Lorenzo L., Columbia University
Don’t know what I’m blathering about? Read the intro to this recurring segment. As spring break continues to fade into the past and April begins to invade our present, we, as responsible Northeastern college students have only one thing on our mind: summer FINALS. So, if those final papers begin to draw nigh and your reading remains resolutely unfinished, or if (God-forbid) you are working on your thesis, get your quality artisan coffee in a place that caters to your cram-related needs: Kaffe 1668.
For whatever reason, the Manhattan coffee gods decided that most people don’t want a place to congregate over high-quality caffeinated beverages after 6 pm. Rare exceptions include the downtown chain Think Coffee and the new Morningside Heights (NoCo) Joe establishment (which is only open until 8 pm). Kaffe 1668, in addition to serving a creative and uniformly strong lineup of espresso and non-espresso coffees, has a two level establishment that is open until midnight every night. That’s right: terrific coffee, fast wireless Internet, lots of tables and comfortable chairs in the smallish but two-level establishment, AND it’s open later than Avery Library.
Kaffe 1668’s long hours and oddly self-referential series of black and white cartoons (which are showcased both on their website and in the café) create a vibe that is very different from other neighborhood coffee locales; it touts itself as purveying the “best coffee in the city” and combines a financial district business chic with hipster “ironic” sensibilities. Perhaps this vibe is simply a construct, but it is an accurate pastiche of the surroundings, since Kaffe 1668 serves both financial district clientele, wealthy Tribeca residents, and Pace University/Manhattan Community College students (as well as off-off Broadway theatergoers).
Vibe aside, the coffee speaks for itself. For serious espressoheads, Kaffe 1668 offers seasonal single-origin espresso varieties, which offer nuanced and unique flavors to a drink that is easy to make, hard to perfect, and nearly impossible to reinvent. At the moment the espresso is a carefully roasted Blackcat Ecco Reserve. The espresso-based drinks are on the small side, but they are finely crafted and all the milk is local and organic (which makes a surprising difference). Feel free to bring along non-coffee drinking friends, as Kaffe 1668 has an extensive selection of exciting organic teas as well.
Compliments aside, at this point I realize that there is still the lingering complaint: “IT’S SO FAR!” Kaffe 1668 is definitely far downtown, but it is literally a block from the Chambers Street 1, 2, and 3 stop… meaning that with luck, one can arrive in 25-30 minutes with the promise of a long, satisfying, and caffeinated learningpalooza. Or a Columbia student could actually go on a date. Whatever.
275 Greenwich Street
Manhattan, NY 10007
M-F 6:30 a.m.-MIDNIGHT
Better than the last? Yes, but further away.
Better than NoCo Joe? Even.