Here at From Ship to Shore, we’re starting a new series in which we try to find the best coffee shop in DC, New York, and wherever else our travels take us along the East Coast. First stop? Everyman Espresso in New York City’s East Village, which currently reigns as the #1 coffee shop in the country according to The Daily Meal and held the 2012 title of the Village Voice’s best espresso bar in New York. But does it live up to expectations? I stopped by to find out.
I ordered a skim latte, which came out beautifully. The foam was one of the thickest I’ve ever had and felt luxurious to drink. The espresso itself was smooth and had a very light flavor. This would be a good option for someone who likes the idea of lattes, but can’t stand the strong taste of espresso. Despite lacking a strong taste, this espresso will give you a serious caffeine rush. It was even served at the perfect temperature: hot, but just cool enough to sip right away.
This place is pricy, though: I paid $5 for my 12 oz. latte. While I enjoyed every sip, this is the kind of place to save for a splurge rather than your daily cup of joe.
A quick note: if you’re planning to sip your drink at one of their tables, make sure to specify that you want the coffee to stay–they serve it in lovely glass mugs, which I only discovered after ordering!
Is it bad to say that I enjoyed the donut more than the latte? The latte was very good, don’t get me wrong, but this coffee cake donut blew my mind. It was rather small and fluffy, which made me feel a bit better about indulging in this pick-me-up. It wasn’t greasy like other donuts can be, nor was it too sweet or sticky. The traditional crumble on top as well as some chopped walnuts added the perfect crunch to this otherwise cloud-like pastry coated in a delicious, cinnamon-y glaze. It was quite honestly the perfect donut-coffee cake hybrid. And at $3, the price tag isn’t too bad either.
It’s an interesting space, that’s for sure. Upon first walking in, I wondered why seating was relatively sparse despite a large empty area near the back of the room. After my friend and I had sat down and gotten to work, we soon discovered why: Everyman Espresso shares a building with a small theatre company, CSC. And that door you see open in the back of the photo below? That’s the entrance to the backstage area. So, all of the newest equipment and sets had to be brought through the coffee shop and into the theatre. I found it interesting to watch racks of professional lights and set pieces wheel by, but I can understand if someone expecting a quiet reading space might be bothered by it. Of course, I’m sure this doesn’t happen every day, nor would this happen at their SoHo location, but you’ve been warned!
Otherwise, the coffee shop is modern and clean. The long benches along the white brick walls provide an interesting seating option, perfect for if you want to just pop in, chat with a friend for a few minutes, then leave. There were also several countertop stools against the window, providing a prime view for people watching.
The location was great. Everyman Espresso is on a relatively quiet street–13th Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues–just a five minutes’ walk away from Union Square. So, it’s very easy to access via the red or yellow lines, but you still feel like you’ve gotten away from the craziness of the city. It’s quite close to NYU as well, but there was a good mix of people in the coffee shop, making it feel welcome to both students and non-students.
The staff was incredibly knowledgable about their coffee, explaining in detail the several different kinds of drip coffee they offer. They even go ahead and ask if you’d like sugar in your drink, saving you an extra step and making sure that everything is made to your liking. I knew my latte was in good hands!
I can’t say definitively that they’re the best coffee shop in the country, but Everyman Espresso is certainly a part of the coffee shop elite. Visit Everyman Espresso yourself at 136 East 13th St. or head to their SoHo location at 301 West Broadway.