East One Coffee Roasters, Chelsea

Detail from the wall of East One Coffee Roasters in midtown Manhattan: "EAST ONE BKLN" in white on black, outlined with a white square, with "COFFEE ROASTERS" underneath.There was a time when great coffee was rather hard to find in Midtown Manhattan, but that’s all changed! Visiting New York City last September, I stayed on 26th Street between 6th and 7th Avenue in Midtown, where there were at least 10 speciality coffee shops within a few blocks. Today’s Coffee Spot, East One Coffee Roasters, was one of several options on my way to the office, its evening opening hours allowing me pop in after work as well.

East One bucks the trend of small Midtown coffee shops, occupying a large spot on the corner of 7th Avenue and 23rd Street, right next to the 23rd St metro station. There’s a row of tables outside on the busy 23rd Street, while inside, multiple seating areas offer a variety of tables, benches and bars. The coffee is roasted at East One’s Court Street coffee shop and eatery in Brooklyn, with a single-origin on espresso and another on batch brew. The options change on a regular basis and there’s a small selection of retail bags of coffee available to buy. Meanwhile, if you’re hungry, the brunch menu’s available until 3 o’clock, backed up with a selection of cake throughout the day.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • On the corner of 7th Avenue and 23rd Street in Midtown Manhattan...
  • ... it's East One Coffee Roasters. There's a row of four tables outside on the busy...
  • ... 23rd Street, which you can see more clearly in this picture.
  • The minimalist A-board sums it up nicely.
  • The view from just inside the door, looking across towards the counter.
  • Turning around, here's the view of the door, which is on the corner at 45°.
  • There's pair of low-slung chairs to the left of the door...
  • ... followed by this L-shaped seating area in the space between the counter and window.
  • THere's more seating to the right of the door...
  • ... starting with this set of benches with in-built coffee tables.
  • There's a small retail section and takeaway station at the end of the third bench...
  • ... followed by another bench on the other side.
  • Next, there's this standalone table, seating provided by tall stools...
  • ... and then we're back to the benches.
  • There's one final seating area at the back on the right...
  • ... which comes after this two-person bar and a separate door to 7th Avenue.
  • There are two tables back here, seating provided by low stools.
  • It's very green back here, with lots of potted plants.
  • It's always nice to have your name on the wall.
  • A selection of retail bags of coffee is available, all single-origins.
  • This is opposite the front of the counter, which is set back on the left.
  • The concise menu is high up above the front of the counter...
  • ... while the brunch menu (available until 3 o'clock) is on the wall behind the counter.
  • There's also a small selection of cakes/pastries, which are available throughout the day.
  • You order at the till, where the beans for the batch-brew filter are on display.
  • Moving along the counter, you come to the espresso option, which is, confusingly...
  • ... displayed on a SP9 filter machine. This Ethiopian Nano Genji was on during my first visit.
  • However, by the end of the week, this Kenyan Gatugi was on espresso...
  • ... along with this ever-present Colombian decaf.
  • East One has a pair of very shiny Slayer espresso machines..
  • ... which occupy the remainder of the counter.
  • On my first visit, I had the Nano Genji as a corado...
  • ... seen here casting an eye over the Slayer espresso machines.
  • Later on in the week, I called in for a cappuccino in my HuskeeCup on the way...
  • ... to the office.
  • Finally, I popped back one evening after work, when I had the Gatugi as an espresso.
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This is the second of two locations for East One, following the flagship roastery/coffee shop in Brooklyn. Although it only opened in 2019, the Coffee Spot has a long history with East One. Tom, East One’s founder, was also behind two ground-breaking London coffee shops, FreeState Coffee (now long since gone) and New Row Coffee (now part of the Espresso Room group). I wrote about FreeState Coffee back in 2013, not long after it opened, and although the décor is quite different, there’s quite a bit about East One that reminded me of FreeState.

Occupying a large spot on the corner of 7th Avenue and 23rd Street, East One has a row of four tables along the busy 23rd Street, a rope strung between waist-high metal pillars separating the tables from the passing pedestrians. The door is on the corner, at 45° to both 23rd Street and 7th Avenue, where there’s a second door towards the back of East One.

Stepping inside, the counter is on the left, set well back from the windows which run all the way across the front of East One, as well as down the right-hand side, resulting in a very bright, airy space. The seating is arranged along the windows, starting to the left of the door with a pair of low-slung armchairs. These are followed by an L-shaped bench with four two-person tables in the windows and two more down the left-hand side, the bench ending at the counter.

There’s more seating to the right of the door, starting with a series of multi-part benches with built-in coffee tables and low stools. The first of these starts to the right of the door, runs a short way along the windows down 7th Avenue, then cuts back into East One to end at a small takeaway station/retail section opposite the start of the counter. There’s another bench on the other side, then a standalone table, seating provided by tall stools, before a final bench on the other side of the table, which faces towards the front of East One.

The last of the seating is in the back, right-hand corner. There’s a two-person bar on the rear side of the final bench, then comes the door to 7th Avenue before a narrow alcove, maybe one third of the width of East One, houses a final pair of two-person tables.

I visited on three separate occasions, the first on Monday morning when I got my day underway with a cortado made with the Nano Genji, a washed coffee from Ethiopia. This was really interesting in milk, the coffee’s sweet, fruity flavours combining well with the milk. These flavours were even more apparent when I tried it on its own as an espresso.

I had the Nano Genji again in a cappuccino in my HuskeeCup, but when I returned on Thursday evening, it had been replaced with the Gatugi, a naturally-processed Kenyan coffee which I tried as an espresso. This was a very different and very interesting coffee, with a much deeper flavour, although not at all what I was expecting from a naturally-processed coffee. While I liked it, I have to say that I preferred the Nano Genji. The next time I’m in New York, I’ll have to try to visit the roastery in Brooklyn.

170 W 23RD STREET • NEW YORK CITY • NY 10011 • USA
www.eastonecoffee.com +1 646 649 3624
Monday 07:00 – 19:00 Roaster East One (espresso + batch brew)
Tuesday 07:00 – 19:00 Seating Tables, Benches, Bar; Tables (outside)
Wednesday 07:00 – 19:00 Food Brunch (until 15:00), Cake
Thursday 07:00 – 19:00 Service Counter
Friday 07:00 – 19:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 08:00 – 19:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 08:00 – 19:00 Power No
Chain Local Visits 26th, 28th, 29th September 2022

If you liked this Coffee Spot, then check out the rest of New York City’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to New York City.

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  1. Pingback: FreeState Coffee | Brian's Coffee Spot

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