Many Bed-Stuy coffee shops are independently owned. But, if you’re wondering whether any are worth leaving home for, this list takes a look at those coffee houses that win us over with both quality and personality.
A good coffee shop has to be functional and comfortable. At the same time, we also want it to be good for working alone and chatting with friends, not to mention, delicious enough to justify the cost.
I ranked these according to the quality of their cappuccino since they cost between $3.50 and $4 with espresso or drip coffee costing less. I also considered how useful a space is for working, talking, or eating.
#1. The Civil Service Cafe
279 Nostrand Ave.
The standout cappuccino: a well-done foam on top of a perfectly balanced espresso managed to shoot this one to number one. This coffee shop has an open feel because of large space and high ceilings. If you’re a fan of coffee punch cards, Civil Service Cafe let’s you get the 6th rather than the more usual 11th drink free. They also serve food. Only steps away from the Bedford-Nostrand G station, it’s also an easy stopover if you don’t have time to linger.
#2. Crocus Coffee, Juice Bar & Cafe
328 Tompkins Ave.
This cafe actually sells hot breakfast and brunch, as well as juices and smoothies, in addition to coffee. Most of its seating is at counter height, but they do have one large communal table. The fact that they make juices means blender sounds are common. Their back patio, however, was my favorite. Most importantly, their cappuccino was a very close second to the one at Civil Service having almost a molasses sweet quality.
#3. Daily Press
505 Franklin Ave.
Daily Press was my third favorite overall. This Cafe had the best consistency milk foam so the margin was close. The espresso was only a bit on the bitter side. I’ve had the drip here though, and it’s excellent. This one is also located right by a train station, the Franklin Ave C. Just off Fulton St, this coffee shop is in the most trafficked area, so expect pastries and bagels to sell out fast. Their space is small, but there’s a patio area in the back. Worth noting: If you’re just looking for a quiet space to work in this area I also recommend heading down the street to the Bedford Library.
#4. Georges-Andre Vintage Cafe
558 Halsey St.
This cafe on Halsey St. and Stuyvesant Ave. serves only espresso coffee drinks, no drip. The cappuccino was 12 ounces though rather 8 ounces or under, which is great! Unfortunately, the result tasted more milked-down than I would have liked. However, the quiche I had there was perfect, and the cozy space with lots of seating was very comfortable. They have a pile of board games and a child’s play area. I found the music here both relaxing and good for working. Overall, my favorite pick for that ineffable factor: atmosphere.
#5. Bedford Hill Coffee Bar
343 Franklin Ave.
The most social of the coffee shops I visited. The bar also serves beer, wine, and kombucha. This one is probably my favorite as a place to meet up with a friend or two (or even make a friend or two). The cappuccino I had here just wasn’t quite as delicious as my top three picks veering slightly into a burnt flavor.