I know this will annoy some chowhounds, maybe even some higher ups. But I think it would be interesting to take stock of what we have in terms of coffee in Manhattan.
Everybody, please list your favorite coffee spots in the following categories. I'll give my favorites as I list the categories. Fee free to add more categories.
* Coffee beans
Oren's (several locations) is my favorite. It's not great, but the coffee is typically fresh and not-too-darkly roasted.
Porto Rico--a distant second. The coffee never tastes very fresh or distinctive, but it's cheaper than Oren's.
* Drip coffee.
Oren's is my favorite here as well. You can only order the coffee of the day, and it's too often something boring like Columbian.
I can think of no other really good drip cup. 71 Irving Place doesn't do it for me.
* Espresso drinks.
The euro-style bakeries do well here. My favorite is Pain Quotidian (several locations). I had a terrific cappuccino at the Grand St. branch this week.
Balthazaar's bakery shop front (Spring east of Broadway) is also pretty damned good.
Oren's is pretty good for this, as well.
* Interesting Place to sit with a coffee w/o pressure to order food.
This is a tough one. Pain Quotidian is ok, if stuffy and a bit generic. The classic Village coffeehouses (eg, Café Reggio) are great spaces, but the espresso, etc., is pretty dismal.
Hungarian Pastry on Amsterdam and 109th is nice, and the coffee isn't bad.
I'd love to hear other hounds' favorites in other nabes, esp. LES, West Village, and East Village. I also dream of finding a great cup near the NY Public Library on 42nd and 5th--an area literally soaked in Starbucks.