Think Coffee

248 Mercer Street, New York, NY 

Think Coffee thought about social responsibility and sustainability even before these concepts became trendy buzzwords. The coffee is purchased directly from producers across the world, conjugating fair trade and great taste.

Today’s espresso had a good liquorice aftertaste and  a liquid texture. Service is good, even though the preparation takes longer than other coffee places. The quality of  drinks  and food is worth the wait. Apart from the good cappuccinos and espressos, scones and toasted bagels with tofu cream cheese are highly recommended

The design of the interior contributes to the pleasure of the experience: exposed brick walls, vintage tables of different sizes and a couch give many options for feeling at home, while enjoying a coffee or a cappuccino.

Ninth Street Espresso

700 East 9th Street, NY 

The intersection between 9th Street and Avenue C is blessed by two communal gardens, excellent food (Esperanto and Barnyard Cheese Store) and great espresso. Ninth Street Espresso can be found in different places around the city; however the original Alphabet City location is still the favorite.

At Ninth Street’s, the espresso is like the furniture and the décor of the place: rigorous and essential. The texture is smooth; the flavor is perfectly calibrated with no spikes in acidity or bitterness. The complimentary glass of water is another sign of attention and care, still not very common in the city.

Take a walk past Tompkins Square, sit at Ninth Street Espresso’s window and enjoy a cup of coffee as the life in Alphabet City unfolds in front of you.

Intelligentsia Coffee

53 East Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 

A trip to Chicago is a good opportunity to visit one of the Intelligentsia’s coffee bars.

While waiting in line to order the espresso, the difference with New York becomes tangible. The customers are not in a hurry, the baristas have a slower pace and the overall pace is less hectic, both in the coffee bar and in the street outside.

When the coffee is ready, after a couple of minutes, the wait is rewarded with a top quality espresso. The texture is thick and velvety, there is no trace of any acid aftertaste: a dose of pure coffee flavor awakens the senses.

A visit to an Intelligentsia Coffee bar is a good excuse for a trip to Chicago.

La Colombe

400 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 

The NoHo location of La Colombe is about two things: light and coffee.

If you are used to the traditional coffee places in New York – narrow, long and lacking natural light – you’d better bring a pair of sunglasses. The place is filled with natural light. The square footage of the windows rivals with the size of the interior, and gives a sensation of harmonious integration with the adjacent streets.

The coffee machine placed at the center of the room reminds the customers that at La Colombe coffee is the king. In such a large location, you would expect all kinds of foods and beverages to be served. This is not the case: the choices are limited to coffee and milk, in all the traditional variations and combinations, and a few delicious pastries. The lack of other food in the menu means no smells of burnt bread or melted cheese. At the same time, the baristas can keep their focus on what they should do.

Coffee is simply delicious. Not acid at all, with a thick texture and bitter flavor leaving a hint of dark chocolate in the background. The complimentary sparkling and still water at a self service sink is a nice and appreciated idea.

La Colombe is indeed a great experience. I suggest to try also the other locations: this way the line in Lafayette Street won’t get too long.