Coffee Connection: 3 hotspots for quality coffee (you may have never been)


Coffee shop connoisseur, Kara Bettis, is beginning to log her experiences at the myriad NYC java joints she's tried. Glean from her knowledge. Friday nights are full of surprises. But Saturday mornings, I’m pretty predictable--I can always be found with a mug of steaming coffee, curled up pretending to study in one of my favorite local coffee shops.

An iced skinny vanilla latte from Starbucks doesn't get old until someone spells your name wrong, and we've all had that New York urge to have a barista ask us by name, "The usual?"

Whether you are a coffee snob, or just need a place to hang, meet some friends or read, I advise that you check these out. (I refuse to review Top Places to Find King’s Students: Birch Coffee, Bean & Bean and Ace Hotel/Stumptown. Ask your best friends, and they will take you.)

Juan Valedez Cafe on 57th & Lex. Photo by Kara Bettis.

Here are my top favorites for a quality cup:

Juan Valedez Café is a bit of a hike on 57th and Lexington, but I made the trip frequently last year for their Campesino coffee and to practice my Spanish. The Campesino is a creamy Colombian coffee flavored with cinnamon and cloves. The sleek environment, Latin American aura and free Wi-Fi define it. Come here if you’re a coffee snob or want to meet rich businessmen on your lunch break.

Prodigy Coffee is down in my ‘hood on 33 Carmine Street. Its coffee is a bit pricey  but excellent. The last time I studied there, I asked for a Brazilian bean pour-over, and it was arguably one of the richest coffees I’ve ever tasted. Prodigy is so pretentious that they offer classes on coffee snobbery—er, education. Unfortunately, seating is limited, but the baristas are extremely friendly and very hip.

Fair Folks & a Goat, on 96 W. Houston Street (as well as 88th Street & 5th Ave.), hosted the TKC Business and Arts event last semester. Located in a basement, the eclectic café has a gallery-feel, and customers have the option of sitting on a gorgeous vintage couch or a community-style wooden table. Not only is the coffee as organic as it comes, but the owners are friendly and attempt to be on a first-name basis with everyone. If this place isn't unique enough, they offer a monthly membership of $25 for a daily coffee on the house and discounts on their art and events.

At a Glance:

Juan Valedez Café (Midtown East)

  • 57th & Lex
  • Latin American coffees
  • Wi-Fi: Yes (password on receipt)
  • Try: Campesino coffee

Prodigy Coffee (West Village)

  • Carmine & Bleecker
  • Every kind of coffee & espresso form
  • Wi-Fi: No
  • Try: Seasonal bean pour-over

Fair Folks & a Goat (NoHo)

  • Houston St. & LaGuardia Pl.
  • Very friendly
  • Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Try: Espresso