The Best Coffee Shops in NYC

The Best Coffee Shops in NYC

By, Dan Hunnewell

12min min read · Apr 08, 2024


According to Smartscrapers, there are 3,705 coffee shops in NYC and at least 3,705 places that serve coffee.

Many of us are seeking a particular type of coffee shop, like one that serves higher quality specialty coffee; that list might be much smaller than 3,700, but still a staggering number.

Before diving headfirst into the top coffee shops we think are the top to visit in NYC, let us first introduce ourselves and our guests for this blog.

We are Coffee Bros., a specialty coffee roaster based out of NYC, and we have been serving customers small-batch coffee since 2019. We are also big consumers of coffee and got our start by being fanatics over NYC’s coffee scene and what made one coffee shop or roaster different from another. Our ah-ha moment in coffee was when we drank a latte from Abraco Espresso (our favorite) in the East Village in 2017, and ripe strawberry notes cut through the milk as if it was flavored by syrup. We were shocked to learn that excellent sourced coffee from Ethiopia (mainly naturally processed coffee) can lead to such present and distinct taste notes.

Since then, we have been on a mission to sustainably source some of the country’s best coffee and craft our unique blends, like our Espresso Roast, to hit on those fruit-forward notes we fell in love with back in 2017.

Our Guest Contributor

Joining us on our blog is none other than the Don himself, Donovan Lutz of @the_life_of_don.

From Don:

"My name is Don. I am a content creator and have been to over 250 coffee shops in NYC. I have always loved coffee, and when I came to NYC, I was surprised by the fact that there are hundreds of cafes here. I came up with the idea to go to a new cafe every day and have been documenting the journey in hopes that I will eventually try every coffee NYC has to offer."

Don is on a mission to try every coffee shop in NYC and has already hit 250 of the most talked about and reviewed shops. What we love about Don’s review style is that there is no fluff to his reviews; he tells it how it is and hopes to direct you to the best-tasting, experiential, and well-priced coffee in the city.

After trying over 250 coffee shops and counting, these are Don’s top 15.

The 15 Best Coffee Shops in NYC


If you have never seen a Devocion café or plan on visiting one in NYC, head to their Williamsburg location, which features an iconic plant wall, coffee roaster, and the occasional celebrity.

As entrepreneurs, the Williamsburg location holds a special place in our hearts as it encompasses everything we would want in our own physical space if we were to open one. Devocion roasts coffee here; they have a quality control area and an upstairs office overlooking the space. The space is super welcoming and a great place to catch up on work or with a friend, though it can be hard to get a seat during busy times.

Regarding coffee and snacks, we love their cold brew for warmer days and their cortado any other time. They also have a super buttery and flaky croissant, which can’t be missed.

The top reasons to visit Devocion Coffee (based on customer reviews)

Quality Coffee: Customers consistently praise the quality of the coffee, with many mentioning the freshness and flavor of the coffee beans.

Beautiful Space: The cafe's ambiance and interior design, including its natural light, plant wall, and spaciousness, are a must-see!

Pastries and Snacks: Many reviewers enjoy the pastries and snacks available, praising croissants and banana bread.

% Arabica

% Arabica is a coffee brand founded by Kenneth Shoji after the Tōhoku earthquake in 2011 prompted his move from Fukushima Prefecture to Hong Kong. He purchased a coffee farm in Hawaii and opened the first % Arabica café in Hong Kong in 2013.

The global flagship store, the company's headquarters, opened in Kyoto's Higashiyama district in 2014. Kenneth's dream expanded to Paris with two stores in 2019 and was fully realized with the opening of the US flagship store in Dumbo, New York, in June 2021.

The New York store was designed in collaboration with French design studio Cigue, featuring a décor inspired by Dumbo's orange-brick buildings and equipped with a 22kg Probat and a 1kg Tornado King roasting machine for custom roasting services. The store offers stunning views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan, inviting customers to enjoy its simple yet delicious coffee.

The top reasons to visit % Arabica (based on customer reviews)

Great Views: Customers consistently praise the stunning views of the Brooklyn Bridge, which enhance the overall experience.

Quality Coffee: The coffee, especially the Kyoto and Spanish latte, receives high marks for taste and quality.

Aesthetic and Ambiance: The shop's aesthetic and ambiance are frequently mentioned as pleasing, cozy, and minimalistic.

Sawada Coffee

The latest US café by celebrated barista and latte art expert Hiroshi Sawada showcases a cozy setting adorned with reclaimed wood, a uniquely painted espresso machine, a distinctive mural of Hiroshi-san, and a carefully curated playlist. Visitors can indulge in a unique selection of meticulously prepared espresso and matcha beverages, such as the signature Military Latte, cortados, cappuccinos, and alcoholic steamers, complemented by various delightful treats.

If you like unique locations (like Freemans Restaurant down an alley in Manhattan), Sawada Coffee is another must-see café.

The top reasons to visit Sawada Coffee (based on customer reviews)

Unique Coffee Options: Customers appreciate the innovative and unique coffee offerings, particularly the military latte, black camo latte, and matcha-infused drinks.

Quality of Coffee: The coffee is consistently described as high quality, strong, and flavorful.

Atmosphere and Location: The shop's hidden, cozy, cool ambiance in a warehouse/restaurant space is frequently mentioned. Its location down an alley adds to its charm.

Cosmic Cat

There is nothing better than a tiny café with a big character! Cosmic Cat reminds us of the original Abraco espresso (though Cosmic Cat is slightly bigger), where only 8 – 10 people would cram in there at a time, vying for delicious coffee and baked goods.

Nothing feels more New York than stumbling upon a hole-in-the-wall (in every nice way possible) café and finding out the ambiance, food, and coffee are all delicious; this is Cosmic Cat.

The top reasons to visit Cosmic Cat (based on customer reviews)

Quality Coffee: Customers consistently praise the quality and taste of the coffee, with many highlighting the espresso and cold brew as standouts.

Cozy Atmosphere: The shop is described as cozy, charming, and welcoming, with a friendly owner and staff who create a positive vibe.

Hot Chocolate: Several reviewers mention the exceptional hot chocolate, noting that it's a hidden gem of the café.

Solid State Coffee

Solid State Coffee is nestled on the Upper West Side, steps away from Central Park. What makes Solid State a worthy visit is not only its location but, you guessed it, its coffee! Solid State sources some interesting coffees like their Sebastian Ramirez offering, a coffee fermented with dehydrated peaches, wine yeast, and glucose. Solid State also roasts smaller specialty batches, such as the Peaches & Coffee offering (just mentioned) on their Bellwether shop roaster at their Upper West Side café.

Grab a drink and head to Central Park; you won’t be disappointed!

The top reasons to visit Solid State (based on customer reviews)

Quality Coffee: Many reviewers praise the quality of the coffee, with specific mentions of excellent espresso, lattes, and cold brew.

Friendly and Knowledgeable Staff: The staff are frequently mentioned for their kindness, helpfulness, and expertise in coffee.

Cozy Atmosphere: The shop is cozy, charming, and inviting. It has a cool vibe and plenty of seating areas to relax or work.

La Cabra

The acclaimed Nordic coffee roaster, café, and bakery opening in the East Village in 2021 to some great fanfare. This was one of the more hyped coffee shop openings in recent memory, though the recent opening of Dayglow and % Arabica across NYC is also up there!

What makes La Cabra such a unique shop in NYC is that they are bringing in the Nordic roasting style, a much lighter roast than you will find across many shops in the area. La Cabra’s has been sourcing high-quality, relationship-driven coffee since 2013, and it shows across all of its offerings. Expect a highly diverse and seasonal coffee menu from all the great partners they work with worldwide.

While their coffee roasting style may not be for everyone, there is certainly something to enjoy for everyone at their café. If you are an espresso-with-milk drinker, we suggest ordering a smaller milk-based drink like a cortado when getting coffee at La Cabra.

From a bakery standpoint, La Cabra has one of the best offerings in NYC regarding coffee and baked goods. Their onsite kitchen and full-time baking staff produce amazing goodies like their well-loved cardamon bun.

The top reasons to visit La Cabra Coffee (based on customer reviews)

Cardamom Bun: This pastry is mentioned frequently and highly praised by many reviewers, making it a standout item.

Quality Pastries: Overall, the pastries are described as delicious, fresh, and well-made, with various options available.

Great Coffee: The coffee is also highly rated, mentioning well-prepared espresso and pour-over options.


A UK transplant has arrived in Midtown Manhattan, bringing a modern, holistic approach to coffee and a sleek, beautifully designed café.

Forbes says: “WatchHouse has focused on sourcing the best quality coffee, as fairly and sustainably as possible.”

What we love about WatchHouse is its modern design, which is reminiscent of La Cabra in the East Village. Both have great pastries.

The top reasons to visit WatchHouse (based on customer reviews)

High-Quality Coffee: Many reviewers praise the coffee's quality, specifically mentioning batch coffee, single-origin options, and pour-overs.

Delicious Pastries: The pastries, especially the cardamom bun and blood orange Danish, receive high marks for taste and presentation.

Warm and Inviting Atmosphere: The atmosphere is frequently described as warm, cozy, and inviting, with a modern and attractive interior design.


A lot is happening at Hi-Note, making it a super fun location to visit, either day or night. A radio bar + café, Hi-Note hosts community radio shows featuring live sets and original programming with a café backdrop service of delicious coffee, food, and cocktails.

Hi-Note features a complete brunch and lunch menu with delicious bites like their BEC Panini and Italian Sandwich for lunch.

Stop in anytime, but note that seats are limited and are first come, first served!

The top reasons to visit Hi-Note (based on customer reviews)

Versatile Atmosphere: Many reviewers appreciate the cafe's ability to transition from a chill workspace during the day to a lively bar at night, with a vibrant atmosphere suitable for working and socializing.

Great Drinks: The drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, are highlighted for their quality and variety, explicitly mentioning the sparkling rosé, Lavender Milk Punch, and espresso martinis.

Music and Ambiance: The music selection and overall ambiance are often mentioned as key elements that enhance the experience, with live music and DJ sets adding to the vibe.

Terremoto Coffee

Terremoto Coffee, owned by Richard Agudelo, is known for its commitment to quality and ethical sourcing. The coffee shop on 15th Street in New York specializes in single-origin, fair-trade coffee, with beans sourced directly from a farm in Colombia that Richard co-owns.

The shop gained attention for its 24-carat gold espresso machine, a nod to the metal-plated espresso makers of the early 20th century. In addition to classic espresso drinks, Terremoto offers specialty teas and donates 20% of the revenue from the three drinks to charity.

The top reasons to visit Terremoto Coffee (based on customer reviews)

Quality Coffee: Customers consistently praise the coffee's quality, mentioning delicious specialty drinks like the Purple Rain latte and well-made classics like cappuccinos and flat whites.

Cozy Atmosphere: The shop is cute, cozy, and intimate, with a friendly and welcoming vibe. The small size and limited seating contribute to the cozy feel, though it can get cramped when busy.

Neighborhood Gem: Several reviewers describe the shop as a hidden gem or a neighborhood favorite, suggesting it's a beloved local spot for coffee lovers.

Gasoline Alley

For a while, Gasoline Alley was situated in a part of the city, technically NoHo, a no-man's land with little reason to pass through. It has stayed around long enough to witness an explosion of businesses around its cozy shop, including Kith, Levain’s Bakery, Cha Cha Matcha, AAPE, and Los Tacos No. 1.

A once small slice of NoHo that most typically walked right through is now a bustling area for good eats, shopping, and coffee!

The top reasons to visit Gasoline Alley (based on customer reviews)

Quality Coffee: Customers consistently praise the quality of the coffee, mentioning delicious espresso, cappuccinos, and lattes. The coffee is described as strong, smooth, and well-prepared.

Friendly Staff: Many reviewers mention the friendly and welcoming staff, noting their efficiency and skill as baristas. The staff's friendliness adds to the overall positive experience of the coffee shop.

Tasty Pastries: Besides coffee, the shop's pastries, especially the gluten-free/vegan tahini chocolate chip cookie, receive positive mentions. The baked goods are described as delicious and perfect for coffee.

East One

East One is a Brooklyn-based specialty coffee roaster known for sourcing some of the highest-quality coffee in the city.

East One is known not only for its fantastic coffee offerings but also for having some of the best food on its menu compared to most cafes in the city. If you want more than coffee, try their sausage wrap, malted pancakes, or Brooklyn Fry Up!

Try their local honey latte or turmeric latte if you want something unique.

The top reasons to visit East One (based on customer reviews)

Quality Coffee: Many reviewers praise the quality of the coffee, noting that it sets the place apart from other coffee shops in the area. The espresso, cappuccino, and lattes are frequently mentioned as well-prepared, with expert milk work.

Brunch and Breakfast Items: The brunch and breakfast items, such as pancakes, avocado toast, and breakfast sandwiches, receive positive mentions for being delicious and well-prepared.

Atmosphere: The cafe's atmosphere is often airy, pleasant, and cozy. Its modern and stylish interior and outdoor seating are also appreciated.

Birch Coffee

Birch Coffee is on its 13th location and quite a NYC success story. The shop's Bazooka coffee (a collaboration with Bazooka gum), with a roast profile inspired by its 75-year-old origin, is a standout. Birch Coffee was founded in 2009 by Jeremy Lyman and Paul Schlader, who met in a 12-step program and started the business with just $10k. Today, the company is estimated to be worth $10 to $15 million. They roast their beans in Long Island City and are known for their cold brew, served on tap.

Their coffee shops offer seasonal flavors, like an orange and cream latte and the famous Red Eye coffee. The herbal iced tea, Toasted Almond, tastes delightful with apple and cinnamon.

Birch Coffee provides a variety of milk and pastries, including Lenka granola bars, and aims for minimal plastic use. The shop's aesthetic features cement skim-coated walls and Moroccan tiles, with a window bar for people-watching but no seating yet. Additionally, Birch Coffee has a lending library for customers to take or donate books.

The top reasons to visit Birch Coffee (based on customer reviews)

Quality of Coffee: Many reviewers praise the quality of the coffee, mentioning specific drinks like cortados, lattes, and cold brews. The espresso and drip coffee also receive positive mentions.

Friendly Staff: The baristas and staff are frequently described as kind, friendly, and welcoming, contributing to a positive atmosphere.

Cozy and Comfortable Atmosphere: Birch Coffee's ambiance is often described as cozy, inviting, and pleasant, with some noting the artsy vibe.

Do Not Feed Alligators

Hands down, Do Not Feed Alligators has the best café name in the city, but does the coffee live up to its name? The answer is a resounding yes! Do Not Feed Alligators is a multi-roaster café, meaning its coffee menu is often changing, as they constantly bring in new seasonal coffees. Roasters you might find on the Do Not Feed Alligators menu include Onyx Coffee Roasters, Passenger, Black & White, and Regalia.

What also makes DNFA a great spot to visit is its location in the West Village on Bleeker Street. Surrounded by a ton of great eats and shopping, DNFA’s sheik and artsy vibe blends right into the neighborhood.

The top reasons to visit Do Not Feed Alligators (based on customer reviews)

Atmosphere and Ambiance: Many reviewers appreciate the coffee shop's cute, cozy, and aesthetically pleasing decor. Several mention the lovely outdoor patio or garden area. Some also highlight the welcoming and relaxing vibe of the place.

Quality of Coffee and Pastries: Several reviewers praise the quality of the coffee, describing it as excellent, delicious, or well-made. Pastries, especially raspberry and fruit tarts, also received positive mentions.


Many New Yorkers typically avoid midtown unless it's for work, but Pavé's specialty coffee and baked goods make it a worthy detour. Executive Pastry Chef Jonghun Won, originally from South Korea with a theology background, has an impressive culinary history. He was the original Executive Pastry Chef at Jungsik Seoul and later moved to New York to open Jungsik New York, earning a 2-Michelin star honor during his tenure. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, Chef Won also owns La Tabatiere in Closter, NJ, which is considered one of the best bakeries in Northern New Jersey. Pavé's goal is to provide freshly made bread for delicious savory and sweet sandwiches and pastries, embodying the belief that fresh is best!

The top reasons to visit Pavé (based on customer reviews)

Excellent Quality Food: Customers rave about the delicious baked goods, especially the baguettes, croissants, and sandwiches. The sourdough Croque Monsieur, burrata salad, and flatbread are particularly popular.

Coffee and Beverages: The coffee is highly praised for its taste, with the iced chocolate and matcha also receiving positive mentions.

Ambiance and Decor: The café is cozy, cute, and beautifully designed, with a vibe perfect for working or studying.

In Common

In Common is located within the vibrant and busy Hudson Yards neighborhood, just a stone's throw away from the High Line, Hudson Yards indoor mall, and close to NYC’s Times Square.

While coffee at In Common is excellent, food certainly takes precedence here and those looking for a full meal usually take priority.

From In Common:

“At In Common, we believe in the universal pleasure of a good meal shared with great company. While our roots lie in Australian culture, we aim to introduce our unique cafe culture to New York City. As a small, independent business, we're open for breakfast and lunch daily, offering a refined yet relaxed dining experience complemented by a comprehensive coffee program.”

The top reasons to visit In Common (based on customer reviews)

Positive Dining Experience: Many reviewers praised the overall dining experience, mentioning the warm and friendly staff, lovely atmosphere, and fast service. The cozy and unique design of the place was also highlighted, creating a pleasant ambiance for brunch or breakfast with friends or family.

Quality of Food and Coffee: The food, particularly breakfast items like avocado toast, bagels, and pastries, received high marks for taste and presentation. The quality of the coffee was frequently mentioned as a standout feature, with many considering it some of the best in NYC.

Service: The service at In Common was often described as excellent, with attentive, efficient, and friendly staff. Several reviews also noted the owner's hospitality and positive customer interaction.

The Best Coffee for Espresso

Coffee Tastes Bitter? Here's how to fix it.

What Country has the Best Tasting Coffee?

Back to blog