New Yorkers love coffee. They can’t live without it. So it comes as no surprise that they have some of the best coffee shops on the planet.
I thought London was good at cool coffee shops. It is – Shoreditch Grind and Ozone Coffee Roasters both impressed me lately with their smooth and dreamy lattes. But I was in heaven when I discovered Birch Coffee. This place takes coffee to another level.
We were staying in the Gershwin in the Flat Iron district. So when I discovered I only had to go downstairs, through the hotel lobby and then take a one minute walk down East 27th Street (between Madison and 5th), to find this coffee haven, all my dreams had come true. It was enough to make any jet-lagged traveller feel human again.
I’ll start with some of their cool daily slogans that they display on the street:
‘Cheer up, you’ve found good (amazing) coffee’.
…and here are some other rather amusing messages they’ve been known to display:
‘Come in and check out our jugs’ (meh he he)
And then they’ve been known to have questions of the day:
‘How does Roosevelt Island dispose of its trash?’
Ok, so anyone can do this. It’s easy marketing and the proof’s in the er, coffee. But I like a place that has wit and do you know what? They’re actually right, they do make amazing coffee.
Step into the warehousey-feel shop that’s decked out in low-hanging bulbs, huge big wooden tables and a quirky library next door and you’ll instantly see why this is where the hipsters hang out.
Rich aromas fill the air, hessian sacks of coffee beans sit on the work top and delicious pastries sit on the front counter.
Then they have these cool daily initiatives to get people talking to each other. You grab a little sign which asks a question like ‘what genre would the movie about your life be?‘, or ‘who would write the soundtrack to your life and why?‘ and then voilà! Conversation ignited.
Ok, so this would possibly not be up everyone’s street (fancy a stranger coming to talk to you before you’ve had your morning caffeine fix? Maybe not). But Birch does serve alcoholic beverages (i.e. mainly beer and wine) in the evenings so if you’re up for some mingling, maybe one for later in the day? Genius if you ask me.
Alas, it was 9am and we were about to do some exploring so making friends wasn’t really on our agenda. Eating some amazing pastries and sipping their velvety coffee was.
Coffee here ranges from the usual espresso and macchiato to the good old lattes, cappuccinos and ‘cold brews’.
They do all sorts of granolas and oatmeal for breakfast, plus lunch snacks like ‘grilled cheeses’ (toasties). But the blueberry and cheese Danish-style pastry that I ate was out of this world.
As for the coffee, I could go on and on about how good it is. There’s no sharp bitterness you so often get in coffee. Nor that overwhelming acidic feeling you get from certain big chains that make you feel like you’re drinking engine fuel. No, this was smooth, velvety, not over-powering but still held flavour.
Birch coffee hearts you. I heart Birch coffee.
Now hurry up and open some shops in London!
Until next time x
Nearest metro to Birch Flatiron: 28th St (6) (IRT Lex Ave line)
Other locations: Upper East Side, Upper West Side, 7th Avenue, Long Island City
Birch Coffee has been nominated for a Time Out Love New York Award. Vote for them here.