There are plenty of NYC coffee shops serving up high-quality java; however, for those wanting a truly experiential sip you’ll need to do a bit more digging.
Luckily, I did the research for you.
Hey, I’m definitely not complaining about having to drink so much coffee.
In fact, sipping coffee at local cafes is one of my favorite things to do in NYC in fall and winter.
And you’ll want to hop on the caffeine train too once you start exploring the following unique NYC coffee shops!
2 Berry St / Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Along with selling affordable 100% American-made accessories — mainly crafted in New York — their coffee drinks are both amazing and creative. Purchase one of their notebooks made with 100% Rainforest Alliance-certified paper and order a “Camp Fire Latte.” The drink is laced with smoked maple syrup and pairs perfectly with a locally-made sticky bun or maple donut.
Another option: the curative Coconut Matcha Latte. Yum!
1729 1st Avenue / Yorkville, Manhattan
This chill cafe serves up strong coffee and good vibes (literally; it’s a major part of their brand!). The bright yellow interior uplifts while the art-adorned walls inspire. Their Turkish coffee pairs deliciously with Moroccan dishes like shakshuka (shown below), and pita za’atar and tabouleh. Wi-Fi and a big front window make it the perfect place to spend an afternoon.
51 5th Avenue (Park Slope, Brooklyn) & 269 Court Street (Cobble Hill, Brooklyn)
Two of life’s greatest pleasures come together at this decadent cafe, where chocolate is infused in everything from the coffee to the cakes to the booze. It’s a cozy space full of marble tables, atop which your server can bring you a Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout, chocolate fondue, chocolate port, moccachino and more.
Our pick: the “Cafe Torino” blending dark hot chocolate with an espresso shot and finished with a foam top.
For conscious drinkers, the Chocolate Room uses Brooklyn Roasting Company’s Fair Trade Certified, organic and locally-roasted beans.
4. Fine & Raw
288 Seigel Street / Bushwick, Brooklyn
This chocolate factory crafts raw and half-raw treats made at 140-degrees or cooler, all in an open factory that makes it easy to see the process. By doing this, the chocolate retains its terroir so you can actually taste where it comes from and the process is fascinating to watch. We recommend pairing a lucuma-laced bar with their mocha for a fabulous afternoon treat.
5. Cocoa Bar
21 Clinton Street / Lower East Side, Manhattan
Can you tell we like chocolate? This small cafe serves some of the most delicious sandwiches — perfect for a working lunch. If your sweet tooth is calling out, order the “Chocolatté.” The drink is mocha-laced with hard chocolate melted into steamed milk with espresso. Choose between mint chocolate, cinnamon, white, spicy or dark chocolate for your flavor.
At night, it becomes a cozy wine bar (that also serves a mean Espresso Martini). In fact, no laptops are allowed at the counter after 7pm.
6. SugarCube Dessert & Coffee
10-16 50th Avenue / Long Island City, Queens
This tasty concept shop pairs strong coffees (love their iced mocha!) with desserts that could be works of art. Owner Peter Zaharatos is an architect, who puts his passion for design into his passion for Greek-influenced pastries and coffee. Try one of the 3D chocolate bars — made with a 3D printer — Greek ekmek or olive oil mascarpone gelato with a steaming latte topped with adorable bear art.
Whatever you order, expect the design to be just as intriguing as the taste.
243 Bleecker Street (West Village, Manhattan) & 9402 4th Avenue (Bay Ridge, Brooklyn)
Serving the neighborhood since 1974 — and still in the same family— Pasticceria Rocco is where you go when you’re craving traditional Italian pastries and cookies the size of your head. We love sitting in their naturally lit atrium sipping one of their crazy flavored lattes, with options like Red Velvet, Vanilla Cupcake and Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie.
They’re pretty darn good at their latte art too, as seen below!
239 E 5th Street / East Village, Manhattan
This is where you dip into java heaven through the “Deconstructed Latte”: a shot of espresso, milk and a latte, each in a separate glass. By having your latte like this, you’re able to better taste the unique flavors of each ingredient. And don’t think the milk is anything to skip over; it’s from Battenkill Valley Creamery and pasteurized at a low temperature to preserve the natural flavors.
The vibe is chill with lots of wood tables and natural light, and the “Nitro Flight” is worth making another trip for.
Multiple locations throughout Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn
The sustainability-focused Toby’s Estate hails from Australia, where its popularity allowed it to expand overseas to offer a delicious coffee gift to NYC. Our favorite of their outposts is their original Williamsburg location, housed in a former meatpacking plant. Here beans are roasted in-house and served in a rustic wood-accented space with lots of bright whites.
You’ll find a small Australian museum of sorts too, with shelves showcasing everything from a Weet-Bix tin to a cricket ball. While you can certainly get a mean flat white and art-adorned latte, Toby’s Estate is a great spot for sampling single-origin coffees to really taste the terroir of what you’re drinking.
At their West Village and Brooklyn cupping labs, you can also take a class for some java education. Focuses range from Home Brew Methods to Latte Art and beyond.
10. Underwest Donuts
638 W 47th Street (Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan) / 2 Penn Plaza (Midtown, Manhattan)
Located within the Westside Highway Carwash (the original location, anyway), this Instagram-worthy cafe celebrates the perfect marriage of donuts with coffee.
Can you get more Americana?
Their addictive donuts come in three categories — glazed, sugar and plain — with creative flavors like Coco Raspberry, Vanilla Lavender, Maple Waffle and Espresso Bean. The photogenic eats pair perfectly with their hot caffeinated beverages. Along with the standards (the cortado is delicious!), they serve up a sinful spicy hot.
This is a great stop for pick-me-up after visiting NYC’s nearby Intrepid Museum!
Are there any unique NYC coffee shops we missed?
*Featured image via Engin Akyurt/Pixabay. This post originally appeared on NYC Photo Journeys.
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