What exactly is a unique New York coffee experience?
It’s a cafe that offers something beyond just a good cup of coffee. The extra something may be the atmosphere, a unique drink, or new style of brewing, but it’s got something that sets it apart from other places with equally good coffee.
We’ve read plenty of great articles listing the best coffee shops around the city, so rather try to make our own list we will highlight unique places that are worth a special trip. Whether you’re a traveler in NYC for the first or a coffee lover looking for someplace new these are all worth a visit.
Let’s get to it.
To start this off, we’ll introduce you to a distinctive variation of coffee: The deconstructed latte. This drink was born in Seattle but brought to NYC by Coffee Project.
As you might guess by the name, it’s made by separating the individual parts of a Cafe Latte. The purpose is to individually taste each part and also to showcase their milk, which is pasteurized at a lower temperature.
Your drink arrives on a tray with three glasses on it. One with espresso only, another with milk only, and a third with a standard Latte. You’ll also get a small glass of water and a little sweet.
Having each ingredient separately gives you a chance to taste the individual flavors before they’re all mixed together. It’s surprising what a difference this can make. Drinking the espresso alone makes subtleties of the coffee’s flavor stand out more than usual when drinking the finished latte. Going in order (espresso, milk, latte) brings out different subtleties.
Beyond the deconstructed latte, it’s also a great cafe in a cool neighborhood with all the standard drinks. Plus, a pour over bar and friendly baristas.
Let’s continue this coffee trip with a look at Roasting Plant over on the Lower East Side (there’s another one in the West Village, too).
What’s unique here is how they roast, grind, and brew their coffee beans. This isn’t just a slightly different brewer or machine, but something totally different from everyone else…
Step inside and you’ll see a wall of bean options, along with a roaster in the window hard at work roasting the beans.
So far, not too out of the ordinary for a quality coffee shop, but, look up at the tubes sticking out of the coffee area. Each coffee container is connected to a tube that sucks the beans up and delivers them to the brewer. Once in the brewer, they’re ground and brewed according to your drink.
You choose your bean and brew strength, then watch the magic happen. You can watch the beans get sucked out of a tube, ground, and brewed fresh without any human interaction.
Definitely one of a kind…
Brooklyn Roasting Company
Now let’s make our way to Brooklyn.
Just across the Brooklyn or Manhattan bridge is DUMBO (down under the Manhattan bridge overpass), a neighborhood that’s known a creative hotspot right now. Old warehouses along the water and red brick roads have been converted into new companies that give the area a unique vibe.
Inside of one of those old warehouses, you’ll find Brooklyn Roasting Company’s first location, which used to be both their coffee roasting facility and primary location. After expanding dramatically over the last few years they’re moving roasting to the Brooklyn Navy Yard but keeping the main cafe in DUMBO.
Anyway, this is great cafe visit and an awesome location if you’ve never been to the neighborhood. Nearby Brooklyn Bridge Park is a great visit after exploring the neighborhood a little bit.
Over in Williamsburg is Devoción, a specialty Colombian coffee roaster housed in a fantastic space.
Step inside and the first thing you see is a coffee roaster inside a room with large glass windows that give you a view of the process. Enter the cafe area and the open space is bathed in light from the glass ceiling.
In the back is a wall covered in greenery with seating below, plus more tables throughout the cafe.
Beyond the space, Devoción stands out for their coffee. All beans are sourced from Colombia, shipped while still green and then roasted in the Williamsburg shop. They emphasize their direct relationships with farmers, who they pay above-average wages, and are able to get the best beans from year round.
They make incredible pour overs, plus all the usual espresso-based drinks in a fantastic location.
Our last coffee experience is going to take you a little out of the way… but it’s totally worth it.
Extraction Lab sits inside Industry City, a large Industrial complex filled with creative food companies and other unique businesses. In fact, Joshua went out there to check out the city’s first avocado bar (which you should also visit if you get a chance) and stumbled upon Extraction Lab.
They manufacture steampunk brewing equipment used by a lot of specialty coffee companies around the world and inside they showcase it and make coffee with it. The original machine makes individual cups using a computer-controlled process that allows a great deal of control… and also looks really cool. Stopping by allows you to watch the machine in action and taste great coffee’s and tea’s made with it.
There Are Lots Of Amazing New York Coffee Options
Hopefully, we’ve shown some of the city’s best coffee experiences. Believe it or not, New York was a little slow to embrace the specialty coffee movement, but over the last ten years, that’s totally changed. There are fantastic coffee shops all over the city and many specialty roasters, like Blue Bottle, Stumptown, and Intelligentsia, have locations there.
So, you’ll have no trouble finding great New York coffee shops.
But, these are all places that go beyond that. They offer great coffee, plus something extra that you won’t find in other cafes. Try out as many as you can and be sure to let us know any that we missed.