Gotham! City of plenty within a land of plenty, including great coffee selection. But beyond the obvious choice of picking up a bag of coffee beans at your favorite local shop, where can you, the New Yorker, find the best selections of beans? We've pinpointed a few hot spots to get your bean needs met—and some may surprise you.
Joe Pro Shop
Okay, this one won't surprise you—I've long been a fan in these pages of the antics at Joe Pro Shop, the headquarters and gear-stock-up outlet for the ever-growing NYC-based Joe coffee chain. Along with tools of the trade, the Joe Pro shop keeps a constant rotation of beans from quality craft roasters from around North America on hand, usually refreshing their selection of a couple of coffees from five or more featured roasters on a monthly basis. What's better is you can have some of what you're curious about brewed for you, and taste it on the spot. Though the hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, opens at 9 a.m. Sundays) may be tricky for some, this is a wonderful go-to for a selection of some of the best coffees available in the city at any given time.
Grand Central Terminal
Pick up your coffee at a train station? Really? Absolutely, whether you're on the go or just in the neighborhood. Local roasters Joe, Oren's Daily Roast and Irving Farm sell beans at their locations in the Greybar Passage, Grand Central Market, and concourse respectively. Combined with all the coffee gear these guys sell, Grand Central Terminal is more like one gigantic coffee shop with a celestial mural.
87 E 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017 (map)
Fancy Grocery Stores
The usual suspects of Whole Foods, Union Market and Brooklyn Fare do a good job for non-coffee-specialists of keeping a variety of good, often local, coffees in stock. This is no small feat, as ordering a wide selection of coffees and keeping them rotating on the shelves before they're too old can be a challenge.
If a smaller quantity of beans than are usually bagged is your thing, there are a handful of other fancy food places—The Brooklyn Kitchen, Perelandra Market, or Dean & Deluca&emdash;that offer you-scoop beans in bulk, from roasters like Counter Culture Coffee and others.
If you'd rather have your coffee delivered, Fresh Direct has a surprisingly good selection of quality coffees you can tack on to your grocery order. They keep a few single origins as well as blended coffees on hand from folks like Intelligentsia, Brooklyn Roasting Company, La Colombe, Irving Farm, and Oslo. Plus, you know, no hauling those annoying 12-ounce bags of coffee up to your 5th floor apartment.
Any Good Coffee Shop
I'd say it goes without saying, but I'll say it again: local roasters like Toby's Estate, Cafe Grumpy, Blue Bottle and Stumptown (along with upstaters Gimme! and Irving Farm) all have cafes throughout the city with the freshest selection of their own beans. And one advantage of buying in the shop is you can try before you buy—in some cases a bean purchase even yields a free cup of coffee. Stop in and support your locals by shopping directly from them! They'll make more money and spend less time driving coffee around the city in vans.
About the author: Liz Clayton drinks, photographs and writes about coffee and tea all over the world, though she pretends to live in Brooklyn, New York. She is the creator of Nice Coffee Time, a book of photographs of the best coffee in the world, published by Presspop.