182 Allen St. (at Stanton St.)
Manhattan, NY 10002
This Swedish microchain began in Brooklyn, where the coffee beans are custom roasted per the seasoned taste buds of co-owners Per Inglander and Ronny Kaj. The rustic Lower East Side branch is a tight squeeze—for a seat you must slither sideways, carefully holding your cup so it doesn't dribble on someone's laptop. In the mornings it's a madhouse, with Lower East Siders and Thompson LES Hotel guests from next door stopping in for the enormously popular, fluffy zucchini-carrot muffins swelling out of their baking tins or the very good hand-rolled bagels, cardamom coffee bread or kanelbulle (cinnamon rolls), along with strong coffee served up by a personable barista. Take a moment to notice the clean finish, the lack of acidity and bitterness. Iced coffee fans should also be aware it's cold brewed here for 24 hours; you'll find none better.