In Search of Good Coffee…NYC

Since travelling we have decided that we are now self-proclaimed coffee snobs. We don’t know that much about coffee but we know what we like and what is up to the standards back home in Australia. I think we are incredibly spoilt with good coffee in Australia and not just in Melbourne or Sydney, Brisbane has some great coffee shops like John Mills Himself, Menagerie, Plum Tucker and my friend’s cafe which I am sure it is amazing Como Espresso (serving Toby’s Estate).

It seems that America doesn’t matter if you are from South America or North America there is a weird allegiance to Starbucks and their burnt beans that we just will never understand. Independent coffee shops in Australia do much better than Starbucks. Australia has 25 Starbucks compared to the 11,100 approx. stores throughout the US and probably increasing. We hate Starbucks. Their beans are terrible and their soya milk is a vanilla, sugary mess. Together, it is a big cup of absolute SHIT! Sorry, NOT SORRY!

Anyhoo, moving on, to continue our love of a good cup of coffee we decided to hunt down some good coffee in NYC. As no one really knows what a Piccolo is, unless you visit an Australian owed cafe, we have resorted to getting Cortados/Macchiatos. Everyone seems to make their Cortados/Macchiatos different. Some make them just like Piccolos and others make them like lattes. Now we ask every time before we order and then if it isn’t like the Piccolo then we ask them to alter it. They are usually happy too to it as we ask. Which we love! The other great thing is that most place have soya milk but watch out some may have vanilla or very sugary soya milk.

MudPark Coffee

Location: First Park (Houston & 1st Ave), New York, NY 10003, United States

We found this little place under the 15 best coffee places in East Village. We hit it up and the barista was a delight to deal with, as sometimes you get a bit of attitude from baristas in NYC. As stated above most cafes won’t know what a Piccolo is and their Cortados vary cafe to cafe. We asked the barista how he made his Cortado and it was larger then we would like so we asked him to only half fill the cup with milk (soya for me) and he was happy to do so. It ended up being the perfect amount of milk to coffee ratio. Unfortunately, the soya milk was sweetened and a bit yuk. I really hate sweet soya milk. This ruined the experience a bit. The coffee had a hint of bitterness and a decent medium strength coffee. I would like to try again but just get an espresso next time. Dave enjoyed his coffee but did find it a bit more caffeinated then other places.

Score: 3.5/5

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Bluebird Coffee

Location: 72 E 1st Street, New York, NY, 10002

This place is across the road from MudPark Coffee and inside it is cute and welcoming. The staff are lovely. The coffee was super weak in my opinion. We had Cortados that were made like Piccolos but I found the small coffee to be lacking any kick. It tasted very bland and milky. It did have a strange after taste that either of us could put our finger on. It was a bit sour but not in a bad way. If we go back I would definitely want a double shot to see if the coffee packs a punch.

Score: 2.5/5

Cafe Rustico

Location: 135 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10009

This place is across the road from the place were we do our laundry. They make the Cortado like the Piccolo and in a cute little Piccolo takeaway cup which I love, reminds me of home. They have decent soya milk but the coffee itself is way too caffeinated for me. I have had it twice and each time I have a massive coffee high for like hours. This coffee would be great for when you need an early morning wake up. The coffee itself doesn’t have any major signature notes that stand out but it is a very good pick me up.

Score: 3.5/5

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The Bean

Location: 147 1st Avenue New York, NY, 10003

This place is also in the same location as the laundry where we do our washing. Our first experience there was a bit random as a guy walked in and threw a cup of iced water at the worker behind the counter and yelled something and walked out. It was pretty intense. They will make the coffee how you want so we got Piccolos and just explained how to make it. The coffee was nothing special though they have decent soya milk. Nothing about the coffee stood out, it wasn’t very tasty but it was drinkable. We wouldn’t get Piccolos again. They do offer cold press and that seems to be their thing so maybe give that ago next time.

Score: 1.5/5

We forgot photos for this one.

Bluestone Lane 

Location: 55 Greenwich Ave New York, NY, 10014

This cafe is Australian owned so we made a special trip. We decided to have breakfast there also. The waitress was Australian and knew what a Piccolo was so that was perfect. The coffee was good. Reminded us of the Richmond, Melbourne coffee we had when we visited Melbourne in June. No signature notes stood out for us. It wasn’t super strong but it did the trick. The breakfast I had, smashed avocado, was tasty. Dave’s mushroom breakfast was a bit odd and the mushrooms were weird. We would definitely go back for coffee here in the future.

Score: 4/5

Abraço Espresso

Location: 86 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003

We visited this place as it was recommended by our friend. It is a small little espresso bar. They only offer full cream or half half milk. I got an espresso which was tasty and had slight bitterness but a smooth aftertaste. Dave asked the girl to explain how she made their Cortados and then request her to only do half the amount of milk as it was too much. She agreed but the other girl behind the counter made it like a latte. When Dave explained that he asked for half the milk the barista gave a bunch of attitude back and said that she doesn’t make Cortados like that and if he only wanted half the milk he should have ordered a Macchiato. Clearly, she doesn’t know what a Macchiato is because that is not how one would make a Macchiato. I think maybe she needs to read the chart on what a Macchiato is.  I personally wouldn’t return here as I want soya milk and I didn’t like the attitude but Dave said he would return.

Score: 4/5

Joe’s Coffee

Location: 1045 Lexington Ave (at E 75th St), New York, NY

We visited Joe’s coffee before heading to Central Park. It is a cute little place and somewhat of a chain coffee place. They offer soya milk which is great for me. They make their Cortados too big, like lattes, and they technically make their Macchiatos wrong. When we explained we wanted a Piccolo and how to make it he was like okay that’s a Macchiato. WRONG, but we accept. The first time I had an iced Americano as it was hot outside and Dave had a ‘Macchiato’ and the second time we both had ‘Macchiatos’. The coffee has strange but good signature notes. It has a slightly sour taste and it kind of works but kind of doesn’t. Nonetheless, a decent coffee for NYC standards.

Score: 3.5/5

Toby’s Estate

Location: 44 Charles St, New York, NY 10014

I was glad to find out that Toby’s Estate was in NYC. I love it back home and a friend of mine owns a cafe in Nundah, Brisbane (Como Cafe) that serves Toby’s Estate. We couldn’t not try it. I am glad we did. If it was closer to where we are staying I would have it every morning. I love the subtle flavours of the coffee. The baristas didn’t know what a Piccolo was but we explained it (as always) and they were happy to make it. They were a little excited as it was their first Piccolo. They have good soya milk too and their little cafe is cute and cosy.

Score: 4.5/5

Third Rail Coffee

Location: 159 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

We visited Third Rail coffee a few times because they do make decent coffee for NY. Some might find it too strong but we found it to be a perfect hit. They don’t do Piccolos like Australia does but you can ask them to do it how you want and they will. Definitely worth a visit.

Score: 4/5

Ninth Street Espresso

Location: 700 E 9th St, New York, NY 10009

We walked for what seems ages to get to this place. Did we like it? No! It is massively overrated. The coffee is average at best. Dave thought his coffee tasted like Whiskey. Nothing worked here.

Score: 1/5

Box Kite

Location: 115 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009

This looked promising but was a let down. They do not do soya milk so I had an Espresso and Dave had a standard Macchiato. Neither were good. The coffee is SOUR! Terrible and would not recommend.

Review: 0/5

Spiegel

Location: 26 1st Avenue, New York, NY, 10009

We went here for breakfast and they food tastes great. I customed ordered my coffee for the end result to be a Piccolo and Dave got a Machiato thinking it would be like a Piccolo but it wasn’t. It was a normal Macchiato, some Americans will call it ‘Italian’ style. The coffee was good but nothing great. Would return though.

Score: 3/5

City of Saints

Location: 79 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003

We went here a couples times from recommendation of our friend. The coffee is good and drinkable. We got Macchiatos (Piccolos). The staff are friendly. Would recommend and return.

Score: 3.5/5

Everyman Espresso

Location: 136 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

We stopped here on the way waking somewhere (forgot). We got two Macchiatos, one a single shot. The coffee is drinkable and they have soya milk. Would recommend and return.

Score: 3.5/5

Wayside Cafe

Location: 139 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

We came here twice once for just coffee and the other for coffee and breakfast. The breakfast is good, they have soya milk and the staff are friendly. The coffee is good but not great. The baristas need maybe a bit more training in the temperature of milk. They will custom make your order and they are registered with the CUPS app. Would return and recommend.

Score: 3.6/5

Little Zelda

Location: 728 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

We went here twice because the first time I came here my soya Macchiato (Piccolo) was PERFECT! Like the best I have had since leaving Australia. The soya was done at the perfect temperature and the Toby Estate beans just melted together to make a creamy, perfect coffee. The second time we went the coffee was good but not perfect only because my soya milk was too hot. Dave enjoyed his Macchiato too but the milk was a bit too hot.

Score: 4.9/5

Cafe Grumpy

Location: Lexington Passage, 89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

We always got Macchiatos here and we came here various times. It wasn’t the best coffee we had throughout New York but definitely up there. The baristas are pretty consistent with their skills and the coffee is always drinkable and tastes good. Recommend and would return.

Score: 4.5/5

Cafe La Cerra

Location: 489 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

We visited here a few times as it was close to where we were staying. The donuts are pretty good and they have GF options. The coffee was touch and go, some days it was great and others it wasn’t. We still would return and recommend.

Score: 3/5

Perk Cafe

Location: 162 E 37th St, New York, NY 10016

This was across the road from where we were staying so we came maybe 3/4 times. They use Stumptown (we think). Nowhere in NY that had Stumptown coffee was good for us. We really found the coffee to be lacking. It was good for convenience and out of all the Stumptown coffee we had they definitely did it the best.

Score: 3/5

Brooklyn Roasting Co

Location: 25 Jay St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Loved Brooklyn Roasting Co. Had it at their main place in Brooklyn and also down in the Flat Iron District. The Brooklyn location did it better than the Flat Iron District. There coffee is bold and flavoursome. We almost brought some beans to take with us but our baggage is limited.

Score: 4.9/5

Honestly, we tried many but some are just not worth mentioning. Others, even though not great, we still mentioned as they had such great reviews and were a massive let down. Least next time we are in New York we know where to find a decent cup of coffee. Next time we hope the AUD is better as looking back on our statements some time just two coffees cost us 11/12 AUD. INSANE. Our coffee in Brisbane is usually $3.50-4 AUD.

Over and out.

D and N.

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