Comparing Four Coffee Shops in New York City
Everyone in New York City is basically fueled by coffee on the daily, which is why I decided to compare four coffee shops that really stood out to me: Cafe Jax, Starbucks Coffee Co., Think Coffee, and Perk Kafe. While at each location, I also made sure to order the same drink (vanilla iced coffee) and took a look at the ambiance inside as well.
Not to be biased or anything, but I basically live off of Starbucks...not only because I work there, but also because there’s a location on every corner. The iced coffee is pretty consistent at every location; however, I can tell that it’s sometimes watered down a bit too much. The vanilla at Starbucks is probably my favorite out of all the locations. Its sweetness compliments the acidity of the iced coffee, making it my go-to. One thing that I do recommend is actually ordering your drink with extra ice because it makes a huge difference. I can’t stand when I have like four ice cubes in my drink, which is more common than not. The atmosphere in Starbucks is something that I always love because they make it feel like home with the subtle music and airy ambiance, which is definitely something that keeps me from choosing other locations.
Located on 2nd Avenue, in between 96th and 97th, is a quaint little cafe called Perk Kafe. It’s definitely on the pricier side and the menu is limited, but the ambiance is something you can’t beat when it comes to studying. The iced coffee is really good, but they actually don’t offer any syrup sweeteners, which is disappointing for my taste buds because I don’t entirely enjoy black coffee as my first option. But, if you don’t need vanilla, then be my guest and visit Perk Kafe. They also have a fairly good iced chai tea as well.
Cafe Jax is conveniently located near the Q train on 84th St. and 2nd Avenue. I cannot recommend this place enough...seriously! It has amazing iced coffee, with an even better atmosphere. Once you purchase something from the main counter, you can make your way downstairs to a rustic, expansive space where everyone is typing away on their laptops. There’s a side door that leads to a little garden area where I sat. It’s super small, but it’s like a little getaway from the hustle and bustle. Coffee wise, I received the perfect amount of ice to correlate with just the right amount of vanilla.
I know I’ve been focusing on locations in the UES, but my friend and I were downtown earlier this week and needed some coffee. We tried this placed called Think Coffee at 1 Bleecker Street (they have multiple locations) and we had a positive experience. There’s a lot of room inside the cafe itself and it has a rustic-meets-modern feel. The iced coffee seemed a little weak, but that might be my fault for going a bit crazy with the cream. The vanilla is really good and I also noticed that 10% of their profits go directly towards Grand Street Settlement, a nonprofit that runs programs to help youth, seniors, and families in the city.
Overall, Starbucks will always be my go-to because they pay the bills (haha, just kidding), but merely because of the convenience and atmosphere. Although, if I had to choose, Cafe Jax was probably my favorite of the four places, but they all have different qualities. Iced coffee (and ambiance) varies from one location to the next, but there are always little gems hidden in the city that are definitely worth finding.