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.

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.