When she’s not roasting coffee beans, testing coffee brewing methods, or fine-tuning coffee recipes, Nguyen Coffee Supply founder Sahra Nguyen spends time hanging out at restaurants, bars, and — of course — the numerous coffee shops NYC has to offer.
And even though many shops and stores are operating at limited capacity and altered hours due to the pandemic, supporting local businesses (namely: restaurants) is more important than ever. That’s why Sahra put together this short list of some of her absolute favorite coffee shops in NYC.
Brooklyn Ball FActory : In addition to fresh pour-over coffee, this Brooklyn-based, Japanese-inspired cafe serves up delicious traditional snacks including onigiri and bento boxes. “They also make the best matcha latte I've had in NYC,” Sahra explained. “Pro tip: Check out their cute hidden rooftop.”
Sahra loves this gourmet coffee shop located in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood because of their excellent lighting, creative food program, and their relaxed and inspired vibe. “They also have a very nice owner who started delivering free coffee to firefighters and hospitals during the pandemic,” Sahra added. “It’s a simple, winning equation — excellent coffee and a place to do some light work or take meetings. It’s perfect.”
Nestled in Manhattan’s Alphabet City, Kolkata Chai Co. aims to extend the authenticity, respect, and tradition behind a cup of masala chai to NYC. “They’re best known for their masala chai,” Sahra said. “They make it from fresh spices — not concentrate. It’s incredible.” Sahra also loves their delicious cardamom coffee.
Located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, Maman focuses on baked goods, coffee, and delicious food. Comfortable, rustic décor fills the shop, and select locations even feature a full bar. “It’s their charming vibe that makes Maman special for me,” Sahra explained. “Oh, and the fact that they have amazing pastries doesn’t hurt either!”
Sahra’s number one favorite coffee shop in NYC is located in Bushwick, Brooklyn, at the corner of Myrtle Ave and Linden Street. In addition to roasting their own coffee, the shop also serves tea, bagels, pastries, and sandwiches. “It’s a very local, Bushwick vibe,” Sahra said of the shop. “I love enjoying coffee under the elevated train tracks. It gives off this unique, neighborhood feel.”
Saigon Social and Chef Helen Nguyen offers some of the best Vietnamese food in the city — home-cooked meal meets refinement and first generation creativity. They also serve some seriously good Vietnamese coffee. "Chef Helen created the 'Boba Ca Phe' drink," Sahra explained, "which is a delicious concoction of our robusta blends, coconut milk, and boba!"
* Make sure to check the hours and availability of each coffee shop before you go, as they may have changed by the time you read this.*
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Make unique coffee drinks with cold brew using these recipes.