November 22, 2019

A Specialty Coffee Shop Tour of Manhattan


A visit to Manhattan is on many people’s bucket lists, and with good reason. After all, it’s where one can find iconic landmarks such as the Empire State Building, Times Square, and the theatres of Broadway – all within kilometres of each other. 

Despite being the smallest of the boroughs, Manhattan punches well above its weight in terms of nightlife, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Here, there’s plenty to keep both visitors and residents busy.

Almost two million people call the densely populated Island of Manhattan home, which means that no matter where you are, you’ll never be more than a block or two away from a specialty café or coffee shop. Here are a few worth visiting if you’re in the area.

Lee este artículo en español Un Recorrido Por Las Tiendas de Café Especial de Manhattan

A Beautiful Day in Downtown Manhattan. Credit: Ryan Uy

Why These Five?

Choosing five coffee shops from the thousands you can visit in New York is no easy task. 

I’ve made my selection based on personal experience, and I believe these five are a good representation of the different kinds of coffee experiences you can have in Manhattan.

There’s more to explore beyond what’s on this list, so be prepared to venture further into Manhattan to find others worth visiting.

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The Fearless Girl Statue is just a few minutes away from La Colombe Coffee Roasters.

1. La Colombe Coffee Roasters

La Colombe is no stranger to specialty coffee, and have been purveying it since the early nineties. Their Wall Street branch is a great place to start your day should you ever find yourself in Downtown Manhattan, and they have a litany of coffee offerings to choose from. Enjoy their signature draft latte, which is a drink said to be invented here. You can also enjoy their coffee at home, as La Colombe offers monthly coffee gift descriptions ranging from three months to a year. With this gift subscription, you get a new coffee to enjoy every four weeks.

Where67 Wall Street, New York, NY, 10005
AtmosphereCool and classy
Espresso MachineLa Marzocco GB5 (3 Group)
GrinderMahlkönig TA 6S, Nuova Simonelli Mythos
Coffee OfferingsFilter coffee, espresso, draft latte, and nitro coffee
Must-Try DrinkBlack and Tan – a cold latte mixed with cold brew
Retail OfferingsBeans from La Colombe, as well as canned and flavoured draft lattes
Food & Other DrinksAn assortment of pastries 
Nearby SightsVisit Delmonicos Steak House, the Fearless Girl statue as well as the Charging Bull statue on Wall Street

Looking out from Ludlow Coffee Supply. Credit: Ryan Uy

2. Ludlow Coffee Supply

This café on the Lower East Side is a hidden treasure, and has been featured in New York Magazine and Time Out. You can pop in for a cup of their signature Bourbon Vanilla Latte or a simple cup of drip coffee, while looking out the windows to view New York passing you by. Many people enjoy working in its cosy environment, and should you linger into the evening, you can finish off your day with a selection of wine and beer. As it’s just a short walk from famous sights such as Katz’s Deli and Russ and Daughters, you can also use it as a base from which to explore the surrounding area.

Where176 Ludlow Street, Nueva York, NY, 10002
AtmosphereChill and comfy
Espresso MachineLa Marzocco GB5 (2 Group)
Coffee OfferingsEspresso, drip and classic milk based coffees, as well as signature lattes
Must-Try DrinkBourbon Vanilla Signature Latte
Retail OfferingsMainliner (filter blend) and Black Top (espresso blend) beans
Food & Other DrinksPastries, avocado toast, and granola bowls
Nearby SightsVisit Sara D. Roosevelt Park – a public park with an ice rink, basketball court, and soccer field

A Busy Day at Stumptown. Credit: Ryan Uy

3. Stumptown Coffee Roasters

Stumptown’s Greenwich Village outpost is a haven for any serious coffee lover. Originally founded in Portland in 1999, it’s gone on to win many awards, including Roast Magazine’s Roaster Of The Year in 2006. With a wide range of medium roasts from Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Africa to choose from, you’re sure to be spoilt for choice when deciding what to drink. You can also attend daily and weekly public cuppings at their Training Lab next door. 

Where30 W 8th Street, New York, NY, 10011
AtmosphereBusy and vibrant
Espresso MachineLa Marzocco Strada
GrinderMazzer and Ditting
Coffee OfferingsDrip, pour over, espresso, and nitro cold brew
Must-Try DrinkNitro Cold Brew
Retail OfferingsBeans and assorted merchandise items, including mugs and tumblers
Food & Other DrinksPastries from Ovenly and Supermoon Bakehouse are available on the premises
Nearby SightsVisit Washington Square Park, the Mark Twain House, as well as New York University

You’ll find the best of Colombian coffee at Devoción. Credit: Liz Clayman

4. Devoción

Specializing in serving specialty Colombian coffee, Devoción’s outpost near the Flatiron Building is a beautiful space filled with natural light and lush foliage. Coffee is flown fresh from where it’s farmed and processed in Bogotá – directly to their Brooklyn roastery. This means you enjoy a truly farm-to-cup experience guaranteeing the freshest coffee. Choose between special or limited edition pour overs to get a taste, while enjoying the various cultural events regularly being held in the space. When you’re ready for a change of scene, swing by 27th Street where the owners have also opened a bar. It exclusively serves Cascara, which is a tea brewed from coffee cherries.

Where25 E 20th Street, New York, NY, 10003
AtmosphereOpen and earthy
Espresso MachineSlayer Espresso (3 Group)
GrinderCeado E37K
Coffee OfferingsDrip, pour over, espresso, cold brew, and nitro cold brew
Must-Try DrinkPour Over Special or Limited Edition
Retail OfferingsBeans and assorted merchandise items, including camper mugs and tote bags
Food & Other DrinksPastries from Le Coq, Ceci-Cela, and King Street Baking are available on the premises
Nearby SightsVisit Madison Square Park, which was first opened in 1847 and boasts plenty of art and horticultural sights

A Day at Birch Coffee. Credit: Ryan Uy

5. Birch Coffee

With its homey interior and a beautifully customized La Marzocco Strada machine taking centre stage, Birch Coffee serves up great cups of coffee in a quiet and intimate setting. At this coffee shop the baristas learn your name and order, so you feel like a regular almost immediately. You can also visit the Birch Coffee Education Center and take a few classes on everything from cupping to where your coffee comes from, or consult with the owners on how to open your own coffee shop.

Where171 E 88th Street, New York, NY, 10128
AtmosphereHomey and inviting
Espresso MachineLa Marzocco Strada
Coffee OfferingsEspresso, Americano, cold brew, drip, and more
Must-Try DrinkLatte or Flat White
Retail OfferingsAll Birch Coffee Beans available in store can be purchased
Food & Other DrinksPastries from Le Coq, Ceci-Cela, and King Street Baking are available on the premises
Nearby SightsVisit Central Park or Museum Row, a street where you’ll find both the Guggenheim and the Met

Whether you call Manhattan your home or h appen to be passing through as a visitor, it will be well worth your while to explore the above coffee shops. With so many more in the neighbourhood, consider it the beginning of a lifelong adventure that could take you across all of New York.

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Featured photo: The Manhattan Skyline at dawn. Feature photo credit: Ryan Uys.

All views within this opinion piece belong to the guest writer, who is a local of Manhattan, and do not reflect Perfect Daily Grind’s stance.

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