Where to Find the Best Coffee in the Upper East Side, New York City

The Upper East Side is not only known for those “Gossip Girl” vibes, but it’s a very expensive, high end area to begin with.

So, naturally, time to explore their coffee shops! What Upper East Side coffee shops are worth your time? Where can you get the best coffee on the Upper East Side of NYC?

but FIRST check out my past New York City Neighborhood coffee guides:

Get real time coffee recommendations over on my Instagram.

Okay, time for the Upper East Side.

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Ralph’s Coffee

A very Instagrammed cafe all over Manhattan. I did a whole post of what of NYC’s most photographed cafes are worth your time here.

first impressions: Not gonna lie, I was worried since this spot is heavily talked about on social media (especially around the holidays for their aesthetic). So i was going into this coffee spot pretty skeptical. BUT! I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed their coffee!

atmosphere: even being stuck outside in the FREEZING NYC winter weather, they managed to have an amount of outdoor tables and chairs which a decent amount of people were using too! Even inside looked super cute too. They have a very specific aesthetic.

final thoughts: Very impressed. I especially enjoyed their espresso; whatever they used had a really nice undertone. Also their pistachio milk was a really nice treat. Pleasantly surprised with Ralph’s Coffee!! I would definitely come back!!!

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Oslo Coffee Roasters

I first heard of Oslo years ago when I was searching for good coffee shops to try. At first I added it to my list solely due to the name “Oslo Coffee” because my FAVORITE coffee shop in Berlin also has the same name!! You can find the full Berlin, Germany Coffee guide here.

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first impressions: THEY HAD A FLAT WHITE ON THE MENU!!! so I was immediately impressed. Super chill vibe (although everything was outside and I ordered through a small window).

atmosphere: I could tell it was super popular with the locals which is always a meaningful point. A bummer because with ordering outside I could’t get a vibe of the inside but I’m sure it’s up my alley.

final thoughts: Oslo Coffee Roasters is a bit out of the main strip of shops and such but I did really enjoy the flat white (ESPECIALLY the micro foam)!

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787 Coffee

Overall, 787 was definitely my favorite spot!

first impressions: WOW, JUST WOW. The CUTEST little coffee shop with SO much character. Stairs lead you down to a warm & cozy little cafe. The menu was heavily inspired by Puerto Rican coffee and traditions which I LOVED!

atmosphere: It was such a nice treat to have a break from the NYC Winter and get to sit inside. Recently NYC did start allowing limited indoor dining again. I found my way to the cutest little window spot surrounded by lots of plants with the light peaking in through the window. I enjoyed this little moment so so much. I really miss getting cozy at window seats at cafes.

final thoughts: I was so impressed. I’m so happy I made the trip. I loved how everything was heavily inspired by Puerto Rican culture. I definitely want to visit their other locations too!!!

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Honorable Mentions

Joe Coffee Company: Actually a chain around NYC but my first time here was in the Upper East Side. I was pleasantly surprised how good it was. Sometimes with chains their is a huge inconsistency factor but that barista who made my oat milk cortado was very talented!

Variety Coffee Roasters: I sadly haven’t been here yet, but based on reviews of people I trust I do think I’d enjoy it here. I figured I should still mention this one!

(photo taken from google)


And there you have it! Another New York City coffee shop guide in the books.

If you liked this guide, or found it helpful please let me know! I’d really love feedback.

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If you’re on the look out for more coffee guides:

Best coffee in NYC (also the most instagramable spots)

Best coffee in Portland, Oregon 

What to look for when choosing a coffee shop to spend your money at

Lots of love,

foot

Where to find the Best Coffee in Soho, New York City

Soho NYC is a neighborhood densely packed with lots of boujee cafes and coffee shops: some are a hit and some are a huge miss in my opinion.

To preface this, I did write a whole blog post on NYC cafes that seem all perfect on platforms like Instagram, but don’t actually have good coffee. Hence, people just go for the photos… ouch.

Check that out HERE

Also, I started off this New York City Neighborhood Coffee Guide with the West Village, which you can find HERE

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I’ve made the decision to only chat about and mention the BOMB places in Soho so that I’m not wasting anyone’s times on the bad… head to my Instagram Hyped Coffee Shops of NYC Post to see some of the hard misses….

Okay, okay. Soho – let’s get into it.

Here are my favorite spots to get coffee in Soho of Manhattan.

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Darby Coffee Club

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First Impressions: I first heard about this spot on Instagram when they first opened this past June. It’s an Australian inspired cafe (whoop whoop) that has a slogan “wtf is a flat white”. That sarcasm makes me crack up every time.

Atmosphere: Darby is a super small coffee shop in the front of a gym. The interior is pretty dark and very small (the epitome of a takeout coffee shop). Definitely more of a metal/industrial vibe. It was very hard to photograph the interior.

It’s a great spot for coffee but the dream would be that they expanded to be a more bright, adorable & more welcoming atmosphere.

Final Thoughts: Super good quality coffee & the flat white definitely was a good one. It’s a great spot if you’re in the central Soho area and wanted quality to-go coffee with no frills.


Gasoline Alley Coffee

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First Impressions: I didn’t really ever see much of this spot on social media (nothing wrong with that). It’s definitely a popular spot with the locals. There was a steady line when I went.

Atmosphere: It’s a nice warm-toned spot with some spots for outdoor seating. I’d be really interested to go back here to have coffee there in a nice ceramic cup (if that’s their thing).

Final Thoughts: Gasoline is a pretty popular spot with the locals, which is generally a great sign. Pretty good coffee with talented baristas.

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Cafe Leon Dore

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First Impressions: A really cute spot in the center of Soho. Adorable & bright French vibes with a decent amount of outdoor seats and tables. It is actually a coffee shop in a clothing store but they have a cute little window to order from on the street.

Atmosphere: Also a pretty popular spot with the locals – usually a good sign of quality coffee. It was a really nice spot to just relax and people watch. It was hard to see what the interior normally looks like but I’m sure it’s adorable! Honestly so obsessed with the branding that was on all of their tables.

Final Impressions: When visiting Cafe Leon Dore I think I was on coffee number 5 for the day. I switched up my usual order of a flat white or latte and instead ordered a cortado (less milk kinda like a flat white but doesn’t have the velvety microfoam that a flat white does). Decent espresso and a good cup overall! It was definitely one of the most ample amounts of outdoor coffee shop seating I’ve seen so far in the city.

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Happy Bones

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First Impressions: Okay. This spot has been on my list since DAY ONE! I’ve seen them all over Instagram for well over a year now and even heard of the name “Happy Bones” before then. I use the app called “Mapstr” and its been on my map/list to try for a while. I’ve passed it multiple times walking as well. Long story short: I’ve been wanting to try it for a while but it never was on the top of my list.

Atmosphere: With the pandemic, you can’t even go past the doorway. Regardless, I love the vibe. It’s bright and rustic and also seems to be very popular with the locals.

*tip of the year* follow & trust the locals.

There were a couple small tables near the curb to sit down and have your coffee but nothing beats a ceramic cup.

Final Thoughts: It was a good latte! The barista was super chill and again, I’d be really interested to go back once the world calms down a bit. I’m sure it’s a nice place to go and get work done.


Honorable Mention: Maman

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Although I haven’t been to Maman’s Soho location (these photos are from their Tribeca location), I’ve heard great things about it and I still wanted to mention it as I’ve been to two of their other locations.

First Impressions: Very aesthetic – to the point where I was worried the quality wasn’t going to be any good because it was so “Instagram worhty”

Atmosphere: Very Instragrammable, very pretty, very dainty with a French vibe. Anytime I’ve been, they’ve been pretty popular – but honestly for good reasons.

Final Thoughts: I was pleasantly surprised that the coffee was actually pretty good. It’s a GREAT spot to go and grab a coffee and a sweet treat (I got a vegan carrot & pumpkin loaf and it was divine). Thankfully, this spot not only has the aesthetic, but has the quality too. praise.

{Tribeca location on the left, Flatiron location on the right}

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Thanks so much if you came this far! I’ve been enjoying putting together this “mini series” of coffee guide to different neighborhoods in Manhattan.

Don’t forget to check out my West Village one.

Tribeca is up next!!!

If you liked this guide, or found it helpful please let me know! I’d really love feedback.

If you’re on the look out for more coffee guides:

Best coffee in NYC (also the most instagramable spots)

Best coffee in Portland, Oregon 

What to look for when choosing a coffee shop to spend your money at

Lots of love,

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Instagram Hyped New York City Coffee Shops – here’s the tea. Are they worth your time?

Keep reading to find out if some of the top photographed Instagram cafes in New York City are worth your time.

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If there’s one thing you take away from this post:

Instagram aesthetic doesn’t always equal quality coffee.

Instagram New York City Coffee Guide in 2020. Are they worth all of the social media hype? 2020 NYC Cafe Guide.

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Keep reading to see what I rate these famous NYC cafes out of 10 for both coffee quality and overall aesthetic.

Related Posts:

NYC Coffee Guide

& West Village NYC Coffee Guide

Are these New York hyped cafes worth your time and money?

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Urban Backyard

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Coffee: 5/10

Aesthetic: 11/10

I really wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt after the first time I went… so I went again; the second time sadly wasn’t any better. It’s hard because the aesthetic is so adorable and on point, I just wish the coffee was actually good. When I went here I genuinely pulled the “take photos, have a couple sips, then throw out the coffee”. Sadly just wasn’t worth my money.

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Maman

Coffee: 8/10

Aesthetic: 10/10

I was worried going here the first time that this wasn’t going to live up to the hype. To my surprise, the coffee was pretty good, especially at their Flatiron location. The have the cutest and most delicious baked goods (even vegan ones too) and it’s a nice treat to go for a latte and a sweet treat for sure. I still dream about my vegan carrot and pumpkin loaf.

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Coffee N’ Clothes

Coffee: 9/10

Aesthetic: 9.5/10

A pretty popular find on instagram with the way you can pick what designer logo to have sprinkled on top of your coffee. I was a bit worried coming here at first, as just because people post about it for its’ looks doesn’t exactly mean quality.

Nonetheless, the barista was very talented and I would totally go back! It was honestly a really good latte. It’s just outside of Soho too so it’s a more convenient location.

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Remi Flower & Coffee

Coffee: 6/10

Aesthetic: 10/10

With Remi, the best way to sum this spot up is it’s a flower shop first and a coffee shop second. Their coffee was okay but in my opinion I felt this place is really only popular because of the instagram aesthetics and stunning flowers. The coffee was good but in a place like NYC you need to be incredible or it just doesn’t cut it for me. Also, it could have been an off day for the barista so I wanted to make sure to mention this place regardless.

I definitely will at one point go back to give it another shot, even if it’s just for the aesthetic. Also something to note is this cafe is out of the way of a lot.

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Felix Roasting Co

Coffee: 7/10

Aesthetic: 8.5/10

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This coffee shop only recently has been hyped on both Instagram & tiktok. Nonetheless, of course I had to try it. Similar to Remi, the barista could have had an off day but the coffee wasn’t anything great. The aesthetic was pretty cute but I am definitely a plants – bright light – kind of person. Probably won’t go back though. There are so many other incredible Soho coffee shops just down the street.

SOHO COFFEE GUIDE COMING SOOOON!

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What do you think of Instagram hyped cafes? Do you find yourself falling into the trap and going to them?

As always, thanks so much for reading. Make sure to follow me over on my…

Thanks so much if you’ve read this far. I appreciate it so much.

Lots of love,

foot
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Top New Haven Connecticut Coffee shops

Mini New Haven Connecticut Coffee Tour: ultimate coffee crawl in New Haven CT.

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I ventured up North to New Haven, Connecticut to visit my brother’s new place he moved into for school this year. OF COURSE I took advantage of my time in a new place to explore their coffee scene. I’ve visited him in CT before, but it was nice to have a longer stay visiting him so I had more time to explore this time around.

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There were three coffee spots that were on my list to try this time around:

  1. Fussy Coffee
  2. The Coffee Pedaler
  3. Koffee?

Some I found online – and some were recommended to me so thank you!!! (if you ever have any coffee recommendations either comment below or message me on instagram!!!)

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Related Posts:

How I choose what coffee shops to try when traveling

BEST coffee in New York City

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Fussy Coffee

First Impressions: From the outside Fussy Coffee blended in with the surrounding buildings and if I didn’t see it on social media I probably would have missed it!

Atmosphere: It is attached to a Yale University building but is pretty spacious inside. It was cute how they had a decent amount of outdoor seating as well!! I was so impressed with the interior – bright, minimal and full of plants. The coffee bar itself also had this stunning wood overhang.

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Final Thoughts: I was extremely impressed with the way they presented their menu of espresso drinks. On the left it listed the ratio of ounces of espresso to frothed milk and to the right it had the common name associated with that ratio. It was super unique and I was very satisfied.

I got an oat milk flat white – of course! I was very happy with the way their espresso shined through the frothed milk. I could tell the baristas were properly trained. My brother and I also got breakfast there and also I was super satisfied with it!

Overall if you are in the area – Fussy Coffee is a MUST! Great quality & atmosphere!

10/10, easily.

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The Coffee Pedaler

First Impressions: A super cute brick building situated in a more quiet neighborhood.

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Atmosphere: It is super warm and welcoming inside with a decent amount of seating for productivity (in CT you can already sit inside at places… so weird)!

Final Thoughts: Barista was very knowledgeable and super nice when I asked for a pour over recomendation (it did NOT disappoint)! The Coffee Pedaler seemed like a really nice spot to go to with friends for a nice chat. They also transition to wine later in the evening which is a MOOD!

9/10: great quality & very welcoming atmosphere

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Koffee?

First Impressions: My brother was SUPER excited to take me here! They have the cutest little window to order and pick up from. Also another spot that transitions to alcohol – is this a New Haven thing? hm. “Koffee?” is in a more central location of the city.

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Atmosphere: Although the inside was closed, there was a lot of nice outdoor seating blocked off in the street with lots of plants too – we stan!

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Final Thoughts: I could definitely see myself wanting to go back to here and also to The Coffee Pedaler for the evening transition to alcohol.

It was so humid out by the time we stopped here so we just got a cold brew – but it was super smooth and refreshing!! My brother and I were both really getting some nice chocolatey undertones. A nice smooth cold brew that doesn’t immediately dehydrate you and has some body to it is always a win!!!

9/10: quality & convenience

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Have you been to New Haven, CT? Any coffee recommendations?

As always, thanks so much for checking this mini New Haven Connecticut coffee guide.

Lots of love,

foot
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5 reasons why you NEED to travel to new zealand

Why you MUST visit New Zealand some day.

I don’t know if this is just because I’m more aware of New Zealand now (since living there), or if because this is actually true but – I feel like New Zealand is a more “main stream” travel destination now.

Hey, I am not complaining! It is such a charming little country that I believe paying the extra money on flights to get there is 100% worth it! But I do understand it is a money and time commitment to go. My parents tried visiting me while I was living in Dunedin (in the south island) and it took them almost two days to travel, then two days to adjust to the time difference, and then it left them maybe a week to explore.

I’m also thinking of doing my money saving tips when traveling to New Zealand because when you’re there on a college budget, you come up with a lot of ways to save!!

If New Zealand peaks your interest I have LOADS of tips and tricks of all my hot spots that you HAVE to see.

Related:

Top 10 MUST SEE travel destinations in New Zealand

5 Coolest Hidden Beaches in New Zealand: shhh it’s a secret!

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour: is it worth it?

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The Views

Both islands are filled with mountainous landscape, hidden hot springs, beaches, and rolling hills; the country offers a bit of everything.

So much is packed into the small land-mass of New Zealand, it’s quite incredible actually. New Zealand definitely has more perks if you are the outdoorsy type, with incredible hiking trails. But, regardless, it’s easy to find something to love about it.

Personally, I’m a sucker for a good view: whether I hiked, drove or took a tram up to the top to see it (NZ loves their trams)!

*pro tip* a lot more mountains and trails are in the south island, *cough cough* the better island.

Related: Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand: are the hot spots worth it?

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The People

I’ve mentioned it before but the people are so welcoming and judgement free. Coming from the States, that was such an eye opener to me.

When you’re in a taxi or an uber the driver actually shows respect and that they care about your day. The interactions are not forced & so much more genuine. Anytime I visit a cafe or a shop I’m always blown away by the hospitality and how they are so open to start conversations with strangers.

The culture behind New Zealand makes the quality of living so much higher and less stressful. I can’t stress enough how coming from the United States this all means to me. So grateful for my interactions with the local kiwis!!!

Related: Unforgettable places you NEED to visit in New Zealand & Getting adjusted // living in New Zealand

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The Cafe Culture

If you’ve seen any of my other posts you could guess that I sure LOVE cafe culture and a food flat white.

New Zealand offers both: the home of the mighty flat white (hence my blog name) and also a great cafe culture. They just know how to put a good menu together and offer you the freshest ingredients where the food also comes out fast!

Cafes act as a the epicenter for social hour – whether it’s to grab a takeaway coffee before work or a nice bite on the weekends. Because of the competitive cafe culture, they have to be designed with more thought and care as a result – some healthy competition!

But seriously, in places like Wellington if your cafe isn’t amazing in every aspect, then you don’t stand a chance. This also results in better coffee in general, which I can’t complain about! All of the baristas have to be well trained and on point with their milk frothing techniques. It’s a win-win!!

Related: Top coffee spots in Dunedin, New Zealand

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The Unique Wildlife

new zealand birds
taken from a no longer existing website – so I got it from pinterest

Oh yes, the unique New Zealand birds.

New Zealand cracks me up because no land mammals are native and the few they have (ferrets, hedgehogs, rats, etc.) are all considered a danger to these native birds. Of course there’s the kiwi bird – what an icon – but another favorite of mine is the blue one in the center, the “Pukeko”. Look them up they look ancient-like with long wobbly legs and are just hilarious to watch. The “Kea” is also a pretty funny one; they are the only polar parrot.

One of the many things I admire about New Zealand is their sustainability and their efforts to protect their natural wildlife & habitats. All over the country, there are sanctuaries for their native birds which give them a safe environment to live in free from land pests.

Besides the crazy birds, they offer so much more: penguins, whales, porpoises, dolphins, seals, sea lions, fur seals, and well….. random land mammals that are pests to the native birds. So lots of marine life and sheep pretty much.

gotta love all the sheep!!

Related: First full day exploring Dunedin, New Zealand

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The Isolation

Let’s be real, it’s no secret that New Zealand is an island nation off doing their own thing.

I personally find the isolation aspect really enticing and also relaxing. The location makes it a lot easier to separate yourself from whatever the rest of the world is doing – in the best way!

I’ve never been a tropical island kind of person, so New Zealand gives me that isolation island feel but without all the sand….

ooooh!!! fun fact: New Zealand has both white & black sand beaches – check out post on the prettiest hidden beaches I’ve found in New Zealand here – 5 prettiest hidden beaches in New Zealand

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After living in New Zealand and being able to go back a couple times I feel like I still have so much to say about this lovely country. Any travel questions or post requests in the future please let me know in the comments!

Thanks so much for checking this out! I appreciate it so much.

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keep updated

with me on my journey

the ONLY Seattle coffee shop that was worth my money

This is the only Seattle cafe that I was genuinely impressed with.

This past February (before all the quarantine craziness), I took a trip around the west coast of the States to San Francisco, Seattle & Portland, Oregon. So far, I’ve done coffee guides to both San Francisco and Portland but not Seattle.

To be completely honest, I was disappointed with the Seattle coffee scene.

I know, I’m as shocked as you are.

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I would always here how Seattle is the best for coffee and it’s the ultimate place to go to for all things coffee. Now, in the time I spent in Seattle I obviously could only visit a certain number of coffee shops. This is completely based off of my personal experience. There were a couple that were decent but I’m not going to sit here and pretend to praise them for the sake of blog content. Nor am I going to bash on some well known coffee roasters in Seattle that I personally didn’t think was worth any of my money.

…so what is that one coffee shop that I would genuinely want to go back to?

Related:

Where to find the BEST coffee in San Francisco.

The 3 things I look for when choosing a coffee shop.

A guide to Portland, Oregon’s coffee scene.

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Cafe Hagen

South Lake Unioin

1252 Thomas St, Seattle, WA 98109

In recent years, Scandinavia has been described as the happiest place on earth.

Central to this happiness is a little known word called “hygge”(hyoo-gah).  Hygge is about coziness, comfort, and warmth, but also about being kind to yourself — giving yourself a treat, and giving yourself, and each other, a break from the demands of todays’ fast-paced life.

A slice of this happiness and hygge is nested in Seattle in the modern Café Hagen, in the heart of the bustling Seattle South Lake Union.

cafehagen.com

I think one of the reasons why Cafe Hagen stood out to me so much in the first place is because of their unique branding. They are emulating the ultimate European cafe experience. It’s no secret that there is no “American” cafe experience, at least not in my book. If you’ve read some of my older posts I have ranted already about how much I enjoy Australian owned & inspired cafes – they know how to do a great flat white, what can I say!!

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When I went they were still in the process of a “soft opening”, but regardless they clearly had all their crap together and were ready to take on the world.

Their menu was pure quality; the options were really different and prestigious. They roast their own coffee and we’re very knowledgeable on creating their menu highlighting all of their own unique flavors.

The decor was very minimalistic, yet bold. The cafe had different spots all around catering to lots of different clientele: the “productive get work done“ ones, the “i’m on a date” ones & the “takeaway I’m running to work now” ones.

To me, coffee is more of an experience. My favorite cafes are my favorite not only for quality, taste and all that jazz but the experience I had going there in the first place.

When I went I got a tasting flight. There is nothing more that SCREAMS quality than a tasting flight. It proves to me that they care to have the knowledge to piece together their coffee in a way that creates an EXPERIENCE for their guests.

These were the three roasts I had in my tasting. All were super flavorful and gave me the kick I needed that morning.

*fun fact* it was actually my birthday the day I went here & also my boyfriends birthday, as we were traveling together and share a birthday! crazy stuff!

We also ended up getting food, I got the avocado toast (what a surprise) and my boyfriend got this smoked salmon toast. Pretty sure they also have a menu geared more for grabbing a drink with your friends after work, but brunch is more my vibe!

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Interested in what I look for when choosing what coffee spots to try out when traveling? I have a whole post on it!

This is in no way meant to be an advertisement. I found this cafe over on instagram before traveling and was immediately interested in stopping by.

As always, thanks so much for reading.

Lots of love,

foot

Where to find the BEST coffee in San Francisco

San Francisco, California Coffee Guide

With how boujee California can get, I had decent expectations for the San Francisco coffee scene.

*spoiler* it did not disappoint

I was only in San Francisco for a couple days, so I had to plan out where I was going to get coffee before-hand (nothing new) to try and fit in as many stops as possible.

If you’re curious how my brain works in deciding what coffee shops to try when I travel, especially with limited time, I did a whole post on what I look for. The points I made there helps me not waste my time or money on coffee shops that aren’t that good.

Related posts:

Best instagram photo spots in San Francisco

Ultimate Berlin Coffee Guide

Where to find the BEST coffee in New York City


Home Coffee SF

You may recognize Home SF from my Best instagram photo spots in San Francisco.

First Impressions: I was SO excited to go here after seeing it on instagram (I mean look at that latte art)! They have multiple locations but I went to the location near the 16th Ave tiled steps which I talked about here. The cafe itself has their own unique aesthetic filled with cute decor.

Atmosphere: It was a medium-sized cafe with some seating. Most of it was filled with people on their laptops getting work done (we love to see it)! It’s located in a more quiet neighborhood so I could easily see myself being productive here.

Final Thoughts: 10/10. It was such a unique spot with lots of character. I managed to get a spot at the window and the lighting was everything. If you ever go to SFO you MUST stop here.

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Golden Goat Coffee

Golden Goat coffee was actually my first stop when visiting San Francisco. I ventured off from my hotel down some side streets, passing everyone headed into work.

First Impressions: It’s a hidden shop right off an alley way. If you didn’t know of here previously, you would’ve just noticed a little fold out coffee sign off the main street. I could tell lots of people were here for coffee before work *local spot*

Atmosphere: The place itself is super small and I’m pretty sure they only do takeaway. But the employees were super nice and I’m pretty sure I saw one of them go off and give out coffee to the homeless around the area which was super nice to see.

Final Thoughts: 10/10 for quality, and location. This spot isn’t far off from the main strip, so it’s perfect to take a pit stop for a takeaway coffee before sightseeing.

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Ritual Coffee Roasters

always a yes to coffee

Originally Ritual Coffee wasn’t on my first list of coffee shops to try, but a friend mentioned it was on their faves list so I had to make it a point to stop by. I went to Soul Cycle in the morning then made a pit stop here to have for my walk back to my hotel.

First Impressions: They had a wider array of a menu with more specialty coffee (makes sense since they roast all their own coffee). To be fair I can’t remember exactly what I got here but I think it was one of their specialty pour overs & it was super flavorful.

Atmosphere: Ritual has multiple locations but this one was definitely more geared for takeaway. There were a few tables in and outside but it was pretty full when I went.

Final Thoughts: 9/10. I could see myself ordering their beans online to have at home as they definitely know what they’re doing. This spot just didn’t stand out to me as much as the first two I mentioned.

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Saint Frank

First Impressions: Saint Frank was a cute little shop off the main strip in Soma with the most gorgeous gold and teal/green aesthetic… what dreams are made of.

Atmosphere: Super, super cute decor and over aesthetic. There were some tables and such but it seemed that most of the cafe itself was where they roasted their coffee. Also something to note, the exact location I went to ( the one in Soma) wasn’t in the most quiet neighborhood, so I’m no sure if I would go here to get any work done. Nonetheless, the coffee was worth it.

Final Thoughts: 8.5/10 for coffee, I think I was adventurous when I went and got a slightly flavored latte over a normal one. If you know one thing about me I normally drink black coffee… If I was to go here again and get sweetened coffee I’m sure my rating would then raise a significant amount.

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Remember to check out my other city coffee guides here for other inspo 🙂

Thanks so much if you’ve read this far. I appreciate the support so much.

Lots of love,

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Most Instagram Worthy Photo Spots in San Francisco

Want location ideas for your instagram feed? or photo spots that are anything but the Golden Gate Bridge? (because trust me, there are a lot)

Then keep reading!!!

Before leaving for the west coast, I can’t lie-

one of my biggest google searches was “instagram spots in San Francisco”

– or searches dedicated to my other upcoming travel destinations. I had no clue before-hand that putting together a list of your ultimate instagram aesthetic spots was a thing, but I’m so happy it is.

The ones I looked at months ago I found so helpful so I hope this helps or sparks some interest in you!

This past February on my west coast travels, I embarked on a 4-day mini trip to San Francisco, California. Being such an odd time in the year to travel, especially in the states, it made going to the touristy spots much easier to get good photos. Also, with me not being a fan of weather above 65-70 degrees F, if I went to California any later in the year I would die of heat exhaustion.

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Related Posts:

The Best Photo Spots in Berlin

Brighton Beach, New Zealand Photo Diary


Palace of Fine Arts

I was blown away by the architecture and how the area itself made me feel like I was off in some distant country. There was so many spots here perfect for photos and a cute little pond and pathways that wrapped around the main dome.

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Alamo Square

gotta love that shadow of my boyfriend haha

Of course when I went here the “famous” colored buildings in the square were under construction but it still was a great view of the city.

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16th Avenue Tiled Steps

To my surprise the city actually has multiple tiled staircases, and as you can guess, they’re all gorgeous. It took some time to get here with public transportation (and lots of uphill walking, but I guess you have to expect that in San Francisco).

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*random fun fact time* the steepest residential street in the WORLD is NOT in San Francisco!! It is in Dunedin, New Zealand. I have a travel guide featuring it here.


After heading to see the mosaic steps I’m sure you’re going to be tired and just want to sit down; this brings me to my next destination.

I have the perfect place for you.

Home Coffee Roasters

Me being the coffee obsessed person that I am of course I had to include a cute cafe in here (full San Francisco coffee guide coming very soon)!

In the mean time check out my past coffee guides for New York City, Berlin & Portland, Oregon.

The baristas here are SO talented and make it easy to get adorable photos. My mind was blown when I saw the latte art on mine and my boyfriend’s. They also have a long list of really unique flavored coffee beverages!

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The Streets – Lombard Street

Sounds simple but the city itself has so many unique streets. There are many hidden steps and alleyways cutting through parks and such.

One specific one I will mention (because it is the most popular one), is Lombard Street. Even if you don’t go to take photos, per say, it’s such an odd street with its unique characteristics. This spot is normally pretty crowded, but I saw so many people taking that to their advantage to take creative photos.


Palace of Fine Arts

Other Location Ideas: Alcatraz, near the cable cars and the many cute spots on the waterfront!

Thanks so much if you’ve read this far. I appreciate the support so much.

Lots of love,

foot

5 Coolest Hidden beaches in New Zealand

From my travels within the gorgeous country of New Zealand, and also them being an island country and all, they have a lot of beaches. Don’t get me wrong, most of them are gorgeous and “off the beaten path” but there are some beaches that are even more hidden.

Related: Top 10 Unforgettable Travel Destinations in New Zealand, Coromadel Peninsula Travel Itinerary, Coolest things to do in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Keep reading to see the beaches where you can see wildlife up-close & FOR FREE!


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The beaches I’m about to mention I only found out they existed by either:

  1. an intense google search, lots of digging
  2. a local told me, so naturally I had to check it out
  3. I wanted to visit a very specific music video location spot…

*keep reading to find out what music video I’m referring to*


Gemstone Beach

Southern coast of the South Island, New Zealand.

I only found out about this beach because when my Mom came to visit me in New Zealand the only place she wanted to go to was this “Gemstone Beach”.

Gemstone Beach located within 10 minutes drive from Tuatapere

Gemstone Beach is a random little beach off one of the main roads on the southern part of the South Island; it’s not far from the little town of Orepuki.

Let me tell you, if we didn’t know about this place we could have very easily driven by and had no clue that it was anything important, it’s that HIDDEN! (so thanks to my Mom to finding this beach randomly on trip advisor i think)

Okay, okay, so it’s hidden but are there actual gemstones there?

Yes, there are actual gemstones there. But if you weren’t familiar with the beach or you didn’t read the sign then you probably wouldn’t think this beach is anything special.

Best Beaches in New Zealand - South Island - The Fit Traveller

With the location of this specific beach the ocean currents bring in some really cool things. There are different factors that play into what specific gems you actually find on your trip (seasons, storms, etc.), but my family was super pleased to find what we did.

Im positive I found some jasper and other gorgeous ones (I am no expert or I’m sure I could give more specifics). Especially once you put the rocks underwater the colors really shine (this shot is by fit traveler)!

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Related: Explore Tunnel Beach, South Island New Zealand


Bethells Beach

North Island, New Zealand within an hours drive north of Auckland.

You may be thinking either:

  1. WOW that beach is gorgeous!! or
  2. I recognize that beach from somewhere?
she lost him but found herself and somehow that was everything ...

Does this look more familiar?

If not, that’s okay too. Bethells Beach was one of the main filming locations of Taylor Swift’s music video for “Out of the Woods”. The song itself means a lot to me personally, like emerging beyond dark times.

fun fact: I actually got contacted by Taylor’s management and got to meet her back in 2018 if you’re interested in a post on that!

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Regardless if you care for Taylor Swift or not, it really is a STUNNING beach. It’s almost a mini hike from the car park to get to this beach. There’s a creek that runs down past the car park to lead you to this open beach lined with hills.

A beyond stunning beach that is the PERFECT day trip, or side trip from Auckland if you have the time.

Related: Explore Coromandel Peninsula, the most stunning North Island road trip


Brighton Beach

South Island, New Zealand not far from Dunedin.

I have actually done a whole post going more into this gorgeous spot here, but I couldn’t help but include it on this list. Brighton is a small village within an hour drive of downtown Dunedin, New Zealand. One of my flatmates recommended to visit it and WOW I was not disappointed.

I went at sunset just before a big rainstorm so it was extra quiet and eerie.

The beach itself had a massive parking lot and a space for camper vans to park as well.

I’ve mentioned before that there is an endless amount of pretty beaches around Dunedin itself, but this one in particular I only found out about it from a local. So this is me passing that info along to share it with you.

You could spend a couple days alone just exploring the beaches around Dunedin.

Related: Exploring Dunedin, New Zealand – Top things to do

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Point Kean Beach

South Island, New Zealand just outside of Kaikoura

Kaikoura on its’ own is just a stunning spot to travel to. It’s a bit out of the way to get to, but it’s SO worth it. The area is especially known for their ample amount of marine life so the marine biologist in me had to make sure to go here!

The Kaikoura area is so unique because the continental shelf drops significantly just off the coast; meaning, that the ocean gets very deep without having to travel far off the coast. As a result, many marine life (seals, sperm whales, etc.) takes advantage of this and it’s ample amount of resources and calls the Kaikoura Peninsula its’ home.

There are a couple other beaches around Kaikoura where you can see incredible wildlife for zero coast, but this one was the main one I could find after an extensive google search.

Although Point Kean is technically a beach, you can’t exactly enjoy the beach to the full extent you might want because it is taken over by these adorable New Zealand fur seals year round. Their colony extends to this car park where you can easily find them having a good snooze.

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*disclaimer: these photos are zoomed in and I did not get this close to these animals. I am COMPLETELY against the tourists that go DIRECTLY up to them AS A WILD ANIMAL for photos and out of other curiosities. Granted that the area has MANY SIGNS asking to keep your distance from the seals, it’s sad that people DON’T listen. I am very passionate about protecting wildlife so if you visit here, or anywhere with wildlife really, PLEASE keep a safe distance for both you and the animal.


More Seal Pups Slaughtered in Kaikoura: Point Kean Seal Colony ...

To give more of a context, I found this photo which shows how fine the line is between the beach and the car park. You are allowed on the beach/rocky coast itself but only if you are a certain distance from any wildlife. So please pay attention and give the animals the space they deserve.

Me having a degree in marine biology & actually about to do my masters on Australian fur seals (this little guys close cousin), this beach was heaven to me.

Related: Moving to Tasmania for Grad School – Why Tasmania?


Curio Bay Beach

South Island, New Zealand in the Caitlins

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Curio Bay is most well known for being the site of a yellow-eyed penguin colony (one of the most shy and rare penguins in the world) and also a petrified forest. I’m not going to get too much into the science behind it but basically a long time ago this bay was a forest and over time, and a series of ancient volcanic mud flows, the trees fossilized to form these incredible structures you see here.

It’s just a really unique beach to visit. Out of my list this one is the most well-known, as the Caitlins are a more popular spot to explore.

I had a lot of fun with pano shots here.

Related: Top 10 New Zealand Travel Destinations


I hope you enjoyed reading about some of my favorite beaches in New Zealand.

Lots of love,

foot

Berlin Coffee Guide: best coffee in Berlin, Germany

I’m about to drop the ultimate list of the 5 best specialty coffee shops in Berlin, Germany.

Before traveling to Berlin last Spring, I didn’t realize how prestigious their coffee culture is… like VERY prestigious. Very unexpected for me to come across but super thrilled I was able to find the perfect spots.

Read till the end to see my absolute favorite coffee shop that I still dream about.

If you’ve read my past posts on my Germany travels from last March, Best photo spots in Berlin & Cutest German village, my brother was doing a semester abroad in Berlin and on my spring break I flew out to visit him.

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travel tip: While I was traveling around Germany, 90% of the cafes only had soy milk for dairy free options (besides lactate free.. but I don’t count that). Based on this, something I realized was that cafes that did carry other dairy free milks, especially those with oat milk, were easily the more popular, higher end cafes.

At the time I was visiting Berlin, it was my semester break from university so I still had some papers to get caught up on. Naturally, I spent a lot of time at each of these places not only for coffee, but to be productive as well. So, I will be talking about the atmosphere of these Berlin coffee shops in more detail as well.


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The Barn Coffee Roasters

First Impressions: My brother introduced me to Barn Coffee Roasters and I was extremely impressed. Their coffee menu varies considerably from pour overs, to flat whites. As they roast their own coffee, it makes complete sense that they are very knowledgeable on the perfect ratios and pairings of their coffee. A super super prestigious spot; I’m just going to keep using “prestigious” for emphasis.

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Atmosphere: Super rustic with an average amount of seating. One interesting thing to note is the window spots, the best spots, had these signs to deter people from using their laptops. I honestly thought it was a great concept because in the end it forced me to pull out a book to read instead and also let me spend more time people watching the busy street. It’s a very popular spot: lots and lots of in and out and longer lines for people to get their morning coffee before work.

Final Thoughts: 10/10 for quality, aesthetic, branding, the array of options, the list goes on. If you go to Berlin you MUST visit Barn Coffee Roasters. Within the last year they opened more locations too.


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Bonanza Coffee

First Impressions: Bonanza coffee roasts their own coffee (woo!!!!) and they currently have three locations. The one I went to I think is their Roastery Cafe but I could be wrong… it’s been a while. The cafe has lots of space and room to spread out.

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Atmosphere: Lots and lots of room to sit and get work done (I managed to snag a window seat in the back). At least when I was there it was must quieter than Barn, for example. The spot also had lots of plants, so thats a plus for me.

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Final thoughts: 9/10 for great quality coffee, and a friendly & open atmosphere. Not my absolute favorite spot, but super super good. I think I got some sort of oat milk latte here. Their cafes are located in pretty convenient locations so it makes it relatively easy to pop by.


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Distrikt Coffee

First Impressions: I could be wrong, but I think I first found out about Distrikt Coffee by searching cafes in Berlin that had the best avocado toast and came across them. Out of the 5 cafes I mention in this post, this one for sure if the one that is more with a traditional cafe menu. So whether you come here for the food, the coffee or both, it’s a great spot!

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Atmosphere: As I mentioned earlier, this spot is more of a traditional cafe with both great food & coffee. It is a bit louder with the nature of the place, but there are still some corner spots or they have an adorable “mini loft” kinda spot to be a bit more isolated. Also they are a dog friendly cafe SO I SAW THE MOST ADORABLE BEAGLE AND I GOT TO PET IT (a beagle is my dream dog)!!

Final thoughts: if you’re looking for a cafe to get great food AND coffee then 10/10, but if you’re after just the coffee part then 8.5/10.


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Chapter One Coffee

First Impressions: This was the other coffee spot that my brother introduced to me. Chapter One is very much a takeaway or quick in-and-out kind of spot. It was super popular with the locals and overall just seemed like perfect spot to grab a coffee with friends on your lunch break at work,

Atmosphere: Although it was a popular local spot, it is a super small cafe & as a result theres super limited seating. I wasn’t on a quick break from work, I was actually very much a tourist; I was hoping to sit down, rest my legs and enjoy a nice cup of coffee. I managed to snag a super small ledge to kind of hang out near for a couple minutes until I finished my coffee. Also, if lighting matters to you, this place for the most part was pretty dark.

Final Thoughts: If you’re on the go and looking for great takeaway coffee or a quick break then 10/10. But if you’re looking for a cafe to sit down and get work done then head to this next spot.

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Oslo Kaffebar

Ja Ja Ja gets to know Oslo Kaffebar! - Ja Ja Ja
Somehow I never took any photos of the cafe itself, so this one is by Ja Ja Ja Music
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First Impressions: I found Oslo Kaffebar from a quick google search of cafes not far off the train line I’d take from seeing my brother. It was CROWDED with a long line out the door, BUT it moved very timely and once I got to the register the baristas were so welcoming and immediately made me feel like a local. I could instantly tell that, hey, this is the ultimate local gem. Also, if you read my tip from the beginning of this post: they had oat milk… enough said.

Atmosphere: Super rustic, minimalistic and friendly atmosphere. The locals love it here so much that regardless if they got one of few tables available (because it’s so popular), they would casually just hang out outside the cafe. The sidewalk in front of Oslo almost was like an extension of the cafe atmosphere, in the best way possible; this aspect also made waiting in line to order a more entertaining experience.

For the cafe’s size, they did have a decent amount of seating relative to the space. Even though it was crowded, each time I went I didn’t struggle too much to find somewhere to sit. The nature of this cafe is also very “productive” if that makes sense. So many people come here just to relax and do work, which I LOVE!

Final Thoughts: 10/10 for atmosphere, location, friendliness & milk frothing abilities of the baristas.

Also side note, they did a partnership with the oat milk brand “Oatly” themselves. Of course the week after I left this cafe offered free beverages to anyone who got one with oat milk. At the time I was in Germany (March 2019), Oatly was really killing it in the advertising around the country. I even saw their ads in the airport.

If you could only go to one on this list, go here.


If you liked this guide, or found it helpful please let me know! I’d really love feedback.

If you’re on the look out for more coffee guides:

Best coffee in NYC (also the most instagramable spots)

Best coffee in Portland, Oregon (a city, with surprsingly, a lot of killer coffee).

What to look for when choosing a coffee shop to spend your money at

Lots of love,

foot
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