It's both the salvation of the freelancer and the bane of the cafe owner's existence: the coffee-shop-as-workplace. And though the scenario's second-nature in most cities, finding a place to "laptop camp" in New York City can prove to be a bit of a challenge. That said, there are a handful of places that still let, and in some cases encourage, their working patrons to linger.
'Cafe Grumpy' on Serious Eats
The time has come. Let us remove the stigma from the orange coaster. Science has taken us far from the flavorless decaf of olde and heralded an era of decaffeination where taste, not buzz, is king.
2011 went like most years: full of busy coffee travels, from Grand Rapids to Vancouver to Copenhagen, and like most great things, each moment went by just a little too fast. In the world of coffee, where each coffee changes crop to crop, roast to roast, brew to brew, remembering your favorite moments of the year can be hard—these drinks aren't (well, not in most cases) something you can bottle and enjoy in exactly the same way again and again and again. But maybe that makes those most delicious cups all that much more special? Here are some—though certainly not all—of the best cups of coffee we sipped in 2011.
Been Parking your Slopes or Cobbling your Hills with little clue as to where best to sit and sip? The food-filled, cute-shop-lined streets of South Brooklyn are full of coffee purveyors eager for a share of your cup. But among them are some truly special spaces whose clean sunny spaces and no-nonsense approach to preparing excellent coffee are joined by exemplary staff, extra-tasty goods, or simply just the right vibe. We round up a few of the finest (notably mourning the indefinite loss of Stumptown's brilliant manual brew tasting bar in Red Hook, now on hiatus due to having too much coffee to store anywhere else) and encourage you to air up the bike tires for a tour.
The playing field of cool brewed coffee has widened considerably since the days when espresso over ice was the only option. From industrial plastic tubs to mesmerizing chemistry-set corkscrew drippers, cold brew is in full summer effect. Whether you're toting a cup of melting ice cubes to the park, or bringing home a handsome bottle to nurse all week long, you want your coffee cold? Baby, you've got options.
Glorious Chelsea! From gallery to warehouse to office to mediocre restaurant, this neighborhood has it all—not the least of which is a small handful of reliably solid, innovative coffee purveyors ready to meet your daily West side needs. Of the billions of businesses in this small area, we've highlighted a few whose coffees rise above the crowd—so take a short stroll through the 'hood and sip as you go.
This weekend, some of New York City's most passionate baristas will join leagues of others in the Northeastern US for the Northeast Regional Barista Championship, the first ever hosted within the five boroughs.
NYC coffee pacesetter Café Grumpy is growing again—despite repeated verbal reluctance to do just that. 2011 will see the Brooklyn-based roaster open their fourth cafe (and second Manhattan location), on the formerly underserved and soon-to-be-overserved Lower East Side, on Essex Street.
There will never be one best hot chocolate, because there are simply too many types—but there's no reason not to love them all. Here we've amassed our favorites, ranging from over-the-top decadent to light and easily drinkable cups; the latter, more commonly found in popular coffee shops around the city. Take a look at the 10 Hot Chocolates We Love.