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Where do you buy ground coffee in Manhattan to brew at home?

Desidero Jan 7, 2014 11:14 AM

I recently purchased a coffee maker so that I could brew coffee at home. There are some old discussions on this board regarding where to buy the best ground coffee in Manhattan, but I haven't come across any recent ones, so I thought I'd open a new thread. Three questions:

1) Where do you buy ground coffee in Manhattan?

2) Are there particular roasts that you'd recommend from the store/cafe where you buy your ground coffee?

3) How much does the coffee you like cost per pound?

I tend to prefer beans with notes of chocolate and hazelnut, but I am open to all suggestions!

Many thanks!

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  1. princeofpork3 RE: Desidero Jan 7, 2014 11:16 AM

    We buy only whole beans and grind them at home right before brewing. It takes an additional 30 sec and you can definetly tell the difference. We get our whole beans from Fariway or Orens. Either place will grind them for you but trust me, get a small spice grinder and do it yourself.

    7 Replies
    1. re: princeofpork3
      loratliff RE: princeofpork3 Jan 7, 2014 11:38 AM

      Yes, I would highly recommend grinding your own beans. Beyond that, I mostly drink (and recommend) all varieties of Stumptown, which you can purchase at any of their storefronts and a few other places, as well as any Counter Culture beans. Lately I'm working through a bag of the Rustico (http://counterculturecoffee.com/store...), which it sounds like you may like.

      1. re: princeofpork3
        JungMann RE: princeofpork3 Jan 8, 2014 07:24 AM

        Which roast do you get from Fairway? I used to rent a room on the UWS and my hosts served what I thought was the richest, darkest coffee I'd ever enjoyed black. Nowadays I buy the Brooklyn Java or Santo Domingo roasts, which are close, but not quite the same dark coffee I used to enjoy on weekend mornings.

        Zabar's also has good coffee. Both Fairway and Zabar's sell whole bean coffee that you can have freshly ground to your specifications.

        1. re: JungMann
          princeofpork3 RE: JungMann Jan 8, 2014 08:27 AM

          I usually ask for the darkest richest bean they have at the time. Most often itis the Ethiopia or Costa Rica. The Ethiopia is my fav.

          1. re: princeofpork3
            LNG212 RE: princeofpork3 Jan 8, 2014 11:48 AM

            I like the Ethiopia too but we usually prefer the Sumatra, also very rich. I once had a really nice conversation with the coffee "manager" at 74th St. He asked what I liked about the Sumatra and I tried describing the dark rich flavor and I said something about not tasting burnt like Starbucks. He told me that he often heard that and that Starbucks over roasts their beans; that Fairway roasts lighter, generally, and that he oversaw their roasting area in Brooklyn. It was really cool chatting with him. I wonder if they'd let someone go observe the roasting facilities.

            1. re: LNG212
              JungMann RE: LNG212 Jan 8, 2014 12:38 PM

              I've had the Costa Rica and the Sumatra. The Costa Rica was too acidic while I thought the Sumatra didn't have enough acidity to balance its body. Maybe Ethiopia is the blend Goldilocks is looking for.

            2. re: princeofpork3
              JungMann RE: princeofpork3 Mar 3, 2014 08:52 AM

              I just stopped by Fairway to try the Ethiopia blend and it turns out they have 2 different types of Ethiopian coffee (Harrar and Yirgacheffe). I asked for the darker of the two, which was the Harrar. It's still a bit thin for me, tasting closer to a mocha than a bold coffee. I'm still sticking with Brooklyn Java as my favorite for now.

              1. re: JungMann
                sugartoof RE: JungMann Mar 3, 2014 12:04 PM

                Ethiopian coffees are typically lighter, mocha types with heavy fruit notes. They aren't usually roasted dark.

        2. d
          Desidero RE: Desidero Jan 7, 2014 11:49 AM

          Thanks. I appreciate the recommendations thus far, but I want to be clear that what I'm most interested in is getting recommendations for the best beans and where you buy those beans, not whether I should be grinding my beans or not.

          Thanks again!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Desidero
            poser RE: Desidero Jan 7, 2014 12:27 PM

            If it's pre gound, it is stale. Very simple.

            1. re: poser
              Desidero RE: poser Jan 7, 2014 12:30 PM

              The first bag I bought was not pre-ground. I bought a bag of whole beans at Joe's Pro Shop and had them grind the beans in the store. But, again, my interest is in your recommendations for the best beans.


          2. r
            Raffles RE: Desidero Jan 7, 2014 11:50 AM


            They are on Bleeker St. in the village. So many choices of beans....

            We buy their sale coffees and freeze. We grind our own with an Arkady and perc in an electric percolator or a stove top percolator.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Raffles
              iluvcookies RE: Raffles Jan 7, 2014 01:20 PM

              +1 for Porto Rico. Excellent quality/price ratio. They have a good turnover so the beans are fresh.
              They will grind to your specs and help you choose the best grind for your method of brewing.
              I'm partial to darker roasts, and really like the French Mocha Java.
              You can also get a brewed cup of anything in the store for a small charge if you really want to try something--they do have brewed coffee in back of the store if you want to try whatever they have going that day. (They will make you Jamaican Blue Mountain or Civet coffee for a larger fee, if you are so inclined)

              In addition to Bleecker St, they have 3 other locations: East Village, Essex Market and Grand St (Brooklyn)

              1. re: iluvcookies
                Ttrockwood RE: iluvcookies Jan 7, 2014 03:05 PM

                +1 here too
                I've been drinking the organic ft sumatra lately, may be darker than what you're looking for. I just buy a 1/2lb at a time and have them grind for me:
                Good prices and actually helpful people working there

                1. re: Ttrockwood
                  rose water RE: Ttrockwood Jan 13, 2014 12:23 PM

                  actually helpful only in the west village location. the aloof hipsters in the EV location are too much.

                  though i appreciate the prices at porto rico, in the past year either their quality has plummeted or my palate has gotten more discriminating. i've bought way too many burnt beans there to be able to recommend it.

              2. re: Raffles
                therealdoctorlew RE: Raffles Jan 11, 2014 12:13 PM

                You can also make your own blend from any of their beans.

                1. re: Raffles
                  howdini RE: Raffles May 6, 2014 05:03 PM

                  l've found Porto Rico has a great selection of beans, but absolutely, consistently terrible grinders [l use French press, and the grind is very inconsistent].

                  Until l get myself a good burr grinder, l'm gonna have to stick with buying at Bowery Whole Foods, Commodities on 1st Av. & 10th, and Union Market. All of them have lrving Farms Rainforest Blend, of which l'm a big fan.

                  1. re: howdini
                    Elisa515 RE: howdini Jun 14, 2014 11:24 AM

                    Which Porto Rico roasters store do you go to? There are several.

                    1. re: Elisa515
                      howdini RE: Elisa515 Jun 14, 2014 06:23 PM

                      The one on St. Marks. I'll edit the above to remove the Ave A Union Market, as their grinder sucks, too. I've start going to Think Coffee on Bowery: great beans and grinder.

                2. j
                  Jane A. RE: Desidero Jan 7, 2014 08:48 PM

                  I particularly like French Roast (both reg & decaf) from a local roster called White House roasters - in Bklyn, I think. I buy it at a local, Italian specialties shop called Nicola's on First Ave bet 54 & 55th. I suspect that if you call White House, you'll be able to find other outlets. It's the only decaf I've found that no one suspects is decaf. They also have all the usual -- Colombian, Mocha Java, etc.

                  1. coasts RE: Desidero Jan 7, 2014 08:53 PM

                    Stumptown's Guatemalan Bourbon is by far my favorite bean to brew at home. it's just so well balanced. there's brightness, acidity, depth, complexity, and a great body. it's not thin or syrupy, heavy or light. i've tried so many from them, as well as Blue Bottle, Gimme!, La Colombe, Intelligentsia, Joe, and others, but always return to Stumptown for this particular bean.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: coasts
                      coasts RE: coasts Jul 15, 2014 05:01 PM

                      in addition to the Bourbon, Stumptown now has a Santa Clara from Guatemala. it's quickly becoming the house favorite.

                    2. e
                      ediatopia RE: Desidero Jan 7, 2014 09:12 PM

                      If you're buying from Joe's I'd recommend the PNG Baroid estate beans. They're back in season, at least at the Joe's on 13th street.

                      Also recommend Dukale's Dream from Laughin Man. It's directly sourced and it's a deep roasted flavor, which I prefer.

                      Coffee is pretty personal, taste wise. I'd recommend asking your local coffee shop if they do cuppings so you can taste a few different beans, get a bit of an education on coffee tasting and develop a good relationship with your local baristas :)

                      Good luck,

                      1. f
                        Fydeaux RE: Desidero Jan 8, 2014 08:39 AM

                        I like Porto Rico a lot. I also like McNulty's Tea & Coffee on Christopher St in the West Village.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Fydeaux
                          Raffles RE: Fydeaux Jan 8, 2014 09:01 AM

                          McNulty seems expensive for loose teas.

                        2. d
                          Desidero RE: Desidero Jan 11, 2014 08:23 AM

                          Thanks for all these terrific responses. If anyone else has any recommendations, I'm all ears.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Desidero
                            coasts RE: Desidero Jan 11, 2014 09:37 AM

                            Joe's Pro Shop in Chelsea brings in beans from small roasters throughout the US, much in the way that RBC did. You can find Handsome, Ritual, Coava, Heart, Madcap, and a rotating list of others, where otherwise you couldn't.

                          2. s
                            Shirang RE: Desidero Jan 11, 2014 11:58 AM

                            Counter Culture Subscription service is great. 2 12oz bags of single origin a month for 28 plus 3 dollars ups shipping. I think you can specify them grounded.

                            Just bought an excellent bag of Columbian Desarrollo from Heart Roasters at Culture Espresso Bar, very smooth and chocolatey.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Shirang
                              coasts RE: Shirang Jan 12, 2014 07:57 PM

                              i'm constantly disappointed by Counter Culture. i've gone to their NY HQ for a cupping and have had their beans brewed in a clover at A Kaffe when they were around. what makes you chose their subscription service over some locally roasted option? curious...

                              1. re: coasts
                                Shirang RE: coasts Jan 13, 2014 06:39 AM

                                I drink alot of coffee and buy a lot of coffee. Their subscription is service is one of the cheapest options compared to the ones from Heart, Intelligentsia, Tonx, etc. I love Stumptown, Joe, and Grumpy, but it gets expensive. I'm pretty happy with the results from the subscription, I'm brewing via aeropress, and technivorm at home, and pulling shots at the office with good results.

                                1. re: Shirang
                                  poser RE: Shirang Jan 13, 2014 09:49 AM

                                  May I suggest redbird coffee. They are now offering subscriptions tailored personally for your wants. Or as what I do, order five lb. get free shipping. I split the bag up in to mason jars and freeze. I couldn't be happier.


                            2. shaogo RE: Desidero Jan 11, 2014 12:47 PM

                              McNulty's on Christopher Street (mentioned hereinabove) is indeed a bit pricey. The selection of coffees is limited. But they'll grind for you (cheerfully -- it's only their customers, coffee snobs, who'll roll their eyes at the request). And a visit is like going back in time. You gotta go at least once and I guarantee that you'll return.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: shaogo
                                nokitchen RE: shaogo Jan 13, 2014 10:13 AM

                                And occasionally they'll have some decent prices, too. I've been really lucky with low-acid coffees (sadly, I can't remember what countries they came from) for beer brewing.

                                More recently they had a great price on a fancy Ethiopian coffee, but it was so great they sold out. :-(

                              2. NYJewboy RE: Desidero Mar 3, 2014 08:55 AM

                                Gimmie Coffee is a roaster upstate that ships to your door less than a week after roasting. Their selection is phenomenal. I drink nothing else. Get a damn grinder son.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: NYJewboy
                                  sugartoof RE: NYJewboy Mar 3, 2014 12:07 PM

                                  They also offer free shipping, or percent off coupons for mail order.

                                  That said, Gimme coffee is available in most Whole Foods now, and they have multiple locations in NY. It's good stuff.

                                2. Ttrockwood RE: Desidero Mar 3, 2014 03:37 PM

                                  FYI i stopped in and bought beans at Sumptown the other day- and he asked if i wanted it ground (!!!!) i'm actually really surprised he volunteered to do this, but impressed he wasn't snarky about it either.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Ttrockwood
                                    sugartoof RE: Ttrockwood Mar 3, 2014 04:27 PM

                                    Who doesn't offer to grind beans?

                                    It's an automatic offer at virtually every roaster.

                                    1. re: sugartoof
                                      was_bk RE: sugartoof Mar 3, 2014 05:13 PM

                                      Blue Bottle in Brooklyn emphatically refused to grind beans on principle, despite my reasoned request.

                                      fwiw, if you like a rich/bold coffee order up some Monsoon Malabar from Raging a Sage Coffee Roasters (Tucson, AZ) and yes they do grind beans upon request.

                                      1. re: was_bk
                                        sugartoof RE: was_bk Mar 3, 2014 07:07 PM

                                        Yeah? It's still not the norm.

                                        Mind you, BB are a big reason why printing roasting dates became standardized.

                                        1. re: was_bk
                                          Ttrockwood RE: was_bk Mar 3, 2014 09:37 PM

                                          Exactly. I assumed sumptown would have the same stance.

                                    2. t
                                      tex.s.toast RE: Desidero Mar 4, 2014 05:22 AM

                                      Perhaps this would be most appropriate in its own thread, but since there seem to be so many active coffee aficionados already participating here, ill give it a shot:

                                      has anyone had any experience with Joe's coffee classes? http://www.joenewyork.com/classes/

                                      the idea is certainly interesting to me, but id be curious for a first hand report.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: tex.s.toast
                                        sugartoof RE: tex.s.toast Mar 4, 2014 07:16 AM

                                        I don't have a first hand report, but some of those classes shouldn't even be classes. You can find numerous pour over tutorials online, for example. You don't need a class in cupping, just go to a free cupping.

                                        Stumptown's WV location might be of interest to you as well. They have a second brew bar room for cuppings, and more specialized, educational stuff.

                                        1. re: sugartoof
                                          coasts RE: sugartoof Mar 4, 2014 07:50 AM

                                          Counter Culture does a free cupping on Fridays at their soho training lab. It's a bit ridiculous, but still entertaining.

                                          1. re: sugartoof
                                            Ttrockwood RE: sugartoof Mar 4, 2014 08:37 PM

                                            I was so tempted to go- Sumptown's (free) cuppings are at 2pm, but i wasn't able to linger the day i was there.

                                            Not sure i would pay for one of joe's classes, unless i wanted to do the latte art or something tricky like that.

                                        2. n
                                          nycsteve RE: Desidero Mar 5, 2014 12:09 PM

                                          I love Unique coffee on Staten Island. They have a web site (do a Google search) their prices are great and they sell either ground or beans. My wife and I love their vanilla nut. Also the package the coffee for Garden of Eden or similar store but it is less expensive here

                                          1. s
                                            Simon RE: Desidero May 4, 2014 12:33 PM

                                            i bought a Chemex and am pondering this same question...

                                            i like: nutty, smooth, non-acidic, round, somewhat milk-chocolatey coffee

                                            i despise: sour/"fruity", acidic, bitter, burnt-tasting...

                                            The subject seems even more subjective than wine, which is saying a lot...

                                            18 Replies
                                            1. re: Simon
                                              Ttrockwood RE: Simon May 4, 2014 05:04 PM

                                              All of the previous suggestions from this thread apply to your inquiry as well...

                                              1. re: Ttrockwood
                                                Simon RE: Ttrockwood May 4, 2014 08:17 PM

                                                true, yet the descriptions are pretty vague and subjective: i'd be interested in suggestions for the specific flavor profile i mentioned...

                                                1. re: Simon
                                                  sugartoof RE: Simon May 4, 2014 09:45 PM

                                                  Most roasters have a coffee that fits the profile you're after.

                                                  I think I'd try Stumptown, Gimme, Toby's or maybe Grumpy and ask them what they have that's not too acidic, and is more nutty/chocolate-y. You'll have choices. If you're struggling, then switch to blends, which might be more balanced to take the edge off. So for example, you might like the Mocha Java blend at Gimme, over the straight Indonesia Java.

                                                  I would probably avoid single source Ethiopian, Sumatra, and probably Honduras or Kenyan coffees for what you're after.

                                                  It is all going to be vague and subjective.

                                                  1. re: sugartoof
                                                    Simon RE: sugartoof May 4, 2014 10:42 PM

                                                    thanks for the suggestions...i'll try the Gimme Mocha Java sometime...and true, i have noticed when i've been at Grumpy that i don't care for either the Ethiopian nor the Honduras...

                                              2. re: Simon
                                                Simon RE: Simon Jun 14, 2014 09:25 AM

                                                6 weeks into trying diff coffee beans, my fav so far for this profile is the Indian Monsoon Malabar from Porto Rico on St Marks...the Costa Rican and Mocha Java from there were pretty good too, as was the Brooklyn Blend from Toby...

                                                Still investigating and learning, so more suggestions always welcome...

                                                1. re: Simon
                                                  howdini RE: Simon Jun 14, 2014 06:32 PM

                                                  You and I have exactly the same taste in coffee: try the Irving Farm Rainforest Blend I mentioned (buy at WF Bowery or Commodities on 1st Ave, as their grinders are good), and Think Coffee's Nicaraguan and Peruvian are really good, too.

                                                  1. re: howdini
                                                    Simon RE: howdini Jun 14, 2014 06:39 PM

                                                    :) cool, i shall try those...i imagine i can get the Rainforest blend at 71 Irving too, so i'll get some soon...

                                                    i'm on the verge of buying a burr grinder too, which should open up the field a bit...

                                                    1. re: Simon
                                                      sugartoof RE: Simon Jun 14, 2014 07:33 PM

                                                      The advantage of buying Irving Farms at Whole Foods is they usually have it on sale.

                                                      Reading what you're enjoying so far, I think Irving Farm is a great choice for you, but less so for the blends. Their roasts are always more chocolate-y yo my tastes buds, and some of the roasts are similar to Toby's Brooklyn Blend.

                                                      1. re: Simon
                                                        howdini RE: Simon Jun 14, 2014 11:23 PM

                                                        The Barazza website has refurb page, where you can get good deals on their grinders.


                                                        1. re: howdini
                                                          Shirang RE: howdini Jun 15, 2014 02:39 PM

                                                          Tonx had a deal where you subscribe for a minimally a month and you could buy any baratza at wholesale price. Not sure if the blue bottle acquisition affected this. I regret not getting the preciso, bought the virtuoso instead.

                                                          1. re: Shirang
                                                            howdini RE: Shirang Jun 15, 2014 03:10 PM

                                                            Thanks, l'll look into that Tonx Deal.

                                                            l keep wanting to get a Baratza, but whenever one comes up on the website, l never have the scratch on hand to buy it :(

                                                            1. re: howdini
                                                              Shirang RE: howdini Jun 15, 2014 07:31 PM

                                                              found it, still valid


                                                              1. re: Shirang
                                                                howdini RE: Shirang Jun 16, 2014 07:04 AM

                                                                Thanks for this! Do you know if it's worth getting deliveries from Tonx? Seems kinda pricy...also, l was considering the Virtuoso myself...is it not good?

                                                                1. re: howdini
                                                                  Shirang RE: howdini Jun 16, 2014 11:08 AM

                                                                  Tonx is kind of pricy, but theres no long term contracts. You can try it for a month. The virtuoso is great for regular drip, aeropress, pourover, french press, but if you decide to get an espresso machine later on, better off getting the preciso,

                                                                  1. re: Shirang
                                                                    howdini RE: Shirang Jun 16, 2014 11:31 AM

                                                                    Ah, thanks for the info! We do French press here at home, so l'm not too concerned with a fine grind, l just want a consistent coarse grind.

                                                      2. re: howdini
                                                        Simon RE: howdini Jul 15, 2014 02:36 PM

                                                        update for howdini (and others who have similar taste in coffee): while i still like the Monsoon Malabar from PortoRico coffee, i tried a new Bolivian from Toby Estate called "Amor de Dios": pretty great: nutty, mild, smooth...a little pricey (15 bucks for 12 oz -- i think the Malabar is 10/lb), but def good stuff...

                                                        1. re: Simon
                                                          howdini RE: Simon Jul 15, 2014 03:17 PM

                                                          Thanks for the tip, Simon! A coupla days ago l bought another bag of Rainforest Blend at WF: the price was so high l ground my teeth after the beans.

                                                      3. re: Simon
                                                        was_bk RE: Simon Jun 15, 2014 04:12 AM

                                                        Monsoon Malabar is my favorite bean (as noted in an earlier post) so I appreciate the heads up about Porto Rico!

                                                        While I still enjoy the MM as well as the house blend from Raging Sage, having a backup is always a good thing.

                                                    2. c
                                                      Cookbug RE: Desidero May 7, 2014 03:58 AM

                                                      We love Zabar's coffee. We buy whole beans, but they will happily grind to your specification.

                                                      We like a darker roast, so get the French Italian and Vienna Roast. We also buy their espresso, both regular and decaf.

                                                      They will also deliver - FREE - in the US with a minimum 4 pound (I think, it may be 6 - check the website) order.

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