Sunday, March 28, 2010

West Village Review: Third Rail Coffee

The New York Times recently mentioned Third Rail Coffee as one of the top 10 coffee shops in New York City (Read it here), and I've been eager to try it since. Located in the heart of the West Village, a neighborhood where good coffee is becoming almost as common as sex shops, Third Rail has been able to stand out as one of the best coffee shops around.

Third Rail is located on Sullivan Street, just a block south of Washington Square Park. Although seating is limited in this small shop, you can take it to go and enjoy whatever festivities are happening in the park, which I always find enjoyable since there is almost always a jazz improv band playing. What they lack in seating is made up for in their coffee itself. I ordered a cappuccino, and I must say it was the best I've had yet! It was noticeably fresh and slightly more sweet than others I've had so far.

There are a few things that separate Third Rail from other coffee shops around the city. They were the first place in New York to use Chemex coffee makers and filters, in which they brew four different single origin coffees, as well as their decaf in. Other shops have followed their lead and also began using Chemex, which is a new, top-notch way to brew coffee. Still, Third Rail remains one of the few in the city who use Chemex, and are also the only coffee shop in New York to carry both Intelligentsia and Stumptown coffee. Of the four single origins they have, two are Intelligentsia, and two are Stumptown, and offer the following:

Papua New Guinea: Agoga
Burundi: Miyonge
Ethiopia: Michelle
Rwanda: Muyongwe

Besides great coffee, they also offer pastries, some of which are vegan-friendly. They serve tea and hot chocolate, and support direct trade with high quality companies. The New York Times ranked Third Rail Coffee as one of the Top 10 coffee shops in New York City. Does it deserve such an accolade? In my opinion, yes. They are able to separate themselves from other shops around the city on more than one level, a difficult feat in a neighborhood that offers some of the best coffee in New York. I've had my best cappuccino to date here, and I'm certain it was not by chance. Though it is not ideal for laptop users looking to stay for a while, it is perfect for anybody looking for a great cup of coffee.

Location: 240 Sullivan Street, bewteen Bleecker and West 3rd

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