Starbucks, you won. I’m hooked on coffee. When I was a little girl, I’d watch my mom drink coffee all day long. She taught me how to make coffee at a very young age, even if it was just mixing Folgers instant and hot water! As an adult, the day starts (before 6AM!) with a cup from the automatic drip machine in my kitchen with fat free half-and-half. The coffee is either Starbucks, Birch, or a blend from Fairway. From the “coffee guy” near my office to the Starbucks or Macchiato Espresso Bar nearby, my caffeine fix is never far away. I’d say I’m a 3-4 (large) cups per day coffee drinker. While fortunately it doesn’t affect my sleep, I tend not to drink much (coffee that is!) after 330PM. To get you through from morning alarm to afternoon, here are a few of my favorite coffee spots of the many great options around Manhattan:
The first Birch Coffee opened on East 27th Street (practically my backyard!) in 2009. My husband and I were excited that something new was coming to our (then) under-developed Nomad area. We grabbed the kids and went to check the new coffee shop in its original location in the Gershwin (now Evelyn) Hotel. We met Jeremy and Paul, the co-founders, who were very chill and explained their vision for Birch. They created a hip hangout in a space off the hotel’s lobby, with a “library” annex one flight up for their patrons to sit and stay a while. From this beginning and a relocation about a 1/2 block east on 27th Street, Birch has now grown to 8 locations- Well Done guys! The coffee is bold and authentic, made to order by friendly and knowledgeable baristas. Now also featuring a great cold brew and some tasty food options- as well as an online shop so you never run out at home-, the Birch team has created a great coffee-based experience. Go see the “Birch Guys”!
The guys from Wandering Bear Cold Brew met in grad school, each holding a mason jar full off coffee. They formed a friendship and began experimenting to concoct the perfect cold brew java. Just like that, a coffee business was born! The team sent me some of their finest to sample; it comes in an eco-friendly spouted box with their trademarked bear logo prominently featured. This elixir tastes like the secret marriage of coffee and creamy chocolate milk (NB- there is no chocolate in this product). The “Lil Brew Box”, checking in at 36oz, had no chance in our house- it was gone before the pleasant caffeine rush wore off. Give the Bear a shot. PS- office delivery is available for that mini-fridge under your desk.
Toby’s Estate is a Brooklyn-based, small batch coffee roaster. They have four locations, and their 160 Fifth Avenue location has become one of our Saturday morning destinations. Located in a store front attached to Club Monaco- and spilling into its book section- the spot exudes coffee-culture hip with just the right flannel quotient (come on, this is Manhattan, not Brooklyn). I particularly love the latte’s here- bold and steamy. I recently met some of the Toby’s team at their booth during the recent New York Coffee Expo. They offered a sweet and zippy cold brew served with a splash milk and simple syrup. SOLD! Toby’s, keep it coming.
Where Wandering Bear’s potion exudes the flavor of chocolate, cocoa is one the “Two Beans” featured at this coffee and chocolate emporium. Also boasting 4 locations (the magic coffee number?), their newest shop located at 254 Park Avenue South- and original location at 100 Park Avenue- are both dangerously close to my home base. The espresso-bar atmosphere encourages patrons to linger over their espresso and pastry (with a short glass of water as a classic touch) and peruse the delectable cases of truffles and other chocolate savories. Yum Squared here my friends. The “Illy” brand espresso is classic Italiano, creamy, hot, and worth savoring. You’ll be hooked and happy to have another go-to caffeine haunt with something for your sweet tooth too.
What’s your go-to Cup O’Joe? Cheers!