It seems counterintuitive to do a coffee crawl in the middle of July on a day when the heat index soared to 105 degrees, but alas, that’s just what we did this weekend (subbing in iced alternatives when necessary).
We’re going to greatly miss to newest Stumptown outpost on nearby West 8th Street, but we rounded up a few new favorites that should keep us caffeinated once we’re in our new digs:
Bluebird Coffee Shop occupies a little sliver of space on East 1st Street—a space so small that if you blink you might miss it.
On a sunny day, with the windows open, it’s a relaxing spot to enjoy a perfectly-pulled Counter Culture espresso. You also can’t help but feel cheery, sipping out of a robin’s egg blue demitasse. This is our pick for a quaint neighborhood spot—and at $1.75 for a regular cup of coffee, it also happens to be the least expensive.
A little further south, on Ludlow Street (yes, the Lower East Side, but still in-range of our new apartment and thus, included here), is Caffe Vita, a sleek Seattle transplant.
Vita doesn’t offer the same cozy feel as Bluebird, nor a space to sit and work, but we love their antique Gothot roaster in the back and the retro La Marzocco GS2 upfront. In fact, Caffe Vita was the first coffee shop to actually roast beans in Manhattan.
Their Kyoto-style iced coffee was perfectly smooth and refreshing on a hot day and their brewing set-up is artful unto its own, with its sleek glass and metal orbs and tubes.
It’s hard to go back to regular cold-brew after having a perfect cup of Kyoto-style coffee—but it’s not an undertaking for the faint of heart, given that 14 hours of brewing yields less than a gallon of coffee!
Our best all-around pick is a newcomer to the neighborhood, but not to great coffee. Third Rail Coffee just celebrated their fourth anniversary on Sullivan Street, but they also just celebrated the opening of their newest shop on East 10th Street, just across from St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery.
It’s a beautiful shop that looks like an expanded version of the original. Clean lines, nice seating, and a friendly approach make it a fast favorite. Of course, a well-made latte is the true draw here.
While this round-up isn’t meant to be comprehensive, we also tried Ost Cafe, a larger shop that also serves beer and wine, Bowery Coffee, a cute shop nestled along the bustle of East Houston Street, and Abraço, which we can’t recommend based on sour milk in our cortado and a sour attitude from the barista to boot. Ninth Street Espresso is another great option in the East Village with two locations, as well as a West side location in Chelsea Market.
– Laura and Ryan