Westchester is home to more than 25 Starbucks. Tack on a host of Dunkin Donuts and it can often feel like strip-mall heaven in certain areas. Luckily, there are a few independent coffee shops that continue to push the envelope and bring interesting coffee creations to the masses. If you’re in need of a jolt this week, spend a few extra minutes in the car and check out these three awesome shops.
Slave To The Grind in Bronxville
Signature Drink: Dancing Goats. Unlike many coffee shops, Slave To The Grind relies on regular coffee to give their customers a unique caffeine rush. Dancing Goats is a medium roast fair trade, Ethiopian-sourced coffee bean that is the shops clear #1.
Top Cold Drink: Vanilla Iced Chai. Sometimes you’re looking for an alternative to coffee and the vanilla iced chai is the answer. It’s sweet and creamy and doubles as an afternoon dessert and early morning pick-me-up.
What To Eat: The “Extremely Addicting Chocolate Chip Cookies” are locally baked and aren’t too sweet. They pair great with a hot cup of Dancing Goats.
While You’re Having Your Coffee: Relax in Slave To The Grind’s Brooklyn like atmosphere. There’s plenty to look at including a magnet wall that resides along the top of the wall. With plenty of seating, this is a great place to get some work done.
Little Joe’s in Katonah
Signature Drink: Mocha Caramel Latte. Sweet, deep and creamy, the mocha caramel latte from Little Joe’s is a treat. It’s loaded with flavor and the balance between the espresso, mocha and caramel creates a perfect balance. It’s not too sweet and not too strong. Add in locally sourced milk from Battenkill Valley Creamery and you’ve got an amazing drink.
Top Cold Drink: Arnold Palmer. When you combine local, fresh brewed iced tea from Harney & Sons of Millerton, NY, and fresh lemonade, you get a refreshing drink that is perfect on a hot summer day. Substitute raspberry or green tea for a more unique concoction.
What To Eat: Little Joe’s bakes their own muffins and scones and they pair brilliantly with the coffee. The most popular is the Morning Glory Muffin that combines carrots, walnuts, coconut, sunflower seeds, and apples.
While You’re Having Your Coffee: This is easily one of the most unique coffee shops in Westchester as it combines a small, independent bookstore with a small, independent coffee shop. Browse their curated selection of fiction, non-fiction and of course, a huge kids section (make sure you venture upstairs). Also, the candy selection is sure to take you back to your childhood. Just check below the register.
Coffee Labs Roasters in Tarrytown
Signature Drink: Latte. While many coffee shops mess around with fancy ingredients and outrageous creations, Coffee Labs focuses on their coffee beans that are roasted on site. Pulled perfectly, the espresso is rich, creamy and tastes great.
Top Cold Drink: Kyoto Cold Brew Iced Coffee. Made in a Yama Tower, this is one of the most unique coffee’s I’ve experienced in Westchester. Each Yama Tower (you’ll see them behind the register when you go in) makes about one gallon of coffee per batch. That batch, can take up to 24 hours to complete as the coffee drips at a rate of approximately 1 drip per second. The result is a smooth iced coffee without a hint of bitterness.
What To Eat: Coffee Labs bring in pastries from some of the best bakeries around including Balthazar in New York City (they get daily deliveries). The best thing in the case might be the muffins and scones from Red Barn Bakery in Irvington. There are so many pastries to choose from, you cannot make a bad decision.
While You’re Having Your Coffee: Located in the heart of the ever expanding Tarrytown business district, Coffee Labs always has something going on. From weekend music performances to monthly tasting sessions, there’s plenty to enjoy. This month, the main wall inside features unique art from local artist (and Coffee Labs customer) Martin Monroe. Owner Alicia Love told me that he often sells more painting off the wall of Coffee Labs than he ever did at an art gallery.