10 Healthly Spots To Get Your Caffeine Fix In Lower Manhattan

Photo of Tanvi Malik
31 October 2016

In recent years, coffee has gotten a bad reputation, but we’re here to tell you that it’s okay to have a little caffeine once in a while to energize your system. There are plenty of organic, wholesome and healthy coffee options in Lower Manhattan, as well as alternatives that have just as much kick as a shot of espresso. Here are 10 great options to give you a little boost at any time of day.

O Café | Image Courtesy of O Café

O Café

Bar, Cafe, Coffee Shop, Brazilian, $$$
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O Cafe, New York.
O Cafe is a great spot for lively conversation | © O Cafe
With an emphasis on eco-friendly and sustainable practices, O Café has LED/low consumption lighting, reclaimed wood furniture, 90 per cent compost production and best of all, fair-trade agriculture. Sourced from trusted suppliers, every drink on the menu is guaranteed to give you that feel-good factor. Try the matcha green tea latte for an alternative option – a natural immunity booster filled with antioxidants.

Ground Support Café

Cafe, Snack Bar, Pub Grub, American, $$$
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Small enough to be cozy but large enough to fit at least half of the Soho weekend crowd, Ground Support Café is one of the few coffee shops that hasn’t franchised and is committed to serving you the best cup of coffee every single time. Their most popular drink is arguably the almond milk latte, which is suitable for vegans. It’s smooth, potent and satisfying at any time of the day. Grab a cup and a seat by the window for casual people watching or perhaps meeting a local celebrity.

Bosie Tea Parlor

Nestled in the West Village, Bosie Tea Parlor offers a break from the bustle of the city with a selection of over 100 handpicked loose-leaf teas from their resident Tea Master. Whether you’re in for a bold black or a soothing white, there will always be something for you. In addition, you can enjoy a pastry, macaron or savory dish made fresh from carefully sourced ingredients. Located on a quiet side street, this is the perfect spot for Saturday afternoon tea.

Hu Kitchen

Restaurant, Bar, Healthy, $$$
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A self-proclaimed proponent of the food revolution, Hu Kitchen serves unprocessed, ethically sourced food or ‘food for humans’, they call it. As coffee has now become one of the most pesticide-ridden crops, Hu promises that their drinks are made from organic coffee that is certifiably clean. The most interesting and intense item on the menu is the Crack Coffee. It includes organic coconut oil, which has endless benefits, and grass-fed butter. Save this one for those unbearable Mondays.

La Colombe Torrefaction

Cafe, Coffee Shop, North American, $$$
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La Colombe
La Colombe | © Alejandro De La Cruz / Flickr

If you ever need a coffee education, head straight to La Colombe Torrefaction. With an impressive variety of beans to match their extensive list of drinks, this is the place to brush up on your current coffee politics. While you sip on a deliciously bitter Cortado, take a look at the long list of company ethics and initiatives dealing with issues such as orphaned children and clean water supplies in Africa. Dedicated to working in regions with the greatest need to source their coffee while being earth-conscious, La Colombe makes you feel like you aren’t just buying a cup of coffee – you’re also donating to a good cause.

Porto Rico Importing Co.

Coffee Shop, Market, Tea
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Peacefood Café
Peacefood Café | Courtesy of Peacefood Café
While first established on Bleecker Street in 1907, Porto Rico Importing Co. has since expanded to open more branches across Lower Manhattan. The Lower East Side café is quieter than the others, as it is located inside the Essex Street Market, and offers the same high-quality coffee with incredible variety. When you walk in, you are greeted with dozens of bags filled with coffee beans, each one from a different region with a distinct taste. Feel free to ask the knowledgeable staff about origin and best uses. You can buy fresh beans and have them ground in-store, or get a ‘dirty’ chai latte to go, a variation on the traditional chai latte with an added shot of espresso – the perfect combination of bitter and sweet.

Peacefood Café

Reinventing food on the basis that peace begins on your plate, Peacefood Café serves up some of the best vegan dishes, baked goods and drinks. Whether you’re vegan or not, you’ll want to head over for a coffee-free ginger soy latte. The ginger provides you with all the antibacterial goodness you need while the soymilk gives it a smooth, rich consistency. It’s light enough to leave room for you to try one of their raw desserts on the way out; the key lime pie is a local favorite.

Selection of Cakes at Tea & Sympathy @ Tea & Sympathy

Tea & Sympathy

Cafe, Tea Room, Restaurant, British, $$$
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Afternoon tea, desserts and sweets.
Afternoon tea, desserts and sweets | © Supreecha Samansukumal / Shutterstock
Paying homage to the quintessential British tradition of teatime, Tea & Sympathy offers an extensive menu of English dishes accompanied by a long list of drinks. Teas vary from those imported directly from England, ones that originate in different parts of the world, specialty house blends, and other brands of high quality tea. For a great alternative to boozy brunches or quick coffees, stop by and have a leisurely afternoon over a pot of tea.

Two Hands

Bar, Cafe, Restaurant, Australian, $$$
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Located in the trendy Nolita neighborhood, Two Hands is an Australian-run café that specializes in quality coffee and wholesome yet healthy food and drink. Visit them for brunch on the weekends and you’re guaranteed a wait, which goes to show that they’re doing something right. They support local artists by exhibiting their work in the shop, host occasional events, and promote social causes. Enjoy an espresso at the bar table by the window, as you take in the industrial-chic vibe and the busy chatter around you.

Third Rail Coffee

Cafe, Coffee Shop, North American
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Third Rail Coffee
Third Rail Coffee | Courtesy of Third Rail Coffee

Sometimes, the best coffee shops serve more than just great coffee. Third Rail Coffee is a great example as their hot cocoa is definitely one for the records. Made with fresh dairy products from local farms, there is nothing better on a cold New York evening. They also have a vibrant social and cultural involvement, which you can follow either in store or on their blog. Supporting local artists, coffeemakers and causes, this is the place to get involved with your community through a shared appreciation of all things brewed.