By Sabrina Sucato
As any seasoned traveler knows, caffeine is essential. Not only does it give you energy in the morning, but it also helps you rally through long layovers, treks through city centers, and hikes in the countryside. In its various forms, caffeine keeps you going when you need it.
In New York City, aka the city that never sleeps, coffee is what fuels the hustle and bustle. A trip to the Big Apple should undoubtedly involve at least one stop into a chic coffee shop. The difficult part comes with picking exactly which shop to order your brew.
Luckily, eco-minded wanderers can narrow down their search to the city's green cafes. Scattered throughout Manhattan, these environmentally friendly or sustainable stops are the perfect way to get the energy fix you crave and maybe even pick up a bite to eat too. Although with so many unique, and delicious, options, you may find yourself traversing the city streets to visit them all. Take note of these five hotspots so you are prepared the next time you find yourself in New York.
1. Think Coffee
With multiple locations scattered throughout the city, Think Coffee is the ideal retreat for lovers of coffee, plain and simple. The business focuses on quality, fair trade roasts that have flavorful notes like caramel, chocolate, and cherry. If the java alone doesn’t have you dashing to one of the NYC outposts, then the brand’s commitment to community outreach certainly will. In the farm zones of each of its single brew coffee locations, Think develops a unique initiative to improve the area. From planting trees in Nicaragua to providing electricity and computers to a school in Ethiopia, Think has the global good in mind at all times.
Founded in Greenwich Village, Jack’s Stir Brew has expanded throughout New York. The brand prides itself on being the first NYC coffeehouse to serve exclusively fair trade, organic, and shade-grown coffee. The beans are sourced from farms in Central and South America and are prepared using Jack’s unique “stir brew” technique. When you order up a cup of Jack’s Stir Brew, don’t forget to include one of the company’s yummy vegan, organic pastries. The apple cider and chocolate blackout donuts are both mouthwatering breakfast or snack options.
For a one-of-a-kind eco-experience, head to Jivamuktea Cafe, located right near Union Square. In addition to offering standard coffee-based beverages, the spot also serves up a number of flavorful organic teas. Order the Shiva Chai if you want the flavor of tea plus the jolt of caffeine; it is spiked with an espresso shot. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with the house Jivamuktea Chai or one of the other flavored or plain varieties.
If you need a snack or meal to go with your drink, you can feel comfortable ordering in-house. Jivamuktea’s menu is completely vegan and uses as many organic ingredients as possible. The cafe aims to complement the spiritual practices utilized at its Jivamukti Yoga School. That means you can relax and recharge with a comforting drink before you head out to continue your NYC adventures.
This West Village treasure is a must-visit for the mouthwatering lattes alone. With options like the Honey Vanilla Rooibos Latte and the German Chocolate Cake Latte, you’ll probably find yourself standing in front of the counter for a good couple of minutes as you debate what to order. Regardless of which drink you select, your purchase will be made with organic and rainforest alliance-certified coffee or organic tea. What’s more, all the coffee is locally brewed in New Jersey and the teas are blended by an NYC tea company housed in Greenwich Village.
Grounded takes its name to heart. It further honors its New York roots by using Murray’s Bagels and This Chick Bakes, two Big Apple businesses, to supply its bagels and sweets each day. If you’re looking for a true city experience that minimizes its environmental impact, this is the place to go.
If the name alone doesn’t tip you off, then one look at the cafe’s menu certainly will. This small nook in the Upper East Side celebrates organic, vegan fare with a curated selection of tasty plates and drinks. All of the coffees and teas available are organic, as are the signature juices and smoothies. If your day of sightseeing leaves you famished as well as parched, you can happily snack on a vegan snack or sweet or order up one of the larger breakfast, lunch, or dinner specials.
The cafe itself is on the tiny side, so don’t be surprised if you can’t find a spot to sit. If that’s the case, take your order to go and stroll around the neighborhood as you munch.
With enticing eco-conscious cafes scattered throughout Manhattan, you can enjoy all the city has to offer without having to sacrifice your green ideals. So tuck into one of these stops for a quick respite and order up a cup of piping hot organic coffee. You won’t regret it!
Sabrina is a 20-something freelance writer based in the scenic Hudson Valley, NY. She has lived in both Bologna and Milan, Italy, and is now hopelessly addicted to gelato. When she's not writing or dreaming of Italy, she can be found drinking copious amounts of coffee and testing out new dessert recipes.