As a temporary citizen of New York, and more precisely of Greenpoint in Brooklyn, I really felt like discovering the essence and the soul of this neighborhood. And what better way to get to know your neighborhood than spending time in coffee places around and mingle with the locals?
I sacrificed myself to try out and review different coffee shops around the neighborhood. To make it even a harder job, I tried out their pastries as well. Someone has to do the job, right?
Going to a coffeeshop with my little iPad makes me so much more productive in getting work done than when I stay at home. I’m getting things done much quicker and feel more inspired, as if I absorb the productiveness of the other clinged-to-their-laptop people. I was planning on spending all the rainy days in coffeeshops, because as generally known rain outside makes being inside a coffee shop so much better. But having only one rainy day the previous month (no, never would I dare to complain about this!) meant I had to pick some random other days.
Requirements for the coffee place test: free WIFI. Coffee. Pastries. Curious to see what places are in my top 3? Here we go!
Until I came to New York I didn’t know Scandinavian coffee was a thing, but apparently the Nordic coffeeshops are slowly winning terrain here. With at least three in the near surroundings, Konditori is one of them.
I love the wooden theme and the simplicity in this place. It’s minimalistic, and there’s plenty of natural daylight. It’s quite small though, and can feel a bit packed.
Coffee starts at 2 dollars for a small Swedish roast, a cappuccino is 3,50 dollars. I can’t tell you about the Scandinavian coffee, but the cappuccino was nice and strong, with a good amount of milk.
There’s a great selection of bagels, muffins and other pastries, with some vegan options. I felt brave and tried the vegan spinach-kale muffin (2,50$). I expected it to be savory, but in stead it appeared to be a sweet deliciousness (the sugar made the spinach and kale taste disappear completely, which I don’t know is a good or a bad thing). The whole wheat bagels are well worth the try as well (2,50$ with cream cheese).
Konditori, 687 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn, New York
More a bakery than a coffee shop, but this place still serves excellent espresso! The 1,50$ coffee is a bit watery and lacks taste, but the cappuccino (3,50$) is great. I guess the espresso-based drinks are the way to go here.
With only a few small tables inside, this place is quite small. But the great thing is: there’s a patio! You can sit outside, in a cozy environment, hear the birds (OK, the cars) and have good wifi…this is a pretty cool coffee experience in NYC.
Not surprisingly, Charlotte Patisserie has an abundance of delicious pastries to choose from. I got the chance to taste the almond croissant (2,75$) and the carrot-apple muffin (2,50$). Both very good, especially the muffin. This has nothing to do with the greasy, overly sweet American style pastries, it has a bit more of a refined touch to it.
Charlotte Patisserie: 596 Manhattan avenue, Brooklyn, New York
If you’re a fan of the HBO series ‘Girls’, you might have seen this bakery before, as it’s featured on the serie as the place where Lena Dunham’s character works. Café Grumpy is definitely one of the most popular coffee places in the neighborhood, so expect a bit of a line if you come at rush hour in the morning (you probably won’t have to wait more than 10 minutes though).
The place is huge and has plenty of sitting space. I love this spaciness because even when it is full of people it doesn’t feel too crowded. This is a great place to come read your newspaper or (most probably) work on your device. That’s exactly what you’ll find everyone doing in the mornings: looking at their MacBooks while quietly sipping their iced latte. A good place to be productive!
Staff is very friendly and are helpful when it comes to explaining different types of coffee. Apparently the ‘flat white’ is a bestseller here, this is steamed milk poured over espresso, but differs from the latte by having less milk thus in proportion more coffee (it originates from Australia, though some people claim it’s a New Zealand thing). Anyway, this flat white was amazing! Full coffee taste, yet supported by the creaminess of the milk. With 4$ per cup (same for the cappuccino), this is the most expensive coffee around. That’s the only thing that could make me grumpy (yes I know, probably am not the first or the last one to make this joke).
I hadn’t heard many positive things about their pastries, but the whole wheat banana bread I tried(3$) is a must, best one I had in the neighborhood. Too bad cafe Grumpy is an ocean away from my home, this would be a place I would frequently like to visit!
The original cafe Grumpy can be found at 193 Meserole Avenue, Brooklyn, New York
OK, this has nothing to do with coffee (and is actually just outside of Greenpoint), but I still wanted to include this place as a bonus in this feed. After all, you can sit here, have wifi and sip a hot drink. Except in stead of coffee they serve matcha, which is a drink made with green tea powder and hot water. Originally from Japan, this drink has been getting more popular across the Western world. Matcha is believed to have numerous health benefits, e.g. by the big amount of antioxidants (mainly catechins), and has enough caffein and theanine to give you a energy boost.
Traditionally Matcha is served in Japan as part of a tea ceremony, but in this New York Matcha Bar you just pay and get your cup of Matcha. You also (untraditionally) get to choose what flavor you want (Fuji apple and ginger is a popular one) and if you want to add milk to it.
I went for the original matcha (3,25$). It has some kind of earthy taste, and has more body to it than a ‘normal’ green tea. I really enjoyed it! The place itself is quite nice too but felt a bit empty, since most people take their matcha to go. Might be a different story when it’s cold or rainy outside. The staff is super friendly, especially considering that they probably have to repeat the same explanation about what matcha is (and answer the same questions) all day.
Although for now matcha will not be my new coffee replacement, this place is totally worth checking out!
The Matchabar can be found on 93 Whyte Avenue, Brooklyn, New York