With 30+ roasteries and enough counters to fuel an army of office-bound caffeine heads, NYC is undoubtedly one of the country’s most prolific coffee cities.
But that comes with its own set of problems: eternally wondering whether you are, in fact, drinking the freshest cuppa joe in the neighborhood.
To help you parse a busy space, we’ve put together a rundown of our 9 favorite local roasters, along with the various counters around town that serve them.
Flatiron & Brooklyn
Their story, in brief: Devoción was founded by Steven Sutton, a native of Medellín, Colombia, whose family was forced to relocate to the U.S. as a result of the feverishly dangerous times in his homeland during the Escobar crime era. Later in life, he saw the production gap that came with importing Colombian coffee to the States. Devoción launched in 2006 with the singular goal many a roaster aim for: get fresher beans to customers, faster.
What makes ’em unique: Utilizing long-term relationships with Colombian farmers, Devoción pays fair-trade prices and utilizes environmental support to sustain the farmers’ futures. After harvest, the beans are rapidly shipped to the U.S. via FedEx for roasting; each cup is brewed from beans that were milled and roasted no less than ten days prior for maximum purity.
The brew you’ve gotta try: The limited edition Mothers in Coffee.
Try it at: One of their three locations in Williamsburg, Downtown Brooklyn or the Flatiron.
City of Saints Coffee Roasters
Brooklyn, Manhattan and Hoboken
Their story, in brief: It began when partner Matt Wade opened a Hoboken coffee shop with a mission to fill the gap of third-wave offerings in the area. A friendship spawned with Joe Palozzi while working for nearby roaster Red Lion, and an empire was born when City of Saints opened its Bushwick roastery in December 2014.
What makes ’em unique: Outside of their stellar brew, City of Saints took great care to thoughtfully add to each neighborhood’s vibe and ethos. It’s a testament to their desire to expand their offering while fitting in with the communities that host them.
The brew you’ve gotta try: The best-of-both-worlds Guatemalan-Ethopian blend, Denizen. It has hints of jasmine and Tootsie Roll.
Try it at: One of their four locations spanning Astor Place, Bryant Park, Bushwick and Hoboken.
Peaks Coffee Co.
Their story, in brief: Peaks Coffee was the happy answer to a very depressing winter in 2014. The first batch was born on a cast-iron skillet in a snowy backyard.
What makes ’em unique: That iron-skillet tester was eventually replaced by a U.S. Royal Roaster #4 unit. Roasting out of a literal garage, they got their start selling to friends and family. After buying small bags of sustainably and ethically sourced coffee, a thriving coffee community was built in the valleys.
The brew you’ve gotta try: The chocolate-y, citrus-y Mountain Climber.
Try it at: One of their three darling wholesale partners in the Hudson Valley region.
Their story, in brief: Founders and friends Lance Schnorenberg and Tobin Polk (they even share the same birthday) were previously roasting at the former Lofted Coffee. After a hefty legal battle with Lofty Coffee out of San Diego, they changed their tune and rolled open the doors to a new space in the summer of ‘17.
What makes ’em unique: Sey comes with the prerequisite dedication to ethical practices and sustainability. But what really sets their coffee apart is that they “let the coffee speak for itself.” It’s a quality, straightforward cup that sings without the dog-and-pony-show fusions you might find elsewhere.
The brew you’ve gotta try: The Fredi Cordova, blossoming with strong citrus and strawberry notes.
Try it at: Their lovely, open air locale at 18 Grattan Street in Brooklyn.
Manhattan, Brooklyn and Upstate NY
Their story, in brief: A leader in the NYC coffee-roasting scene and this picky editor’s go-to, Gimme! has a history steeped not only in sustainable production, but serious coffee precision. And they’ve gone beyond the cup to create a healthy future for farmers: the directors work with the Boyce Thompson Institute to map the arabica coffee genome to improve taste and make arabica beans less susceptible to disease.
What makes ’em unique: They’ve been in the third-wave game longer than most local roasters, resulting in an exceptional brew, but also a continually consistent flavor.
The brew you’ve gotta try: The Kenya Gakuyu-ini, born of nutrient-rich volcanic soil and tinged with honeydew and black currant notes.
Try it at: One of their many locations, from Manhattan to the Cornell University campus. You’ll find us at their Lorimer Street locale in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Their story, in brief: One of the larger but still down-to-earth NYC coffee companies, Think is a pioneer in ethical bean production, with 10 locations and a serious penchant for social good.
What makes ’em unique: The founding principles that come along with this cup are distinguished by Think’s mindfulness. Their packaging and products are compostable, and each of their locations supports local non-profits by donating 10% of proceeds to organizations doing community-based work.
The brew you’ve gotta try: The Bella Vista, brimming with milk, honey, peaches and chocolate tones.
Try it at: One of their 10 locations; we’re partial to their Mercer locale, which also serves up beer and wine.
Their story, in brief: Founder Cesar Vega launched this Nicaraguan coffee brand with an outpost in Soho’s American Two shot boutique before expanding to Chicago’s Freehand hotel and finally moving into permanent digs just a stone’s throw from the original NYC stomping, ahem, ground.
What makes ’em unique: A startup dream come to life, Integral is dedicated solely to Nicaraguan roasts, and their commitment to their farmers is prevalent in that they don’t spend just a couple of days a year on the ground with their harvesters — they spend months there.
The brew you’ve gotta try: Their signature, seasonal Dulcinea espresso blend.
Try it at: Their bright and light Elizabeth Street brick and mortar.
Manhattan and Brooklyn
Their story, in brief: The first Café Grumpy opened its doors in Greenpoint in 2005 and has expanded to Chelsea, Grand Central, Park Slope and beyond. It’s consistently ranked one of NYC’s best cups and consistently has this kinda fantastic brooding-poet vibe no matter the locale.
What makes ’em unique: Some knock-it-out-of-the-park single-origin roasts developed farm-to-cup with the utmost care.
The brew you’ve gotta try: Their signature Heartbreaker Espresso, a blend of sweet beans from Ethiopia and Central America.
Try it at: Their Lower East Side café on Essex.
Irving Farm Coffee Roasters
Manhattan and Hudson Valley
Their story, in brief: The founders of Irving Farm established their first little haunt at 71 Irving Place back in ‘96. It soon flourished into an entire roasting operation in Hudson Valley converted from a farm.
What makes ’em unique: It’s superior coffee for certain, but Irving is always attentive to provide an excellent experience to boot.
The brew you’ve gotta try: Their signature offering, the Gotham Dark Roast, a citified take on traditional French roast.
Try it at: Their Gramercy location on Irving.
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