Surviving the hustle and bustle of New York City requires a few things: a thick skin, street savvy (and style), and coffee. It should come as no surprise then that in the city that never sleeps, the caffeinated necessity is readily available on just about every block. Locating a cup of coffee isn't the hard part, though. The challenge is when it comes time to cut through the street cart and coffee chain noise to find the java with a little more substance (and a little less flavored syrup). To kick start your quest for the best cup, we've called out some of our favorite cafes in the city. Keep scrolling to find out where to strike coffee gold, no matter how you take your morning Joe.
1. Joe Coffee
If you’ve ever been bristled by an overworked barista, head to Joe Coffee where the service stands on par with the excellent brew. The shop maintains a seasonal rotation of beans, roasts 100 percent of their own coffee in Brooklyn, and remains committed to using those beans purchased directly from farmers. So if the coffee doesn’t make you feel good (spoiler alert: it will), the fair trade practices will. With 10 locations around Manhattan, there really is no excuse to skip this chic spot.
10 locations throughout Manhattan plus one in Brooklyn; joenewyork.com
2. Little Collins
Named after a busy street in Melbourne, Australia, Little Collins is one of a few Australian cafes popping up around Manhattan. The city’s first Modbar, a machine rich in both extensive tech features and chic aesthetics, is responsible for the shop’s exceptional espresso bevvies, which are served in Down Under styles like the piccolo and flat white.
667 Lexington Avenue; littlecollinsnyc.com
3. Box Kite
What started as a tiny shop in Manhattan’s East Village has since grown into a second, even smaller counter-seating-only location on the Upper West Side. But what Box Kite’s locations lack in physical size, they make up for in bold, high-quality espresso drinks thanks to proficient and focused baristas. The shop also boasts top-notch brunch and tasting menus, and if you’re not feeling a standard cup of Joe, try a coffee cocktail.
115 St. Marks Place and 128 West 72nd Street; boxkitenyc.com
4. Culture Espresso
If you find yourself quality coffee-barren Midtown, you’ll find relief at Culture Espresso. The art-adorned shop serves strong and dark espresso drinks, but, even as straight shots, there’s nothing bitter about them. Cortadas are a crowd-pleaser here, as well as the homemade chocolate chip cookies rumored to rival even Levain.
72 West 38th Street; cultureespresso.com
5. Blue Bottle
High standards of brewing excellence propelled Blue Bottle to star status in the artisan coffee scene. In addition to New York City, the California-based company has locations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and even Tokyo. You can find pretty much any style of coffee you desire at Blue Bottle, including made-to-order drip coffee from the in-house pour-over stations-- and with beans that are roasted in under 48 hours, you’re guaranteed a fresh tasting cup every time.
8 locations throughout Manhattan; bluebottlecoffee.com
6. Ninth Street Espresso
If your tastes don’t fall in line with the pumpkin-spiced-chocolate-double-whipped fancy coffee drink craze, head to Ninth St. Espresso where the baristas place emphasis on simplicity and high-quality traditional coffee drinks. The East Village location remains beloved, even though sparse in decor, because the classic drinks and strong, smooth espresso is a beacon of light to those adverse to highly-syruped coffee concoctions.
5 locations throughout Manhattan; ninthstreetespresso.com