Its a Monday morning, that post lunch snooze, midweek crisis, or that wee-hour flight you have to catch - that aromatic caffeine concoction is the solution to it all. A typical New Yorker on the go, is easy to spot - that hurried pace, all wired-up, breakfast to go, and hot/iced coffee on hand, this completes the look for a long day ahead. So, here is our pick for the best coffee shops in Midtown Manhattan.
1. Culture Espresso: 72 West 38th Street
This is a coffee shop for the people who take their morning cuppa seriously. At Culture Espresso, they put in time, love, and attention to detail along every step of the way, from the bean to the bar. Sampling coffee from different coffee growers and roasters, is part of the culture behind “Culture Espresso”. Featuring one coffee grower at a time, they have created this aromatic spread of caffeinated beans, to make your mornings coffeelicious. Try their featured grower roast of the month, and their freshly made in-house signature chocolate chip and oatmeal cranberry cookies to go with it. For that mid-day craving, bite into their Figgy Sandwich, Happy Hen or their house salad, and I am sure your taste buds will thank you for it! Stepping into Culture Espresso is a coffee and art blend like no other, the cafe features a rotating exhibit of art and photography by local and international artists too.
2. Gregory’s Coffee, 327 Park Avenue
When it comes to beans and brews, no one knows better than the “Gregulars” whose favourite Midtown haunt is Gregory’s coffee. Pick from signature drip blends like Gotham Blend & Gregs House, their single origins like Gitsei, Grupo Changaimina, cold brews like Toddy Iced Coffee Blend, and their dark and delicious Night Vision Espresso 2.0 - to keep you going all day and all night long! Don’t forget to pair your seductive caffeine cuppa with their buttery croissants, crunchy biscotti, or a freshly made sandwich. Grab your favourite nibbles before they are gone, as Gregory’s change their menu often, to keep things fresh.
3. Rize Coffee, 122 E 42nd Street
In the heart of Midtown weekday mayhem, is Rize Coffee, a quaint little coffee place with an almost European feel to it. It is a great alternative to the mundane Starbucks coffee. This little cafe, steps away from Grand Central station, is great for a quick fuel up or a chatty after work spot. Brewing beans from Stumptown, regulars rave about their lattes and foam art, scones, croissants, and muffins to go with, and free wi-fi too.
4. Lucid Cafe, 311 Lexington Avenue
Big things come in small packages, Lucid Cafe’s coffee sure packs a punch, and fills this tiny little cafe with the aroma of coffee, as you wait for your cuppa in sweet anticipation. Sip on coffee, pair it with their moist and delicious corn muffins, and take your bag of Counter Culture coffee, to recreate the magic. The only downside to this place is space - with just 3 tiny tables, this is your ideal pick-up coffee place, but one that’s worth josling for in their tiny cafe.
5. Joe Coffee Shop, Grand Central Station
This family owned, small hole in the wall place in Grand Central Terminal - Joe’s Coffee has the distinction of “some of the best-trained barista’s in the biz”, as said in imbibe magazine. Can’t get enough of the coffee, want to share it with your peeps at work? You can have your very own custom Joe coffee bar at an event. With a long list of top-notch companies to their clientele, they sure know their brews. At Joe’s they not only fix-you-up with your caffeine shot, take their classes open to the public, and learn the art of brewing too! Coffee is all about sharing, so spread the love with Joe’s gift cards, or their signature blends which they churn out regularly in partnership with brewers around the globe. Its good to know that its cash only and don’t walk away from their long lines, it moves fast and its worth the wait.
6. Stumptown Coffee, Lower West Side
This is an institution of coffee lovers, this is a place that grows on you. The people behind Stumptown Coffee, live and breath coffee and all of its aromatics. While quality is key and coffee is the heart of this place, building long lasting relationships from the farmer to the folks who walk in the door each day, is what makes this place special. Its the community feel and the work they do in this area, and the name that is tribute to Portland’s logging legacy, has definitely earned its cult status for all things coffee. Try their speciality drip coffee, Hollar Mountain Organic espresso, the macchiato and the chemex. Located inside the Ace Hotel, this slice of coffee haven has its downside of being cash only, not enough seating area, and being dimly lit - but my friend forgo the bad for the awesomeness this place has to offer!
7. Blue Bottle Cafe, Rockefeller Center
Started by a freelance musician and a self-proclaimed coffee lunatic, decided to open a place for true coffee fanatics looking to savor the freshest roast coffee. When the owner vouched to sell the freshest he was not kidding, the coffee you sip on was made out of beans that were roasted less than 48 hours ago, it cannot get fresher than this, can it? To add to their repertoire they use the finest organic, pesticide free, shade-grown beans and the unique name was in the honor of Kolshitsky’s heroics dating back to the 1600’s, when he bought coffee for the turks and opened Central Europe’s first coffee house - The Blue Bottle. Today, his legacy lives on in the underground concourse at Rockefeller Center and their several other locations around the city and the country. You cannot leave the Blue Bottle Cafe without trying their cold brews. Their New Orleans and single origin iced coffees, and espresso is to die for. Don’t be fooled by the pretentious baristas in their matching aprons and fedora hats, this underground hidden gem is worth the trek.
8. Financier, Grand Central Station
Located inside the Grand Central Station, the mint green and white decor that runs across the store, and their signature floor tiles, catches the eye. The brainchild of restaurateur Peter Poulakakos and his Executive Pastry Chef, Eric Bedoucha; Financier's superior quality pastries and coffee is like no other. Order your latte and you are served with their tiny signature Financier pastry to with it. Their pastel colored macaroon selection, almost melts in your mouth. You can a buy a bag of their Financier in lemon, almond or chocolate flavors. Their coffee is of the highest quality, which is so, since they roast their beans, package their beans when still warm, and send it out to their 11 locations all within 24 hours of roasting, ensuring its freshness.
9. Kahve, 9th avenue
A coffee lounge for Hell’s Kitchen coffee aficionados, Kahve is a trendy hip coffee place, named after the Turkish word for coffee, of course! A cafe that offers more than just your regular lattes and cappuccino; their menu features an eclectic mix of Turkish, Cuban, and a bunch of rotating roasts. Their main focus being artisanal coffee beans, Kahve was started by the young and dashing Erol and Alex. Their coffee board has Zebra Mocha, White Chocolate Raspberry Mocha, Banana Chip Frappe, on offer apart from their signature brews and their delicious oatmeal raisin cookies.
10. 9th Street Espresso, 109 East 56th Street
Of their several locations spread across the city, 9th Street Espresso is located in the Lombardy Hotel in Midtown East. This is not your cup of coffee if you are looking for that drizzle of hazelnut or shot of vanilla. This cafe is all about pure strong caffeine in their signature coffee mugs, after all they have mastered the art of brewing coffee over the course of 10 years! 9th Street Espresso is the place to be on that Monday morning when you need that strong Espresso shot with/without milk that come in three different sizes.
That’s a wrap on our quest for the best caffeine cafe’s in Midtown Manhattan. Guess that’s enough caffeine to get you going for a long time !! For more “Coffee Talk” look no further than the Coffee Blog run by a fellow coffee lover.
“Happiness is a cup of coffee and a really good book."