Coffee Diaspora in NYC

Affordable and corporate-free coffee from one of Manhattan's newest, Le Cafe Coffee.
Affordable and corporate-free coffee from one of Manhattan’s newest, Le Cafe Coffee.
Never will you find a wider selection of coffee shops than in New York City. But which one to visit as a break from the daily grind? A chain or an independent? Organic, fair trade or coffee from a cooperative? A high brow fresh brew or a cheaper, proletariat variety?

If you were on Bowery last week, you saw lines for the temporary Cat Café enticing the thirsty to a complimentary Cat’achino in exchange for adopting a furry feline. I forgot my Zyrtec so I skipped the hype.

Instead of researching guides or Yelp reviews, I narrowed my search to be based solely on international appeal. I popped in and out of cafes all over Greenwich Village, Flatiron, Gramercy and Chelsea, weighing in on their popularity based on origin and descent. Here’s three worth mentioning:

1. A Touch of Paris: Maison Kayser
Don’t expect a smile with your expresso but the breads are flawless. Worth the coffee aristocracy is a glass display case of award-winning baguettes, croissants, rolls and desserts.

2. Republic of Korea: Caffe Bene
A leading coffee label in South Korea, this outpost of multicultural space has over 86 shops in the U.S. alone. Modeled on the traditional “Sarangbang” study room, the difference is that women are welcome.

3. Aussie Baristas: Culture Expresso Bar
Outback accents are plenty at what the New York Times dubs “one of the few serious coffee bars in Midtown.” Inside, I enjoyed a cozy relief from the coffee wasteland of surrounding Starbucks.