By Abbe Wichman and Anthony Tornatore
Our top picks for county caffeination
This small, 19-seat coffeehouse is spare in its looks and expansive in its coffee cred. Owner Mike Love says he spends roughly three months of the year traveling around the world, buying coffee. He employs two roasters and prides himself on having exclusive blends. “We came in right at the time of the coffee explosion and pride ourselves as being a third wave coffee shop.”
If there are no seats inside, or in nice weather, customers sit outside on the lone bench or stand on Main Street sipping coffee from farms where Love has strong connections. He calls these “relationship coffees,” noting, “There’s a science to coffee, but it’s very much about the people.” Try one of the CBD-infused drinks or the nitro brew.
There’s a Brooklyn vibe here, with a combination of leather and wood chairs, a colorful tiled floor, and an expansive counter selling house-made baked goods (with a great vegan selection). Luis and Kathryn Corena, the local owners behind this venture, are committed both to the community and to featuring roasters who, as Luis says, “offer transparency and fair and direct trade.” Kathryn notes that it also has to translate to “really delicious coffee.”
Their beans come from companies such as Irving Farm and Red Rooster, and they love “engaging with our customers about the product,” Kathryn says. Two of the most popular drinks are the coffee lemonade and an oat churro cortado, made with oat milk and homemade churro syrup. It’s served with a shot of Pellegrino.
As the third generation of his family in the coffee business, Joey Ammirati has coffee running through his veins. He’s taken that passion and opened this lovely space, decorated with black-and-white tiles, tables and chairs, plus a coffee bar where customers can stand and chat with the barista. There’s a nod to the past with old-fashioned espresso makers on shelves and an eye toward the future with the café’s sleek espresso machine.
Ammirati’s passion is roasting (the café also handles wholesale accounts), and his roaster is “one of the, if not the most sustainable and efficient in the world,” he says. Ammirati loves when customers put themselves in the hands of the staff “to have a coffee experience.” He recommends adventurous coffee drinkers try a single-origin espresso or cortado.
Want to consider yourself a coffee connoisseur? Know these terms.
Cortado: A beverage that mixes equal parts espresso and warm, steamed milk, which reduces acidity. A number of Westchester coffeehouse owners say it’s their drink of choice.
Cupping: The art of learning, through aroma and taste, about coffee. Cupping can teach about a roast’s profile or about the process of creating the coffee. A way to develop a palate.
Extraction: The process of drawing flavor from coffee grounds.
Micro Lot: Coffee harvested from a specific plot of land and processed separately to bring out the lot’s unique geographic characteristics.
Chemex: (Shown above) A one-piece, hourglass-shaped, nonporous, glass coffeemaker, which uses a specially designed filter, so no other flavors come through the coffee.
Pour Over: Grinding beans for a single cup and using a slow-pouring kettle to customize a coffee’s strength by varying the ratio of coffee to water.
Third Wave: The principally American movement started in the 1990s, favoring high-quality coffee, treated as an artisan product.
Fourth Wave: Now underway, as coffeehouses shine a spotlight on the producers that offer direct-trade, fair-trade, and organic coffee.
Celebrating its three-year anniversary this past January, Mimi Coffee House has become a java staple in Mount Kisco. The warmth of owner Selamawit (“Mimi”) Wieland-Tesfaye’s personality comes through in this space. A reclaimed-wood counter, rattan pillows on chairs, and art from Ethiopia — representing Wieland-Tesfaye’s heritage — give this café a feeling of tranquility.
“People said I was brave for opening so close to a Starbucks, but I always wanted a comfortable and cozy place like this,” says Wieland-Tesfaye, who supports other locally owned women’s businesses by selling their baked goods at Mimi’s. She wants to educate customers on the various coffees served here and introduce them to some new ones. Try the Ethiopian pour over or a Prana chai drink. Not only can you get a cup of joe, but you can also enjoy some delectable soups and salads.
A bright-red counter, Formica tables with mismatched chairs, and a tin ceiling are among the myriad charming touches you’ll find in this sprawling, multiroom space. Owner Sunny Cover says the coffeehouse has served Peekskill’s changing community: “We’ve been here since 2003 and are a part of this town’s history.” As the town has evolved, so has the coffee culture and the menu here.
Since 2019, the Peekskill Coffee House began roasting its own coffees (which are available here) to go with some of the delicious crepes and panini on offer. Cover is always looking to “bring in relevant products,” so she’s even added “super-food” lattes without caffeine. And when it comes to coffee, Cover looks to tell customers the story behind what they’re drinking. “People lose sight of how many hands it really takes to make one cup of coffee,” she notes.
Croton-on-Hudson & Pleasantville
In owner Michael Grant’s words, a “homespun vibe” is what you’ll find at both locations. The (original) Croton spot is the larger of the two — yet both have mismatched furniture, plenty of black-cow-themed merchandise, and a large coffee menu. “My wife and I wanted to create a place where when you enter, you feel a little calmer. There’s always good music playing, and we encourage customers to make a little time for themselves to sit with their drinks,” Grant says.
The Croton location has a roaster as its centerpiece, and the coffee hails from Central America, South America, Africa, Asia, and the U.S. But don’t be fooled by Grant’s whimsical product names: He is dead serious about his coffee. “In the culture of coffee, there’s a science to a good cup,” he says. Try either the Black Cow (espresso and steamed chocolate milk with whipped cream) or Cow Whip (espresso chocolate milk blend with ice).
Turning 29 this July, Slave to the Grind is a combination of “cozy and a little bit kitschy,” according to owner Carol Marshall, this coffeehouse can be considered the mother of the independents that followed. As befits being in a “college town” (Concordia College and Sarah Lawrence are nearby), Slave to the Grind is nothing fancy but definitely welcoming. Customer-donated magnets from all over the world decorate the walls, as does a mural of a tree thanking patrons for their business.
Coffee beans are sold from dispensers in the front of the store. Marshall says, “I’ve always loved that coffee represents hospitality in so many cultures.” The bestsellers here are flavored iced coffees, such as banana cream pie and oatmeal cookie, and the Brain Freeze, a frozen espresso drink.
Generations naturally come together at Bobo’s Café in Somers as both retirees and high school students (and ages in-between) sit at round wagon-wheel tables or outside in the shopping plaza. The destination serves Japanese-style YAMA cold brew, and the espresso, with distinct tasting notes, makes the lattes a must-try.
The trim, modern space of Espresso Cafeto in Larchmont has burlap coffee bags as the back-bench seating and black-and-white tables and chairs. Reflecting the owner’s Colombian heritage are such drinks as a Colombian hot chocolate and hibiscus-infused water, plus Colombian baked goods. Specialties include matcha lattes and cappuccinos.
Don’t let the word ‘café’ fool you when it comes to this coffee shop. BeanRunner Café in Peekskill is way more than that. Not only does it have some amazing coffee, but it also offers a plethora of items ranging from wine and smoothies to breakfast and lunch. It even has live music and comedy performances from Friday to Sunday.
What’s better than a delicious, hot cup of coffee and a book to read? Usually, you have to go to separate locations to do that, but not here. At Katonah’s Reading Room, you can do both in the comfort of one cozy setting, which just so happened to be a library in its former life. While you’re there, you can also enjoy freshly made soup or a tasty sandwich.
Step into Dobbs Ferry’s CAFFELATTE and you’ll hear older gentlemen speaking Italian, see photos of Italian celebrities decorating the walls, and take in the no-frills décor and menu. Since everything here is imported from Italy, immerse yourself fully and nibble on a biscotto while sipping an espresso.
As befits a coffeehouse with the name Sunshine Coffee Roasters, the atmosphere here is sunny. Sit outside on orange metal chairs or take a window seat to observe Larchmont’s quaint downtown and soak up the ambience. The tiny shop has a small roaster but a large reach to the coffee; more than 20 varietals are offered over the course of a year.
Soak up the charming European atmosphere at R Patisserie Cafe & Tea Boutique in New Rochelle, with soothing blue tones, comfortable couches, and a communal table. Local is key here: The coffee is from Coffee Bros. (two local brothers) and the alfajores cookies are made by an area grandmother. Look for drinks named for customers or quaff a cold brew or a Cuban macchiato.
Whether you sit in the garden patio or inside on bright-red chairs amid such funky touches as an old typewriter and a wicker peace sign, the vibe at Tarrytown’s Muddy Water Coffee & Café is a combination of contemporary and comfortable. Matcha and turmeric lattes are big sellers, and the shop has a great array of teas.
There are two locations in Westchester to get this artisanal, Australian coffee. With one inside the Westchester Mall and the other in Armonk, Bluestone Lane has numerous locations around the Tri-State region. However, you don’t have to leave the county to try the Hot Milo (malt chocolate with your choice of steamed milk). You can also enjoy numerous different kinds of toast ranging from avocado to peanut butter and berry toast.
Not only can you get tea and coffee at this Westchester staple, but you can also get tea wine and tea beer. Hastings Tea & Coffee serves organic teas and fresh roasted coffee along with delectable pastries that will make you want to go back for seconds. Better yet, the spot carries gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan pastries from local bakers.
For the past six years, The Good Witch Coffee Bar has been serving the Hastings-on-Hudson community superlative coffee. The drinks are thoroughly prepared and served to perfection…and they just so happen to go beautifully with freshly baked muffins. When you go there, don’t forget to get the Cortado. It screams chocolate and it’s served in a Gibraltar.
Sunshine Coffee Roasters, Larchmont
A smooth, medium-roast Indonesian coffee, Sunshine’s Java Estate boasts notes of hazelnut, caramel, and chocolate.
Coffee Labs Roasters, Tarrytown
This blend is part of the Long Miles Coffee Project, which builds sustainable, direct-trade partnerships with farming communities in Burundi.
GiacoBean’s deepest roast is big, bold, and decadent — ideal for pour over or French press.
Caffè Ammi, Pelham
A play on Italian espresso, this blend of beans from Honduras, Brazil, and Uganda employs progressive roasting techniques for a bit of brightness.
Double Barrel Roasters, Yonkers
A customer favorite, this small-batch dark-roast coffee is smooth, full bodied, and earthy.
Bear Mountain Coffee Roasters Yorktown Heights
Indonesian and Central and South American beans constitute this silky, bestselling blend with milk chocolate notes.
Path Coffee Roasters, Port Chester
Path specializes in small-batch, primarily single-origin coffees, including this crisp, washed Ethiopian Nano Challa.
Big Bang Coffee Roasters, Peekskill
Organic, ethically sourced beans are roasted in small batches for this popular espresso blend that’s also great for cold brew.