Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Best Cappuccino in the East Village

So I'm going to deviate a little bit from talking about technology, or things related to technology, and talk about coffee. I know, I know, not exactly a huge deviation, coffee is to coding as...I dunno something very important.

I moved to the East Village in New York a little over a year ago, and have spent the last year scouring the neighborhood for the best coffee. I have tried to sample as many different brews as possible in search of the best - and the list below is what I have come up with.

It should be noted that I am an avid cappuccino drinker and I am therefore using a cappuccino as my baseline at the places below. In fact, any time I say "coffee" you can assume I mean "cappuccino".

So, in a very particular order:

Fresco Gelateria
138 2nd Ave
Brewing: La Colombe
This is a new addition to the East Village (and also somewhat newly discovered by yours truly). I've walked by this place a million times, but always forgot about it when it was time for my morning coffee run. Finally I remember and went in and WOW I'm so glad I did! The coffee is amazing, the owner is incredibly sweet - she gives you a mini croissant with your coffee if she has extras, and the pastries are delicious! This has quickly become my favorite coffee spot.

Ninth Street Espresso
341 East 10th Street and 700 East 9th Street
Brewing: Their own roast
Whenever I come here I always joke that I'm going to "Ninth Street Espresso on Tenth". Unless of course I'm actually at the ninth street location - which is an amazing coffee shop. It sort of feels like you're in someone's backyard greenhouse - an impressive feat in the middle of Manhattan. The location on tenth boasts the same delicious coffee - one of my absolute favs.

Abra├žo
86 East 7th Street
Brewing: Stumptown
Famous for its coffee snobbery, this place does actually live up to its reputation. The coffee is delicious, the pastries are to DIE for, and the ambiance is very hipsters-cafinating-their-hangovers. The olive oil cake alone is enough to keep you coming back, but put everything together and you've got the perfect coffee experience.

Everyman Espresso
136 East 13th Street
Brewing: Counter Culture Coffee
This coffee shop is in the front of a theater (the kind with plays, not the kind with movies), which I always get a kick out of. Their coffee is delicious, their staff is friendly, and the location is convenient (I often go here on my way to Union Square or some other part of the city).

Van Leeuwen
48 1/2 East 7th Street
Brewing: Intelligentsia
Mmmmm ice cream. I mean coffee! Yes, coffee. Though technically this is an ice cream place (which also means they do affogato...mmmm...), the coffee here is quite delicious. They have their own roast of intelligentsia, always a good sign, and the baristas work magic with it.

Momofuku Milk Bar
251 East 13th Street
Brewing: Stumptown
Again, not a place you'd expect to go for coffee. In addition to having some of the best desserts around, this place actually boasts some legitimate coffee as well. If you haven't tried their desserts...beware. They even have one called "Crack Pie".

Special mention (technically their locations are in NoHo and SoHo respectively):

La Colombe
270 and 400 Lafayette Street
Brewing: La Colombe
Delicious, delicious coffee, but this place makes the list for two other reasons. First, the cappuccinos are larger than most places (I know, I know, that means more milk, not more coffee, but hey sometimes you wanna savor your coffee that little bit longer). Second, they set your coffee on the bar with a plate and a spoon, even if you're getting it to go (just like in Italy, though the concept of "to go" would be a little lost on Italians). The idea that you can stand at the coffee bar and sip your cappuccino in an American coffee shop is pretty radical. And by radical, I mean awesome.