Crawl had all central Village’s top coffee spots

Even if you’re no tuna melt fan, you can sit and enjoy the coffee at Archie & Sons amid the place’s retro decor.   Photos by Melissa Kravitz

Even if you’re no tuna melt fan, you can sit and enjoy the coffee at Archie & Sons amid the place’s retro decor. Photos by Melissa Kravitz

BY MELISSA KRAVITZ    |  Windows in The Village got steamy last week as East and West Village residents came together…for coffee! From March 9-16, New Yorkers could use Village Coffee Crawl punch cards to visit each of 10 participating businesses for half-priced cups of hot or iced coffee, or coffee-like beverages.

The inaugural Village Coffee Crawl — “a caffeinated celebration of local coffee culture” — offered an excellent opportunity for Village residents as well as intra-borough travelers to explore the central Village area (between Third and Sixth Aves., below 14th and above Houston Sts.), and put new local venues on their radar, for both coffee and food, the latter which was inevitably enjoyed with steaming warm mugs of java. The variations included Italian, French, Japanese, Persian, Brazilian and good old New York coffee. Participants included Agata & Valentina, Amorino, Archie & Sons, Café Nadery, Ciao for Now, Culture, Le Pain Quotidien, Matsunosuke, Mud Truck, O Café, Stumptown Coffee Roasters and The Nut Box.

The Village Alliance business improvement district helped organize the event.

“We thought the idea of a coffee crawl would introduce new establishments to local residents and students, bringing neighbors together and highlighting some of the unique cafes here in the Village Alliance’s commercial district,” a statement by the BID said. “We know coffee can be a very personal choice, and we are all sometimes loath to try out new places for our morning fix, so the Crawl is also an incentive to step out of the box, try a new brew, and maybe make a few new friends along the way!”

And the crawl was certainly useful in identifying new local hangouts! From yogurt shops, like Culture, to new Japanese bakery Matsunosuke, to gelato shop Amorino (go for the affogato — gelato in espresso), this Village resident discovered some great coffee and company in unexpected locations.

Café Nadery, the colorful Persian cafe at 16 W. Eighth St., has fantastically rich drip coffee and iced coffee. For those who aren’t fans of the bean, they also offer a classic Persian black tea, exceptionally sweet and soothing on cold days. Inside, Café Nadery remains hip yet intellectual, with a bookshelf stuffed with Arabic and English titles, plush multicolored sofas for reading, and plenty of tables within reach of their WiFi access, which were bustling on a recent afternoon with a writer working on a short play and two Spaniards planning a new fashion line. In addition to coffee, Café Nadery also serves fantastic Persian food, including vegetarian stews and soups, kebabs and a notable beet burger.

On the more casual side, Archie & Sons, on Third Ave. just north of St. Mark’s Place, is a new neighborhood deli, claiming to serve New York’s “# 1 tuna melt.” Not a tuna melt fan, I went straight for the coffee, which is best enjoyed with a magazine or newspaper in the corner of the retro-themed eatery.

Grab-and-go coffee is of course an essential in any New Yorker’s daily routine. The Mud Truck, a bright-orange mobile outpost of Mud’s E. Ninth St. store, parks itself outside on Astor Place daily, and serves up steamy, rich brews of their signature coffee. The Mud Mocha, a dark roast with a generous pump of chocolate syrup, is a great morning pick-me-up before hopping on the No. 6 train.

Coffee grounds for a cupping class at Stumptown, during which the flavors and aromas of brewed coffees are sampled.

Coffee grounds for a cupping class at Stumptown, during which the flavors and aromas of brewed coffees are sampled.

The Nut Box, at 49 E. Eighth St., specializing in nuts, fruits and other crunchy goodies, also offers a cardboard cup full of tasty java, ideal for sipping as you pick your protein boost from their extensive snack selection.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters, at 30 W. Eighth St., a co-sponsor of the Coffee Crawl, offered daily coffee tastings at 2 p.m. during the event, and a cupping class on Thursday evening for lucky social media users. The class demonstrated subtleties of smell and taste, plus flavor profiles in various coffee beans. The hour-long session led to a greater appreciation of coffee varietals and the Stumptown brand itself, which sources all its beans directly from farmers in Latin America and Africa, and roasts the beans locally.

Stumptown, with its grandiose, wood-paneled corner coffee shop, wide windows and rustic chalkboards, truly offers a lovely ambiance for those who want an escape from bustling Downtown life. The menu features pour-over espresso, and an incredible nitrate iced coffee, with a unique yet natural sweetness and an impressive ability to keep you caffeinated for hours.

A tip from a Stumptown barista: “If you’re feeling too jittery after your coffee, eat a banana. The potassium helps break down the caffeine in your stomach.” This would have been good advice before this reporter downed 10 different cups of coffee for “research purposes.”

The Village Coffee Crawl was certainly a success, and will hopefully inspire many more crawls to come — tea, wine, ice cream, cheese… —  celebrating the quality and diversity of the Village culinary scene.

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