I’m sitting in a café in Lower Manhattan and a barista has just checked on our table- for the third time. Do we need any more coffee? Is everything tasting alright? Can we take those dishes out of your way? This is an uncommon occurrence in American coffee shops. In New York’s financial district, it’s shocking. But then again, there’s a lot of things surprising about Black Fox Coffee.
The first thing that strikes you when you walk into Black Fox Coffee is the interior. Good coffee shops in Manhattan are typically shoeboxes, but Black Fox’s impeccably designed café is spacious and sophisticated. The queue snakes around Black Fox’s kitchen space, where a busy group of bakers take gluten-free cookies out of the oven and carefully plate country ham and toast. The elevated food options reflect Black Fox’s Australian roots: co-owner Kris Wood hails from Melbourne, where coffee shops have food programs as serious as any restaurant.
Although Black Fox stocks an enviable line up of some of America’s best roasters, I opted to try a shot of Candyman Espresso from Melbourne’s Small Batch Roasting Co. The voluminous double came in a cappuccino cup and yielded sweet brown sugar notes balanced by a tangy acidity. An excellent shot of espresso pulled on Black Fox’s gorgeous Kees van der Westen Spirit.
On filter we tried Heart’s Kenya Gachuiro, a fantastically complex yet balanced coffee with bright watermelon and grapefruit flavors balanced by a rich, toffee sweetness. It’s rare to find a Kenya where the roaster is able to fully develop the sweetness while preserving the fruit notes, but this brew was as good as they come. We wish more cafés offered such stellar coffees on batch brew.
In a city teeming with specialty coffee shops, Black Fox Coffee is one of the few that stands a notch above the rest. Whether you’re a broker, a banker, or a tourist like us, we would make visiting this café a priority when in Manhattan.