Best Coffee in New York City

NYC baristas operate on a different level. The speed at which they pump out cortados and other specialty beverages is simply mesmerizing. A local told me it’s because they don’t want to be yelled at by New Yorkers. Bottom line: wherever you are, a very well-crafted cup made from finely roasted beans is never far away.

Here’s my small list of favourite cafes (which will continue to grow each time I visit NYC). If you only have time to visit two coffee shops, get to Sweatshop and El Rey.

Cafe Ost

441 E 12th St | 212-477-5600 $$ | Coffee House

@ostcafenyc | Visit website

An Instagrammer's favourite thanks to marble tables and European-tiled floors. The wide shot reveals a less charming space with black leather booths and a mish-mash of wall hangings. Regardless, this is a true neighbourhood spot with friendly, unpretentious service and yummy PT espresso.

La Colombe Torrefaction

400 Lafayette St | 212-677-5834 $$ | Coffee Shop

@lacolombecoffee | Visit website

This successful roasting company has locations in big cities across America, but their cafes and espresso beverages are as charming as an independent’s might be. Served in black and white china cups with saucers, this beautifully-poured coffee comes quick and often with a smile.

El Rey Coffee Bar & Luncheonette

100 Stanton St | 212-260-3950 $ | Mexican Fusion / Coffee Shop

@elreynewyork | Visit website

Chicklet-sized coffee shop & restaurant with serious charm and highly-inventive vegetable-forward dishes. In fact, the food here is so on point (and beautiful) you may want to return several times for brunch, lunch or dinner. Favourite bites include the charred radicchio salad with house made ricotta and aleppo honey and the vegan chicharrones with cashew crema, hot sauce and chammy sauce.

Happy Bones

394 Broome St | 212-673-3754 $$ | Coffee Shop

@happybonesnyc | Visit website

Small trendy space frequented by well-dressed locals serving consistently great coffee, latte art always included. Light marble tables line one side of the skylight-lit room, but don’t count on a seat as there are only three of them.


232 Metropolitan Ave | $$ | Australian Espresso Bar

| Visit website

Hidden gem coffee shop from two Aussie mates who run a design studio in the back office. White brick walls and a communal table define their minimalist space in which doughnuts, excellent espresso and Melbourne-style snacks (including a vegemite sandwich) are served. Their own creations, including funky ball-cap-brimmed hats, are for sale in their mini retail area.

Toby's Estate (Brooklyn)

125 N 6th St | 347-457-6160 $$ | Coffee Shop

@tobysbrooklyn | Visit website

With three locations in the city, Toby's is one of the most highly-recommended coffee houses in New York City. Their biggest and most impressive cafe, also home of their roastery, is located in Williamsburg. This is also where they hold regular public cuppings and private barista classes. If you're hunting for a cafe to work from, head here and know they also offer a small bites menu including things on toast and artisan pastries.