Coffee Shops in New York City | Devoción, AP Café, Think Coffee
Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
What I drank: Cold Brew Coffee.
Verdict: Definitely one of the best cold brews I’ve ever had. It’s reeeally strong with a distinct taste. (This was actually the first cold brew I’d had outside of work, where we have the bottled Grady’s version. A new obsession began.)
Inside: Couches. Wide open space. High ceilings with a sky-light. Bar-style counter. Bright. Jungle wall of ivy. Chilled. Brick walls. Big bags brimming with coffee beans, lying around. Style is a mixture of French café and nautical. This place doesn’t get incredibly noisy, plenty of people working on their laptops either on the couches, along the ivy wall, or at one of the tables.
Their Story: The Williamsburg location is actually a converted warehouse, so worth the historical visit in itself, and they’re planning on hosting cultural events there in the future. Their website is very comprehensive and packed with useful and interesting information, engaging sketched infographics, and even a brew guide – this is exactly what I need to see from a coffee shop! They magnificently present coffee as a true science and art, explaining the brewing process and the coffee bean sourcing, telling the story behind it all on their blog.
Coffee Bean Source: 100% Colombian, farm-to-table coffee roasters. These guys even have a Sustainability Manager, so representing and promoting an environmentally sound coffee landscape is obviously important to them and to the café’s mission. Most of the beans are milled in Bogotá, where Devoción helps out with developing sustainable practices, paying fair trade prices, and including the farmers of the local communities.
2. AP Café
Location: Brunswick Collective, Brooklyn.
What I drank: Filter Coffee.
Verdict: I much prefer drip coffee to americanos these days. And you can’t go wrong with drip coffee and good company on the first snowy weekend in New York, can you?
Inside: The best natural lighting of any café I have ever been in. The decor is very simple yet modern, the three dominant shades being white, baby blue, and teak wood. A sleek waterfall cascades down one of the walls. The interior design is artistically minimalist, and the steel door gives a nod to the café’s previous status as a metal shop. Around the back of the café is another open space (with no windows) with a massive mirror, high ceilings and green plants. Perfect area to study or for laptop work.
Specialty: AP’s website doesn’t seem like a coffee shop website at a first glance – the word which jumps out is “creative.” These guys have created a space where both creativity and calmness merge, without any clutter. The café has been called “a philosopher’s haven,” and I love how much emphasis they put on the importance of the interior of the coffee shop to complete the experience. AP has been featured in loads of café reviews for its sleek and bright aesthetic. “A Place”, “Advanced Placement”, “Awesome People” – this place stands for a gamut of connotations! It’s not surprising that the owners are a mix of artists, metalworkers, architects and musicians, who designed and built the place themselves.
Coffee Bean Source: The guys source everything in-house, and say their specialty coffee comes from “people who care.”
3. Think Coffee
Location: East Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
What I drank: Cold Brew Coffee.
Verdict: It was a tiny bit weak for my liking, but otherwise top-notch.
Inside: Unassuming exterior, very polished indoors. This is a small café, a bit off the track, but I passed by one evening and peeked inside and loved how laptop-work-friendly the layout was, with a line of benches, marble tables and stools along a red-brick wall. The floor is beautifully tiled, and coffee books can be found on the counter. The space around the coffee machine has an almost industrial feel, with bags of coffee beans in sight.
Specialty: Think Coffee has locations all over New York, especially Manhattan, so I’m keen to check out the others. Some even serve beer and wine. The café chain is mission-focused: they use compostable paper products, and donate 10% of their profits to Grand Street Settlement and Hudson Guild.
Coffee Bean Source: Another example of a company leading the way in terms of ethically sourced coffee beans – and letting people know about it, too. Their website, much like Devoción’s, is dedicated to sharing the stories and origins of their produce and the sourcing process. Enter Social Project Coffee: they actually travel to their coffee locations to build a relationship with the farmers who work with them, emphasising empowerment and community. Think Coffee cares, and has embarked on several other initiatives such as partnering with the NGO Days for Girls, a housing project in Aponte, and improving working conditions and even education. They also give wonderful descriptions of each coffee bean, which come from Colombia, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, and Mexico.