frankbooth

                    Definitely 9th Street Espresso (both locations -- as pointed out by EVOhNo). Their espresso is probably the most chocolatey, aromatic, intense espresso I've ever had anywhere in the world. Nothing like doing a little grocery shopping at Chelsea Market before or after grabbing a bracing espresso.
                    Joe's (13th/University and West Village) is very comparable and has the virtue of serving a wider selection of coffee and non-coffee drinks. They also have several other locations.
                    I also like Abraco in the East Village. The coffee is not quite as intense as the above two but has a smoother, more elegant finish. The vibe of the place is also very charming. Their olive oil pound cake is delicious.

                  2. Cafe Grumpy on 20th St. in Chelsea has excellent espresso, full flavored with a thick crema, and it also makes individual cups of coffee from a menu of 4 or 5 beans that change monthly. They're serious coffee people. Ninth St. Espresso and the place on 13th St. and 3rd Ave that used to be 9th St. both serve excellent espressos as well.

                    1. Hands-down: The coffee at Cafe Sabarsky at the neue gallerie.

                      1. Hi skpow, just ignore all the posts below and trust this one, for I am spaniard and a true coffee lover. There are only two coffee houses in NY worthy of my money. The first one is Ninth Street Espresso and the other is Joe The Art of Coffee.
                        Ninth Street Espresso has two locations. One on Ninth Street and Avenue C and the other inside the Chelsea Market, at 75 9th ave. between 15th and 16th street. They have a third location slated to open later this summer at 341 East 10th Street, between Avenues A and B.
                        Here is their website: http://www.ninthstreetespresso.com/
                        Joe The Art of Coffee has four locations. You can find them here: http://www.joetheartofcoffee.com/loca...
                        They both have superb coffee and the baristas really know what they are doing.
                        I hope this helps. Take it from a Spaniard! :) Hasta luego...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: asg749d

                          Many thanks!

                        2. I love the coffee at Cafe con Leche on Amsterdam between 80-81

                          1. have you tried the espresso at despana (408 Broome St)? i go to that store for my go-to spain needs. plus they have a cafe in the back that sell tortillas, pinxtos, almond tarts and bocodillos as well as coffee. the only thing they don't sell unfortunately are claras and orange fanta. lol

                            here's the link to the store:

                            http://www.despananyc.com/

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: felizglfr

                              both despana and tia pol (my favorite tapas place in nyc) will make you a killer cortado. that's if you're looking for a spanish coffee experience.

                              for the best cups in town, I agree that ninth street espresso, abraco, grumpy, gimme and joe are all your best bets.

                            2. I second Cafe Regular in Brooklyn (11th st. and 5th ave) and also would add Taralucci e vino (1st ave and 10th st.)

                              1. Everyman Espresso, 13th St. between 3rd and 4th, can pull God shots. The occasional espresso isn't quite hot enough, but when they hit it, it's as good as it gets. Grumpy is also great, and 9th St., too. If you happen to be in Williamsburg, check out Oslo (not in the over-extracted style of these other places) and El Beit, though I noticed the other day that they aren't using Counter Culture and I haven't had a shot since they switched).

                                Just be glad you didn't move here 10 years ago.

                                1. Thanks to everyone for your suggestions! I'm going to take a coffee tour of the city and report back on my findings. Muchas gracias!

                                  1. Alright. I have the answer for you! First of all-lucky you to have been in Spain recently!!. The next best thing in NYC (if you aren't lucky enough to be in Spain)is going to Despaña on 408 Broome Street (take the R train to Prince Street) get off and go 2 blocks south and 2 blocks East. Here is the site: http://www.despananyc.com/
                                    The coffee is wonderful. Ask for a double cortado. They can always adjust it for you to perfection. Just ask. Most of the people there are Spanish (Basque region, Mallorca etc) . Along with the coffee -you can get Churros con Chocolate (not as good as in Madrid-like at San Gines) but probably as CLOSE as you can get to the real thing. They DO use real Spanish rich chocolate called VALOR for the hot chocolate part that you dip your churros in. The Churros are imported from Spain (half cooked/fried) and they do the rest here. They also have TO DIE FOR Bocadillos/tapas/pintxos --especially good is the Bocadillo Despana with Serrano Ham (poor pigs :(,with a creamy and delectable goat cheese and tomato-garlic spread). It's just out of this world- truly lovely. In fact, everything there is delicious and IMPORTED from Spain. It is as AUTHENTIC as you can get here in NYC. All other Spanish restaurants/shops pale by comparison. This shop has Spanish people working there and Spanish ingredients in everything. Top quality. They even have tortas de aciete cookies from Seville, IBERICO Ham $$$ (I love pigs though-so I don't understand why I eat that)..and..olive oils, Piquante (peppers), a panoply of Spanish goat/sheep and cow cheeses, chorizos and other meats, an assortment of Turron (1880) almonds and honey brittle or soft...
                                    oh yeah--and COFFEE!! Beautiful Coffee. . Someone else mentioned Despana on this site. Believe me-it's great.
                                    Also-there is always ZABARS on 80th and Broadway (one of the finest/most famous gourmet shops in NYC) where you can buy coffee beans- ITALIAN/FRENCH blend or SPANISH and have them ground on the premises and take home.
                                    I wish you good luck.!!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: EveSimone

                                      Thanks so much for the great reply!

                                    2. Cafe Sabarsky serves my favorite brand: Julius Meinl. Even mit Schlag, it's the deepest, most robust coffee you can imagine.

                                      1. One more Brooklyn suggestion: Hotel Delmano. Oh yeah, they're serving coffee and pastries in the morning. And the espresso ROCKS. They're using Stumptown, they know how to pull a shot, and you get a little glass of seltzer on the side. I'm not an employee or investor, just a happy neighbor.

                                        1. Totally unscientific and subjective NYC coffee test session #1 & 2: Despana and Joe Grand Central.

                                          First, some full disclosure. I do not drink coffee regularly. I quit drinking it altogether about ten years ago for a variety of reasons and did not really miss it at all. It wasn't until after I had a post-dinner espresso at a fantastic restaurant in the middle of the Tuscan countryside that I fully understood why I didn't miss it. So now, I drink the occasional coffee on vacation, especially if I'm someplace where the locals know from really good coffee.

                                          I tried Despana this weekend and had a single cortado. It came pretty close to the coffee I had in Spain, but the first sip was just slightly harsh and powdery. I'm picking nits admittedly. Overall, a good cup of coffee.

                                          Today, I tried Joe in the Graybar passage. Again, I ordered a cortado. First sip, a little strong. I'm wondering how much of that has to do with temperature or the paper cup. The flavor of the coffee is mellow, a little chocolately. Again, a very good cup of coffee.

                                          Stay tuned. More experiments to come.

                                          1. abraco....7th street off 1st ave

                                            1. If you're stuck in midtown, the ING Direct Cafe on 49th between Park and Madison serves Peet's Coffee, which I love. I think it may be the only place that has it in NYC (at least, I haven't found any others). Otherwise, I second many of the downtown cafes recommended above.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: ScienceMike

                                                Upscale; Taralucci y Vino

                                                Not Upscale: La Taza de Oro (sit at the counter in the AM and take in the local flava - mucho sabor)

                                                Also, believe it or not, Elite Instant Coffee (from Israel, in a Red Tin) has a flavor that reminds me excactly of the Cafe con Leche I enjoyed while in Madrid at Cafe Gijon. You can buy that coffee in NYC at most Associated Supermarkets or in any kosher market in Flatbish, Brooklyn. Enjoy it with warmed milk. It's terrific!

                                              2. There is a new spot (kaffe 1668 or something like that) across from Whole Foods in Tribeca. Very good espresso. they also have like 10 varities of single cup brews. I like Cafe Cafe in SoHo as well. Absoloute best for me is Jacks Stir Brew. I think there are two, one in WV and one in South Street Seaport.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Agedbeef

                                                  The coffee tastes good but I can't get past the baristas using their bare hands in the coffee grounds each time they brew the individual cups. Especially after one just wiped sweat off his face.

                                                  1. re: Agedbeef

                                                    agree on kaffe 1668 although i've only had the espresso based drinks. but nonetheless, they're terrific. Also la colombe torrefaction on church st and Joe (multiple locations).

                                                  2. Any suggestions for the best INSTANT coffee in NYC? Thanks,
                                                    Sid

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: sidd

                                                      I love Sicaffe' at 964 Lexington (70th St). I usually don't travel for coffee - but I do for this place. It reminds me of coffee in Italy (they make a great cappuccino) and every time I go, I see many of my Italian teachers there (that must mean something...).

                                                      1. re: ladymbl

                                                        yes sicaffe is great -- grab a leather chair

                                                    2. La Colombe (Church Street, TriBeCa & Lafayette/Prince) are the most professional and consistent in the city. Their beans - roasted in North Philadelphia - are served in many high-end dining rooms around town; the cafes are a recent addition, and very, very welcome.

                                                      1. Buon Italia in the Chelsea Market pulls a great espresso.

                                                        1. - 9th Street Espresso (espresso, cappucino, etc)
                                                          - Abraco (best iced coffee ever!, cappucino)
                                                          - Cafe Sabarsky

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Gigi007

                                                            Hands down, 9th Street Espresso's cappucchinos!

                                                            http://earthlyepicurean.blogspot.com/

                                                            1. re: allieb2031

                                                              Stumptown Coffee from Portland recently opened in the Ace Hotel at 29th and Broadway, bringing North-west quality coffee to New York.

                                                          2. Tarralucci e Vino or Marquette.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Nikki NYC

                                                              I like the coffee at 9th street, personally. I think its Intelligentsia. Stumptown is ok, but not as complex and rich. Maybe it was the blend I had. the FInca at Intelligentsia is the best coffee ever.

                                                            2. According to the Times, Blue Bottle Coffee (of SF) is coming to Williamsburg. That is very, very good coffee.