We previously compiled a list of the Top 10 Coffee Shops in Manhattan for design buffs and now we’re tackling Brooklyn. The following is by no means a complete list of coffee shops in Brooklyn, but after checking out many, many coffee shops, we decided to highlight some of our favorites.
Naturally, we were intrigued when we heard about this flower shop/coffee shop that opened recently in Greenpoint. Homecoming—formerly called Spina, which means “thorn” in Italian—started as a floral design company. Owners Vanessa Chinga-Haven and Paul Diaz hope to lure people in the door with Blue Bottle coffee and donuts by Dough, then keep them hanging around for floral arrangements and gift items. There’s not a lot of space to sit, but the pint-sized shop is a nice place to stop for a coffee and flower bouquet to go.
Also mentioned in our Untapped Guide to Bushwick, AP Café’s stark minimal interior makes it a design destination. Notable features include exterior and interior waterfalls, fresh flowers and stone benches. The menu includes Horchata, Thai iced tea and Vietnamese coffee, plus donuts by Dough. AP is a great place to relax with a cup of coffee after checking out the Bushwick Collective’s murals on Troutman Street.
Toby’s Estate roasts their coffee on the premises of this shop, which was once a meat-provisioning house. At the coffee counter up front, they make espresso and brew drip coffee by the cup. They sell pastries from local bakers, including Ovenly, and have a brew school, where you can take private lessons on extracting, brewing, cupping and tasting coffee. We love their interior design, which displays vintage objects on modern shelves, but so do a lot of locals, so it can be hard to find a seat.
Brooklyn Roasting Company keeps getting bigger and bigger, literally. They’ve been gradually taking over the huge former warehouse at 25 Jay Street in DUMBO. The space is now home to their commercial coffee roasters and grinders, a coffee counter where you can order their fair trade, organic brews, and plenty of seating space. Grab a spot on one of the big orange couches or perch yourself at one of the tables made from wood they salvaged during the renovations. This is a great place to hang out for hours.
Founded in Oakland, California, Blue Bottle Coffee’s mission is to bring coffee back to its fresh, delicious state. They only serve coffee that has been roasted less than 48 hours prior to being brewed and use traditional, small batch brewing methods. Though they have several locations in New York City, the Williamsburg café is the only one where you can ogle the Kyoto-style Oji cold press coffee makers (on the right), which brew coffee one drop at a time for eighteen hours.
Sweetleaf is another Williamsburg favorite and the second outpost of the much-loved coffee shop in Long Island City. The location on Kent Ave shares a building with Modern Spaces real estate office. The bar is made of antique doors and has a beautiful espresso machine by La Marzocco, but the most appealing aspect of the decor might be the foosball table. The coffee’s not bad either.
Not only is Smith Canteen’s decor charming, with marble countertops and a white tin ceiling, but their coffee is some of the best in the borough. The cappuccino we ordered was a perfect blend of espresso and steamed milk, the likes of which we have only tasted in Italy. Smith Canteen serves some mouthwateringly delicious pastries as well. We wouldn’t expect any less from the folk behind Seersucker, the Carroll Gardens restaurant serving farm-to-table Southern fare.
Propeller is one of those great spaces where you can still see traces of the past–in this case, as a delicatessen. The owners have kept the Beata Delicatessen sign out front, and inside the cafe is like a tribute to midcentury modern design. The mismatched tables and chairs look like they might have come from your grandmother’s house (if your grandmother had very good taste, that is). Vintage photos of airplanes and a toy plane on the counter speak to the cafe’s name. Free wifi and a chill staff makes this a great place to work.
Photo Credit: Hungry Ghost Café
Hungry Ghost, whose main location is on Flatbush Avenue, recently opened a cafe inside the new BRIC House. Hungry Ghost is a neighborhood favorite known for its relaxed vibe and great selection of coffee and food. They serve Stumptown coffee and freshly baked snacks inside BRIC House and a full lunch menu on Flatbush Ave. The main draw of their outpost in BRIC is the colorful murals decorating the wall and coffee counter, which will rotate, giving local artists a chance to customize the space.
We resisted putting another Greenpoint coffee shop on this list, but Milk & Roses has such a lovely atmosphere we had to include it. When you cross the threshold, it feels like you might be entering someone’s private library. The walls are full of hardbound books, a piano sits on the side of the room and inviting couches and tables and chairs are positioned throughout. There’s a charming garden in the back. In the evening, Milk & Roses serves wine and delicious Italian food (the owners are Italian). They often host poetry readings and other events.
Photo via Nimba Cafe
We heard great things about Nimba, and we found great things. Friendly owners, great service, Wi-Fi, eclectic decor, and real food besides pastries and coffee. A real neighborhood gem, we almost didn’t want to break the secret.