The best coffee in Brooklyn

The best coffee in Brooklyn

It’s no secret that my time in Melbourne turned me into a coffee snob. It’s made me unable to enjoy a Starbuck’s latte (there’s so much milk! And no beautiful design on top!) and completely distrusting of the standard drip coffee. While I still drink one mug of drip coffee every morning at work (mostly because it’s free), I barely consider it “real” coffee.

Coffee at Toby's Estate, Williamsburg, Brooklyn New York

I save my standards and my indulgence for my weekends in Brooklyn: there, I can get a proper latte. Here are a few of my favorite places around the neighborhood.

Coffee at Toby's Estate, Williamsburg, Brooklyn New York

Toby’s Estate

I was thrilled when I saw a Toby’s Estate in New York: I used to go to Toby’s Estate when I was in Sydney for the weekend, and I even hired them as part of a Redfern-focused event when I worked at Great Dane. The Williamsburg café is everything that I loved about Australian cafes: good coffee, simple and delicious treats, communal tables and big, sunny windows. Toby’s Estate is my favorite for Sunday afternoon sessions with a friend or the New York Times, and my go-to for coffee meetings in Williamsburg.

Smith Canteen Chicory Latte, Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Smith Canteen

I go far out of my way for the chicory latte at Smith Canteen in Carroll Gardens: the blend of coffee beans and chicory is earthy and rich. The drip coffee is some of the best I’ve found as well, and you just can’t beat the homemade pop-tarts. It’s a bit crowded, but charming with Mediterranean tile floors, wooden accents and aged mirrors.

 Coffee at Blue Bottle, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

Blue Bottle

Although it’s originally from San Francisco, the Williamsburg Blue Bottle still feels decidedly Brooklyn to me. The space is very industrial loft, with high ceilings and an open-air front. It’s a bit more merchandised, coffee table cookbooks and premium espresso machines. However, the coffee is still darn good.

Coffee at Black & Gold in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, New York

Black Gold Records

A record store that doubles as a coffee shop, the focus at Black Gold is more on quality roasted beans than fancy latte art. A solid place to stop for a coffee before heading to brunch at Buttermilk Channel or Prime Meats.

French press coffee at Pates et Traditions in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

Pates et Traditions

I only recently discovered this gem in my neighborhood, but it’s become a favorite for sunny brunches: the crepes are delicious, the orange juice is fresh-squeezed and there’s a delightful sidewalk terrace. Another bonus at Pates et Traditions is the excellent French press coffee: wonderful to order with a few friends!

Christine Amorose at Oslo in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York


My go-to for weekend morning coffee: the lattes are expertly crafted, the day’s horoscopes are posted at the register and there’s no Wifi. Oslo has a strong hold in the community: I often run into my yoga teachers or friends of friends or a person who looks vaguely familiar, and I later realize they were my bartender the night before. Perfect to grab a cup to go, or read the Times at the communal table in the natural light.

What’s your favorite place for coffee in Brooklyn?

  • Megan Clark

    Sounds like I’ll have to come pick a favorite one of these days. Great post and photos!

  • Anđela Ćenan

    ooooooooooh, I’d love to try ALL OF THEM. I LOVE LOVE LOVE coffee.

  • ksommerkamp

    Mmm… these all look delicious! I’m off to NYC actually in almost a week (can’t wait!!). Do you have any coffee recommendation around Times Square? 🙂

  • lindsaypunk

    Love this! I evaluate my coffee shops more by their pour overs and drip coffee, but there is definitely some overlap with the ones you pointed out for their espresso drinks! Toby’s does a fantastic pour over. Cafe Grumpy (you know, the one from ‘Girls’ – though I’ve been going there for nearly 6 yrs now!) has great pour overs AND drip (a bit pricey though). Upright has LAVENDER LATTES and almond chai lattes (I feel like you need to experience this!) but it’s more of a to-go place. Gimme Coffee is always a solid choice, also to-go. Oh and one of my faves in WB – El Beit – has great drip and even better espresso beans; they have a great back patio and open air bar seats in warmer weather, so this is where I usually come to do work on my laptop if I need a change of scenery from my apt.

  • John

    How can drop coffee be barely considered rare coffee….? If anything, you’re confusing it with lattes. No one’s tastes matter to me, but come on. Drip and brewed coffee is the actual taste and body of coffee, not espresso cut by tons of milk.

  • Katelyn

    Fun fact–Blue Bottle is actually from Oakland, not San Francisco :).

  • camorose


  • camorose


  • camorose

    There’s a Grumpy’s in Midtown! Unfortunately, I feel like most of Midtown is either Starbucks or street carts 🙁

  • camorose

    I actually walked by Gimme the other day and realized it’s the closest to my house–I need to check it out more often!

  • camorose

    Fair point. Will keep this in mind in the future–but I still prefer lattes 🙂

  • camorose

    Oh! Fun fact!

  • Drip coffee is real coffee if done right. Let real Italians make one for you and you’ll forever change your mind. I personally drink drip coffee black or single/double shot espresso with only a splash of milk, none of the other fancy shmancy stuff. One of my absolute favorites, The Roasting Plant, unfortunately is not [yet] in Brooklyn, so I will gladly bike over the bridge towards LES just for a cup of their fresh-roasted black coffee. My other favorite is Gorilla Coffee (mostly for their tea selection & Balthazar pastries) and Trois Pommes (mostly for pastries) in Park Slope. I stop by Smith Canteen & Bien Cuit every so often when I go food shopping at Trader Joe’s, and at Choice Market in my old neighborhood, Clinton Hill, when visiting my old roomies.

  • camorose

    Oh ok! I will definitely check out the Roasting Plant 🙂

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  • Carmen SD

    Thank you! I lived in Melbourne for a year and coffee anywhere else has never been the same! As a San Francisco native I grew up on Peets and then Philz and then Blue Bottle, but I yearn for that perfectly crafted Cap! I am always looking for coffee shops that deliver even a snip of what Melbs does, I will be in Brooklyn next week and cannot wait to try Toby’s!

  • camorose

    Hooray! Check out Two Hands in Little Italy too, all of the baristas are Australian and can make a mean Flat White 🙂

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