Searching for Manhattan’s Best Coffee


For visitors to New York City, Manhattan offers several choices for a good cup of coffee. Especially when the weather turns cold (I especially love the fall), a great coffee shop hits the spot. Luckily, I have family in the area who have directed me to some terrific venues over time. For those tourists with a coffee craving, I wanted to share a few of my favorites. As a visitor, it’s nice to go where the locals go and the below are all New York institutions.

Porto Rico Importing Co.

Porto Rico Importing Co.

Porto Rico Importing Co.

I have been coming here for years. Located in New York’s West Village, visitors will be almost overwhelmed by the numerous bags of coffee beans stacked around the shop. The powerful smell of the coffee aroma is difficult to resist which visitors will notice before they enter the store.

Originally established in 1907, Porto Rico offers visitors fresh beans (or the friendly staff will grind the coffee) from Costa Rica, Kenya, India, Burundi, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi, Brazil and Guatemala as examples. Flavors are diverse and range from standard coffees to more adventurous flavors like Swiss chocolate almond, orange, strudel cake, and, chocolate. There are so many choices of coffee beans that it is almost hard to choose.

For visitors with caffeine sensitivities, a separate wall is stacked with bags of unusual decaf flavors including mint and coconut. Tea is also available behind the register.

Inside Porto Rico--Coffee Everywhere

Inside Porto Rico–Coffee Everywhere

A one pound bag of coffee will run roughly ten to fifteen dollars a pound. Individual cups of coffee are found at the coffee bar in the back and expect lines to be long as this shop is popular.

Unfortunately, the shop has no chairs inside but two busy benches are situated outside. If the weather is nice, I like nothing better than to sit outside Porto Rico Importing Co. relaxing in the Village and enjoying a memorable cup of coffee.

Porto Rico Importing Co.
201 Bleecker Street
New York, New York 10012
Phone: (212)477-5421

Irving Farm Coffee Roasters

Irving Farm Coffee Roasters

Irving Farm Coffee Roasters

Originally founded near Manhattan’s Union Square in 1996, Irving Farm has a few locations scattered around Manhattan, including inside the terminal of Grand Central Station. On my most recent visit to New York, I happened to stop at the Upper West Side location for a tasty cup of the house blend (which I highly recommend).

Offering coffees such as from Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Rainforest coffees, Irving Farm does a booming business.

Along with coffees and teas, a large assortment of fresh baked goods are available including cookies, homemade pretzel sticks (yum!), olive and parmesan focaccia bread as well as various pastries and scones. Even pop tarts are available for the kids, which gives a family atmosphere.

On my latest visit to the 79th Street location, brunch was being served, as well as a menu board with sandwiches and salads. This particular location even offers two choices of artisan beers on tap. Wine is also available.

Lines Inside Irving Farm

Lines Inside Irving Farm

A cup of coffee will run roughly $2.00 to $3.00 and the interior of the shop is relaxing, with plenty of tables and chairs. It’s a good place to linger.

Be sure to arrive early as lines will be long. Irving Farm is popular and their locally roasted coffee is hard to beat.

Irving Farm Coffee Roasters
224 West 79th Street
New York, New York 10024
Phone: (212)874-7979

The Sensuous Bean

The Sensuous Bean

The Sensuous Bean

I like little coffee shops that only seem to be well known by locals. The Sensuous Bean fits this description. Located just a couple blocks from Strawberry Fields in Central Park, this shop is packed full of coffee beans as well as some chocolate sweets to try.

With bags of unusual coffee bean flavors like walnut, white chocolate mousse, buttered rum, caramel, and, apple crumb, this shop offers a variety of unique tastes. The best-selling coffee is the Sensuous Blend, which is a must to take to Central Park. On my latest visit, I also tried the chocolate blueberry which is seasonal and definitely worth trying. This shop also offers a coffee of the month special.

A cup of coffee will run roughly $2.00 to $3.00 depending on the selection. One pound bags of coffee beans tend to run in the range of ten to eighteen dollars.

The Sensuous Bean Inside--Coffee Everywhere

The Sensuous Bean Inside–Coffee Everywhere

While the Sensuous Bean has no room for tables inside, there are a couple of benches outside. With the close proximity to Central Park though, this shop is a great stop for coffee to go and savor in the park.

Big things come in small packages and the big tastes at the Sensuous Bean are a treat.

The Sensuous Bean
66 West 70th Street
New York, New York 10023
Phone: (212)724-7225

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