Doing the coffee rounds in the Big Apple, yet again

It's been two years since I compiled Coffee and the City from my previous visit to New York, and I guess by default, another one was being created as each coffee was consumed on this latest foray into Manhattan's caffeinated wilderness. One thing for sure is that we came across a lot more places that serve up some seriously good espresso-based drinks. Whether we didn't get to them last time, or just more and more places that have opened are taking espresso seriously and really learning how to be meticulous with it.

It takes a little getting used to for many Aussies and Kiwi's when they start ordering coffees in the States. In many places if you ask for an espresso, you get a double shot. If you ask for a macchiato you may get one of two things. An espresso topped with fluffy milk froth, or an espresso topped up with microfoam (like a noisette). It can get frustrating when you know what you want and how you want it made, so the easiest approach, I found was to ask how they did (for example) their macchiato. It is my first choice, after all. And when in doubt, order and espresso with a side of steamed milk. That way you can do your best at making it yourself.

Jack's Coffee

138 W 10th Street
West Village 10014
212 929 0821
website
Jack's Coffee on Urbanspoon
This was a place we found when coming over from Brooklyn to have lunch in the city. It's a small neighbourhood cafe that's quiet, offers a few edibles and it's main drawcard is the stir brew coffee. It's a brewing process that enhances the flavour of coffee by a mechanical stirring action, ensuring the grounds are uniformly mixed, saturated and blended. That's all great, but brew is never my first choice. When it comes to the espresso, they pull triple shot ristrettos for each serving, resulting in what equals a double shot in volume, just more body. As a macchiato it's pretty damn fine and bursting with strength. It comes in the smallest cup they have, the milk is steamed and the cup is filled almost to the top.

Check the website for other locations in and out of the city.

Kava Cafe

803 Washington Street
Meatpacking District 10014
212 255 7495
website
Kava Cafe on Urbanspoon
Out of all the coffee shops we visited, this was the most convenient in location to any of the places we stayed in New York. Our third apartment was literally across the road, overlooking it from a few floors up. Pretty convenient when one glance down to the street could tell us whether they were open yet. Owner John Saric has Croatian roots, thus naming the cafe Kava, which means coffee. The go-to seemed to be espresso but for those that want it, French press, pour over and drip are available. The cortado and macchiato are made well, and the peaceful courtyard at the back is an ideal escape from the rat race outside.

Birch Coffee

56 7th Avenue
West Village 10011
212 929 1444
website
Birch Coffee on Urbanspoon
Kava may have been convenient, but it was Birch that we loved returning to. It's tiny and nabbing one of the few seats available can be a challenge. But it's worth it. Or do as most other people do. Take your coffee away. Although I much prefer to sit and enjoy my coffee from a proper cup or glass, not paper. Thanks to the hot weather it was all about cold brew, with just about everyone we spotted ordering an iced coffee. I never really bothered to try it as the macchiato or cortado was doing its magic every time (a couple of dozen?) we ordered one. And that's the thing, not only is the espresso here great, it was consistently made every time. No matter who made it. No burned coffee, no over heated milk.

I love the idea that the owners deliver their growlers of iced coffee by bike. They're all about sustainability at Birch, and for those Australians that can only drink flat whites, these guys can look after you.

Check the website for other locations.

Gimme! Coffee

288 Mott Street
Nolita 10012
212 266 4011
website
Gimme! Coffee on Urbanspoon
It was just the one time that we tried the coffee at Gimme!, being nothing more than a five-minute pit stop during a days exploration. I guess it was a case of right place at the right time. These guys cover all bases when it comes down to coffee. Espresso, pour over, drip etc. A well made macchiato and some fine doughnuts to have as well. Definitely worth the stop if you're in the neighbourhood.

Check the website for other locations in and out of the city.

Kaffe 1668

275 Greenwich Street
Tribeca 10007
212 693 3750
website
Kaffe 1668 on Urbanspoon
This is one of two cafe's by the same name that happen to be on Greenwich Street. The other is at number 401 a few blocks away. Kaffe 1668 gets its name from the year New Yorkers apparently decided they preferred coffee with their breakfast, over beer. The space here is very easy on the eye. Long, dark and narrow space that's minimal, industrial and oh-so-Lower Manhattan. A great variety of beans for the espresso. The macchiato was decent but came in a cup that was a tad too big, diluting the strength with the extra milk.

Birch Coffee

5 E 27th Street
Flatiron District 10015
212 686 1444
website
Birch Coffee on Urbanspoon
Anyone that's been to the Flatiron District may already know of the Gershwin Hotel, that fashionably trendy red building with teardrop light installations emerging from its façade. Adjacent to the lobby is another Birch Coffee outlet. It's the same deal with all of their coffee options and addition to that there's a decent selection of food items. There's even a small mezzanine room called "The Library" where you can chill with your beverage of choice, or even bring an old book to exchange with one already on the shelves.

Lost Weekend NYC

45 Orchard Street
Lower East Side 10002
917 261 2401
website
Lost Weekend NYC on Urbanspoon
Should Southern California collide with the Lower East Side, something tells me it may look a little like this place. Everyone in Manhattan needs a surfboard, some board shorts and Malin + Goetz grooming products, don't they? It's all up for grabs at Lost Weekend NYC, even books and surfboard wax. Did I mention coffee? Blue Bottle Coffee to be precise, the same stuff from SF, now also roasting across the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn. It's espresso and pour over all the way here on Orchard Street, with an ok macchiato for this pair from Oz. Ok because I thought the milk was a little overworked, which is forgivable, considering there's still so much shite in this town.

Macchiato Espresso Bar

141 E 44th Street
Midtown East 10017
212 867 6772
website
Macchiato Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon
We didn't reach this part of town very often, other than heading there to get to Grand Central. Coffee was desperately needed so a quick check on Beanhunter revealed this place just a block from the Chrysler Building.

It was like music to our ears. A couple of short macchiati are ordered, and what was made looked pretty good. I found the beans tasted a little over roasted but at least it was made more like a true macchiato, rather than piccolo latté/noisette or espresso topped with fluffy milk.. Not that I mind a piccolo or noisette.

Check website for other locations.

Mojo Coffee

128 Charles Street
West Village 10014
212 691 6656
website
Mojo Coffee on Urbanspoon
Stepping into this West Village cafe the first time felt a little like walking into an Apple advertisement. But then again, many cafe's look like this; Apple logo's on laptops as far as the eye can see, with people sipping on one coffee for over an hour. And no spare seats for people that just want a quick one. Sound familiar? With a name like Mojo, I was quietly hoping to get near perfect coffee, as Mojo in Wellington NZ does. Not that there's any connection between the two.

The macchiati here are made in the way I don't like them. A rather long extraction of coffee and a scoop of bubbly milk froth on top. The beans may come from shade-grown bushes with a rainforest alliance certification, but when a not-so-nice aftertaste is left lingering on the tongue, something hasn't been done right. If there's ever a next time, I'll go for a single espresso.

MyWayCup Coffee

102 E 23rd Street
Murray Hill 10010
646 368 1083
website
MyWayCup Coffee on Urbanspoon
Here's another one that was found on Beanhunter when the need for coffee was felt. This part of 23rd Street won't win any awards for beauty, and the jackhammering next door to the cafe wasn't helping either. The macchiati at myWayCup are also done the way I'm not a great fan of. Short espresso topped with foam. At least the milk has been worked to a smooth thick-ish creaminess rather than overworked to a bubbly overheated froth. Still, when they're using a bean like Intelligentsia, it's a great tasting coffee in the end.

Oslo Coffee Roasters

422 E 25th Street
Yorkville 10021
718 782 0332
website
Oslo Coffee Roasters on Urbanspoon
Brooklyn's Oslo Coffee was something I first tried a couple of years ago, so discovering an outlet in the quiet streets of the Upper East Side was a nice surprise. There are virtually no seats in this tiny cafe so sitting down with a coffee may not be an option. A few pastries and baked items grace the tiny display cabinet and just about any type of coffee you want is available. Love the macchiato here; perfectly sized, well poured and a good robust kick from those Oslo beans.

Check the website for other locations.

Check my other New York coffee posts here -

Coffee and The City

Brooklyn Coffee