The US has a reputation for bad coffee, and for good reason: namely, Starbucks. These things are everywhere – every other street, train station, department stores, you name it – and while their marketing techniques are amusing (deliberately misspelling names in as ridiculous a way as possible to be photographed for social media), their coffee is far from humorous.
But Starbucks simply have the exposure (and the occasional uncomfortably placed DJ – yes); they don’t control coffee. While location convenience and free wifi are going to win over a majority, there are choices for a good caffeine fix all over the place, from the Melbourne knock-offs to the New York originals.
Here are a few places that won me over in New York City and Chicago, beginning with, hands down, the best coffee I had in NYC:
The Jolly Goat Café – 515 W 47th St, New York
This is a tiny bar with the friendliest staff and the finest cappuccino around!
Little Collins – 667 Lexington Ave, New York
Melbourne all over, amazing espresso and drip coffee and tasty brunch snacks, too.
Bluebird Coffee Shop – 72 E 1st St, New York
Another tiny place in an unassuming location. This was taken from a list of Aussie knock-offs, too.
Two Hands – 164 Mott St, New York
Completing a trifecta of Aussie cafes, this Little Italy location offers more space than the others, cool surroundings and a very decent cup.
Bluebottle – Rockefeller Center, 1 Rockefeller Plaza, New York
This is a chain that delivers awesome espresso. Conveniently, they have a spot hidden away at the bottom of the Rockerfeller were you otherwise struggle to find anthing half decent. They also popped up in kiosk form on the Highline.
Champion Coffee – 52 Gansevoort St, New York
It’s in the name. A sweet as coffee spot in a hipster paradise “food court” – get your caffeine fix at the trendy end of the Highline.
Two Little Red Hens – 1652 2nd Ave, New York
In truth this one made the list because the cupcakes are incredible (peanut butter & chocolate mud = heart attach heaven). The coffee was pretty good, too.
Black Brick – 300 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn
The Brooklyn location is pretty stellar – the cold brew is fantastic.
Toby’s Estate Coffee – 125 N 6th St, Brooklyn
An Aussie company, I didn’t really like how Mac(Book)Cafe the space was, but the coffee was tops.
Intelligentsia – Heritage At Millennium Park, 53 E Randolph St, Chicago
A Chicago chain that was always super busy and for good reason.
Buzz Killer Espresso – 1644 N Damen Ave, Chicago
Up in Bucktown where everything’s cool anyway, may as well have a prime coffee spot to go to.
King Café – 900 North Michigan Shops, 900 N Michigan Ave, Chicago
Unassuming in a shopping centre, this place gives high hope to a commercial district with little great coffee that easily visible.