Cafe Review: Third Rail Coffee in Greenwich Village

 Third Rail Coffee interior

Coffee on the Tracks

I was told by a native New Yorker that if I needed to score some weed while I was in Manhattan to go to Washington Square Park. It’s a nice park, but since I prefer to imbibe in legal substances, I was far more interested in getting a proper espresso. Thankfully, Third Rail Coffee in the West Village is right around the corner.

Third Rail Coffee

Another Side of Specialty Coffee

Third Rail coffee is the kind of local haunt I like to think Bob Dylan would have frequented back in his Freewheelin’ Days. The interior is minimalist to a fault. There’s only six tables, no wifi, and no outlets. Like a lot of West Village spots, the space is intimate, i.e. expect to brush shoulders with a stranger.  The baristas seem to know their regulars, who are an eclectic mix of NYU students and Greenwich Villagers.

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Espresso Revisited

Third Rail serves coffee from Stumptown and a rotating guest roaster, which was George Howell when I visited with my friend Kenny Smith back in March. Third Rail was the first stop on our New York cafe crawl, which had been delayed by adverse weather conditions and rush hour traffic. Thankfully, Third Rail is open later than your typical NYC cafe, otherwise we would have gone coffeeless our first day in Manhattan.

We both tried the Finca El Injerto, from Huehuetenango, Guatemala as a single-origin espresso. The shots were tart with a juicy body and chocolate undertones. The barista took the time to make sure the espresso was dialed-in before serving us, which we both appreciated.

Kenny Smith at Third Rail Coffee

Bringing it All Back Home

Next we shared a Chemex of a coffee from the Nano Challa Cooperative in Gera, Ethiopia. This co-op of 127 small farms recently purchased a washing mill, making this coffee one of the few washed-process heirloom varieties coming out of Ethiopia. The quality certainly showed in the cup, which had strong notes of honey and hibiscus. Truly, a wonderful coffee.

Third Rail Coffee owner Humberto Ricardo recently informed Sprudge that Third Rail is opening a second location in the East Village. It seems craft coffee is becoming easier to find every day.


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Grainy photos shot with my 35 mm camera.

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