We percolated a definitive list of the best independently-owned java joints in Westchester, Connecticut and the Hudson Valley sure to keep you both warm and totally cool.
The coffee world has become endlessly creative in defining new ways to enjoy your morning cuppa. Eschewing ubiquity through endless experimentation, local baristas are brewing some of the best fair trade, shade-grown, small batch crop-to-cup goodness—with or without a bevy of dairy-free milk options—to be found anywhere, holding ground even to the most stringent standards. Here are some of our favorite area perk points:
Locals felt a deep loss when Ada “the Candy Lady” Cantavero, a neighborhood celebrity, passed in 2008, leaving an uncertain future for the beloved candy counter she ran for 60+ years out of Riverside’s old post office. Thankfully, the story took a happy turn when it reopened this year as a community-focused café, serving Port Chester-roasted PATH Coffee and light fare spotlighting locally-sourced ingredients.
What this tiny, tech-loving roadside stand lacks in size is more than made up for by its output. Located off the Route 9 corridor, it’s the perfect storm of convenience, cultured coffee and local breakfast fare. They’re even developing their own mobile app to advance-order (but until, if you want yours waiting upon arrival, you’ll just have to text it)—not bad for a humble coffee kiosk in the north country. Try the apple cider latte (pumpin spice is so played out), or a “frappienza” for those warmer days.
Sometimes first impressions aren’t everything. What might appear a pleasant yet traditional patisserie along Warburton Ave. is the exclusive provider of some of Westchester’s best home-roasted coffees, roasted in a historic Yonkers factory building under the GiacoBean label. Once you’ve been, it’s easy to see why this family-run venture is the hottest place in town for a hot cup.
Predictably, creative class Beacon doesn’t disappoint when it comes to coffee. At the foot of Main Street, just up the hill from Dia and Metro North, Bank Square serves Coffee Labs coffee, craft beer and a curated selection of healthy noshes in a phenomenal space with chilled vibes and exposed brick. On warm summer nights, the backyard at Bank Square is bustling beneath strings of rodeo lights past the bedtime of most local towns, often accompanied by relaxed steel string-strumming.
Chandler and Monica were still in the friend zone when Black Cow’s roasting drum roared to life for the first time. Westchester caffiends have herded in for nearly two decades to experience Westchester’s answer to Central Perk, a bonafide bohemia where the cafe’s loyal regulars gather to intellectualize, show their art, strum guitar or simply relax. The cafe’s namesake drink, a shot of espresso and steamed milk, was the gateway for many Croton teenagers in acquiring a lifelong addiction to the cup.
In an unassuming space in a quiet residential neighborhood, this recently-opened cafe, covered in subway tile with straight-out-of-Brooklyn vibes, is the culmination of 40+ years of coffee knowledge amassed by the Ammirati Family, whose neighboring wholesale business is credited with importing America’s first La Cimbali espresso machine. The roasts are divine, whether you’re looking to grab-and-go heading to the Hutch or stay awhile in the homey, light-filled space.
Like the pied piper’s call, wafting aromas of roasting beans beckon locals daily into the small-batch roaster beside Tarrytown Music Hall, serving a daily grind you’ll always look forward to. Owners Mike and Alicia Love have devoted over a decade to building relationships with growers throughout the world, personally sourcing the finest-quality varietals. The beloved meeting place draws an eclectic crowd of commuters, artists and med students alike to gather within its art-covered walls, entertained by good company and unpredictable latte art poured lovingly into each cup. (“Labs,” by the way, refer to the canine—not beaker-and-white coat—variety.
Finding a proper flat white on a Westchester cafe menu board isn’t to be taken for granted. Steps from the platform of Larchmont’s Metro North station, this serious espresso bar brings city coffee sensibilities to a cosmopolitan village that craves it. Skilled baristas sling Counter Culture coffee in a minimalist space outfitted with a community table and big picture window, making it as perfect for socializing as a grab-and-dash to the next express.
Serious coffee and craft pastries—the vegan doughnuts are a destination item—rule at this community-centered cafe, known for supporting the local arts community. Don’t be surprised to find beans from some of the most renowned roasters near and far, like Onyx, 49th Parallel and more.
Open 7-7 daily, this gourmet food and gift shop is naturally first and foremost the most convenient coffee option in Bedford Village — an added perk of living somewhere with high standards. Beans are locally-roasted by Coffee Labs, served beside a selection of top-shelf teas by Brooklyn’s Bellocq. Just think of all the years horse country couldn’t grab a matcha latte on the go!
The country cousin of the well-known Manhattan coffee label brings big city cred to tiny-but-tasteful Millerton, where Irving Farm planted firm roots with a farmhouse roastery for its popular Gramercy Park coffee house (since joined by a half-dozen others across Manhattan, including inside Grand Central Terminal). Creaking plank floors and a full food menu create an old school yet sophisticated coffee house atmosphere that’s homey to natives and urban emigrants alike.
Rolled over on logs in 1897 as part of the big move, this quintessentially Katonah market-café was the village library before the original town site was earmarked for reservoir construction. With espresso drinks, an all-day food menu and even kombucha growler fills, it’s not hard to see why the front porch is always packed with regulars.
The only thing possibly rivaling the “Lorchata” (cold brew with house-made horchata on ice) might be the space itself, which might well make Lorca the prettiest place to perk up this side of King’s County. Amidst a jungle of office towers and popular bars of Bedford Street, the chic espresso-and-churro bar, named for Spain’s preeminent poet, seems straight out of Bushwick, offering respite by the cup. Lorca more recently opened a Cos Cob outpost inside Fleisher’s Craft Butchery.
Spun off from Westchester’s first and only Ethiopian eatery, Lalibela, this cozy-cool spot, filled with reclaimed wood and throw pillows, is a perfect destination for strong coffee and light house-made fare.
The Gold Coast’s original boutique espresso bar carved its niche in Fairfield County by riding the NYC-grade third-wave to suburbia, coupling the finest coffee with a sophisticated space complete with a courtyard. After years of highlighting guest roasters, NEAT now toasts its own beans at a state-of-the-art Stamford roastery, which have garnered widespread-enough industry cred that you’ll even find them around Manhattan and Brooklyn.
After a successfully launching her first cafe in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, attorney Samantha Lutzer blazed new trails in the Hudson Valley with her destination for all things brewed. Now with two locations in Cold Spring and one in Peekskill, The Pantry roasts some of the most adventurous coffees around, which retail in peacock feather-patterned bags as beautiful as their flavor profiles. The Route 9 roastery doubles as a craft beer bottle shop—a true destination for all things brewed.
A reminder of New Rochelle’s French roots (the “Queen City of the Sound” was settled by Huguenots in the 17th century), this adorable European patisserie is the perfect place to grab an afternoon latte or macarons in the heart of the vibrant downtown area. Take notice of the Kyoto-style cold brew tower—proof this place knows its stuff.
Straight out of Dead Poet’s Society, you’ll likely be greeted by the sentimental sounds of 90s grunge rock, set at just the right volume to not interfere with the pensive chats of intellectualizing Sarah Lawrence students out front over piping hot cappuccinos. A great wall of bean hoppers contains over 60 varietals of roasted coffees—the certified 100% Kona blend is a favorite—leading to a mahogany bar in back salvaged from Bronxville’s storied Hotel Gramatan. A selection of epic baked fare rounds out the quintessential coffee house experience. (Tell them we sent you).
While downtown Old Greenwich is quiet low-key counterpart to The Avenue, this bakery-café goes typical Greenwich grand-scale by roasting its own fair-trade coffees in house. A robust Probat roaster forms the centerpiece of the entire establishment, accented with a stamped tin ceiling and Moroccan tile floors. Add delicious doughy creations available via table service and you’ll see why people tend to stick around for awhile.
Geographically, Zumbach’s isn’t at the center of New Canaan’s vibrant village, but it might as well be. Like a Connecticut cousin of Manhattan’s popular Porto Rico Importing, this beloved community meeting place, covered in college pennants brought back by local students in town, is chock full of every roast variety you can imagine, overseen by the shop’s quality-obsessed proprietor Doug Zumbach.