You can find the best of everything in New York City, from art to food to architecture… and coffee is no exception. New York is home to a thriving community of creative, dedicated coffee-makers who are obsessive about every detail from bean sourcing, to roasting, to latte art, to environmental sustainability and fair trade practices. If you haven’t already tasted the coffee from each of these coffee houses, Fall is the perfect time to do so – even if you aren’t necessarily looking for a pumpkin spice latte.
Image: La Colombe
27th Terminal Warehouse
La Colombe’s founding statement was: America Deserves Better Coffee, and today, it serves just that at 26 locations all over the United States. Their coffee beans have been carefully roasted through a combination of ancient and innovative coffee-making traditions. La Colombe founder Todd Carmichael travels to some of the most dangerous parts of the world in search of the best coffee beans, from Haiti to Myanmar. You can watch the entire process, from the beginning of his expedition to the finished cup of coffee on his Travel Channel show, “Dangerous Grounds.”
Image: Irving Farm
Lower East Side
Upper West Side
Upper East Side
What began as a small 1996 Gramercy Park coffee shop has grown into a full-blown coffee chain that supplies New Yorkers with high-quality beans roasted in a converted carriage house upstate in Duchess County. Irving Farm makes sure the entire coffee-making process is responsible; they buy beans grown directly from sustainably-run coffee farms all over the world and use energy-efficient coffee roasters.
Two Hands Cafe
251 Church Street (b/t Avenue Of The Americas & Franklin Street)
New York, NY 10013
164 Mott Street (b/t Broome Street & Grand Street)
New York, NY 10013
The founders of Two Hands envisioned bringing Australian coffee shops to New York City. In Australia, coffee shops aren’t just a place to grab a cup of joe, they’re community-centric gathering places full of boisterous conversation. You’ll find that ethos alive and well at Two Hands, where you can enjoy delicious coffee and friendly, relaxed service.
Image: Laughing Man Coffee
Laughing Man Coffee and Tea
184 Duane Street (at Greenwich Street)
New York, NY 10013
1 North End Avenue (at Vesey Street)
New York, NY 10282
The inspiration for Laughing Man came to Hugh Jackman and his wife Deb during their travels to the Kochore region of Ethiopia. There they were inspired by Dukale, a young coffee farmer, and resolved to open their own coffee spot to help his farm flourish. Since then, they’ve used all their profits to fund health, education and small business projects in Kochore.
Image: Blue Bottle Coffee
This coffee shop brand was started in Oakland, California by James Freeman, a freelance musician who was fed up with the stale, burnt taste of big-brand coffee. Upon opening his first Blue Bottle, Freeman vowed to serve only the most responsibly-sourced, highest-quality bean, “less than 48 hours out of the roaster.” He’s kept his word. Today, Blue Bottle is a flourishing brand, with cafes sprinkled around the country, and sustainable coffee sourced from farmers all over the world.
New York, NY 10038
Voyager Espresso looks like a spaceship invading its bland Wall Street environment with futuristic furniture and shiny silver flourishes. The coffee shop is far more subtle in its product, though; they offer two speciality coffees at a time which can be brewed in a variety of different ways, encouraging customers to explore the range of tastes that exist in each bean.
Image: Birch Coffee
Birch coffee shops offer a refreshing alternative to the isolating experience of most coffee shops. They encourage patrons to share conversation, offering “Initiative” cards, which propose topics for conversation, and cups that say “Hello my name is ____” Birch’s community ethos expands to its coffee-making process: the brand sources beans directly from farmers in Guatemala, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia
Plowshares Coffee Bloomingdales
2730 Broadway Avenue (btwn 104th/105th)
New York, NY 10025
Plowshares Coffee Roasters roasts its beans in an Upstate New York valley, using a restored 1950’s-era vintage German Probate UG 15 roaster which previously made coffee in a small Belgian cafe for more than 50 years. Plowshares assesses the individual character of each type of bean, creating special flavor profiles to customize the roasting process. The company is as obsessive about limiting its carbon footprint as it is about its coffee beans, powering its roastery with 100% Wind Power.