Words By Campbell Moore
“The time and place for decaf is never and in the trash” -Bill Murray
You can’t say no to wisdom from Bill Murray. And besides, coffee is one of life’s greatest material pleasures. It goes with everything: work and play, thought and action. A steamy mug of Joe is like a happy hour first thing in the morning. So, to help you achieve that deliciously uncomfortable over-caffeinated state we all crave, CONVICTS assembled a list of the finest coffee purveyors in New York City.
Black Fox Coffee Co: This multi-roaster coffeeshop has been around for less than a year but has already made a tremendous mark on the New York City coffee scene. Owned and operated by veterans of the Melbourne coffee business, Black Fox offers unparalleled customer service, high quality seasonal foods prepared by the cafe’s chef, and some of the world’s finest coffees. On the shelves customers can find coffees from 49th Parallel, George Howell, Heart, Small Batch, Ritual, and other coffee roasters bringing consumers delicious and complex flavors. The 17.5ft ceiling and wide open floor plan are a welcome change to the crammed streets of New York’s Financial District, so whether you’re after food, coffee, or simply a refuge, Black Fox will leave you satisfied.
Voyager Espresso: Tucked away in the subway corridor leading from John Street to Fulton Station, Voyager is a buried coffee treasure in lower Manhattan. When the barista hands you your coffee in an Erlenmeyer Flask and you sit in the futuristic, podlike lounge area, you will feel like you are about to launch on a Mars mission…and when you taste the Denmark based La Cabra coffee, you will.
Hole In The Wall: Your reason for coming to Hole In The Wall should be coffee cocktails. There aren’t too many places in the city that offer a whiskey cold brew or an espresso martini, and there are fewer still that make it good. Hole In The Wall makes up two of them. This Australian-run cafe is busiest at brunch, but best on a quiet afternoon. Customers can enjoy a light, nutritious lunch, or indulge in a spiked affogato. The cafe is open late, rarely crowded, and a very comfortable place to spend an hour or two. There is one other location in Midtown.
LOWER EAST SIDE:
Hi-Collar: Westerners have been copying the cool stuff Japanese people make and rebranding it as their own for decades. Rather than allow Americans to butcher their craft, the folks at Hi-Collar have brought Japanese coffee culture to New York City. With only one long bar for seating, and no entry permitted if there is no open stool, Hi-Collar curates a slow and relaxed atmosphere where customers can order their flashy filter coffees, some of them made with the scarcely used siphon method, or cool off with cold brew known across the city. Get there early to get a seat, expect an experience, and enjoy.
Everyman Espresso: Since its beginnings, Everyman has been an NYC staple for coffee drinkers. Forgoing many of the charades put on by cafes in the New York coffee scene, Everyman serves up “Damn Fine Coffee” and takes every cup seriously. If you don’t believe me, check out the “I (coffee) NY” tattoo on the owner’s knuckles. For several years and across multiple locations, Everyman has been training and educating New York’s baristas, stirring conversation, and expanding the city’s coffee circles. While it may not be as fancy and cool as some of the newer cafe’s in the city, it holds a place at the core of New York coffee culture and therefore is not a shop to be skipped over. There are several other locations throughout the city.
Culture Espresso: Culture is coffee god’s gift to midtown Manhattan. In an area surrounded by Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and other places where coffee drinkers go to die, Culture Espresso is serving up expertly extracted shots of Heart Roasters coffee and baking some of the most delicious chocolate chip cookies many will ever eat. Seating varies based on which of the three midtown Culture locations you choose, but usually there is a seat or two available at the shops.
UPPER WEST SIDE:
Box Kite: Box Kite is one long hallway of a shop on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The seating is awkward, the air conditioning sucks, but the shop may have the best selection of coffees in the city. Box Kite’s baristas are friendly, knowledgeable, and quick. The tiny shop cranks out some of the best coffees in New York and the shelves are always stocked with a diverse arrangement of the finest coffees in the present. Additionally, the Upper West Side is an absolute desert for truly world class coffee. Box Kite is the only oasis.
Grade Coffee: With just one location in the entryway of Williamsburg’s Fellow Barber, Grade Coffee makes the most of its tiny space. Having only two stools crammed into the hallway heading toward the barbershop, Grade caters not to the bruncher or the wifi-seeking college student, but to the coffee enthusiast who wishes only for a well-extracted coffee filled with flavor–and maybe a haircut.
Sweatshop: Sweatshop is for the Brooklyner who appreciates good design. It’s a little shop, but with plenty of seating for a chat with friends or some intimate people watching. The small Williamsburg space is maximized without sacrificing a design-conscious interior and a well made cup of coffee. The shop serves Australian cafe classics like the Piccolo and the Jaffle. If you don’t know what those are, go try Sweatshop.
Jane Motorcycles: Many coffee shops sell great coffee, many have beautifully designed interiors, but very few are just really damn cool. Jane has made an illustrious name for itself in the world of custom cafe racer motorcycles. The inside of the South Williamsburg shop contains one-of-a-kind two wheel builds, the coolest motorcycling gear that exists, sweet Jane merch, and Counter Culture coffee. Friendly baristas who look like they just climbed off a Triumph scrambler in 1979 will chat with you about motorcycles or coffee and make you a nice cappuccino with little to no pretentiousness.
Marlow and Sons: no matter what your stomach wants, Marlow and Sons probably has it. The south Williamsburg shop is coffee in the front, a bar in the back, and a restaurant all over. This place is the furthest thing from pretentious or assuming when it comes to selling coffee, but someone in there really knows what he or she is doing. Marlow and Sons sells beans from several different roasters like George Howell, Mountain Air, and more. The food is farm fresh, the folks are friendly, and the coffee is ambrosial.
Supercrown: the warm colors, beautiful new space, cool neighborhood, and relaxed environment of Bushwick’s Supercrown attract not only folks to drink the coffee, but also some of New York’s top baristas to brew it. Supercrown is a nice place to be, there are nice people to talk to, and the coffee is delicious. They close early every day and have public cuppings on Sundays at 3 for the time being, so hurry up, get out there, and start tasting.
Parlor Coffee: Parlor’s nationwide reputation as one of Brooklyn’s finest coffee roasters makes it an absolute necessity for residents as well as coffee tourists of New York City. The legends at Parlor made their name serving up coffee from the back of a Brooklyn barbershop and its been nothing but upwards from there. Stop in at their roastery in Brooklyn for a cup.
Dot & Line: This small shop is the new speciality coffee oasis in the coffee desert of Boerum Hill. The shop has a traditional coffee menu, selling drinks made with beans from Heart Roasters in Portland, Oregon, as well as matcha lattes and cold brewed herbal infusions. The only seating is three barstools lined up against the front window, so Dot & Line is a place to get a carefully crafted cup of coffee and then get going.
Budin: a well known lifesaver for the late night Greenpoint reveler. Budin sits on Greenpoint Avenue, right in the heart of the happening Brooklyn neighborhood. The shop stays open late offering wine and beer and is usually a quiet and relaxed place to wait for your second wind. They sell many coffees ranging from the hipsters around the corner to Scandinavia’s Tim Wendelboe. Convicts recommends hitting Budin for an early evening pick me up, walking down the street to devour an unrivaled pizza from our good friends at Paulie Gee’s, and drinking the beer of your dreams at Torst to settle in and cap off the perfect Greenpoint trifecta.
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