NY Coffee Guide: The Best Coffee in Chelsea

[Photos: Liz Clayton]

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.

Wondering what to order? Check out the drinks in the slideshow »

Ninth Street Espresso


There's not much that's more New York than a no-nonsense high-end food service establishment, and Ninth Street Espresso—serving you coffee, coffee, and nothing else—is just that. Their Chelsea Market outpost sits at the heart of the grand culinary feeding hall, intercepting the caffeine dreams of any and every food-oriented person who may pass by.

Ninth Street's house espresso is a seasonally tweaked blend created in conjunction with their roaster Intelligentsia, and is served in triple-ristretto form on one of the shop's two busy machines. (Filter coffee is available, too, but it's the lush, concentrated espresso drinks here that reinforce the focus of the cafe's name.) From the straight-shooting baristas to the straighter-shooting drinks, Ninth Street delivers an intense, great cup—with none of the funny stuff.

Ninth Street Espresso

75 Ninth Avenue (in the Chelsea Market), New York NY 95448 (map) 212-228-2930; ninthstreetespresso.com

Cafe Grumpy


You might walk right past it the first time, but this West 20th Street outpost of the Brooklyn-based roaster is actually the company's second store—and a sure place to find top-of-the-line technology mixed with beautiful, seasonal coffees sourced in-house. The completely ungrumpy staff will guide you through selection of espresso or filter coffee, the latter of which comes prepared on the still-impressive Clover brewing machine—Grumpy Chelsea has two, and they were among the first in the nation to employ the devices.

Alongside the rotating menu of 4-5 single origin drip coffees are espresso and decaf. Grumpy's newest addition of baked goods from their new bakery on the Lower East Side includes treats meant specifically for pairing and enhancement of their coffees: try orange zest olive oil cake, or black pepper cardamom banana bread, or whatever else they've cooked up that day.

Cafe Grumpy

224 West 20th Street, New York NY 10011 (map) 212-255-5511; cafegrumpy.com

Kava Cafe


Relative newcomer Kava fills a niche where the Meatpacking District rises up into the High Line, serving coffees you might not expect (they're the only outpost of Maryland's Caffe Pronto that we know of in the five boroughs) on machines you might expect even less.

The handsome, glamorously-tiled shop boasts not one, but TWO La Marzocco Strada machines, the newest and sexiest of the Italian handcrafted espresso machine manufacturer's line. Filter coffee is prepared on the V60 pourover bar in between the two racecar-sexy espresso machines.

You're all set for small bites, here, too—sandwiches, gelato—whatever you need to push through those last galleries or get you to the VIP section of the club intact.

Kava Cafe

803 Washington Street, New York NY 10014 (map)
 212-255-7495; kavanyc.com



One of New York City's original "specialty" or "third wave" coffee chains, Joe's Chelsea store sits at the foot of the handsome Art Deco London Terrace building, pulling shot after shot of espresso and pouring cup after cup of drip coffee for the legions of West 23rd Street.

Joe's coffee comes from Santa Rosa, CA-based Ecco Caffè, whose coffees are available as espresso, house drip blend, or single origin manual brew on V60 cone. Don't miss the pastry case filled with Doughnut Plant doughnuts, among other treats.


405 West 23rd Street, New York NY 10011 (map) 212-206-0669; joetheartofcoffee.com

Get the good stuff: Check out all the drinks in the slideshow »