Black Fox Coffee, W 33rd Street

A lovely flat white in my HuskeeCup, made with the All Day house blend at Black Fox Coffee on W 33rd Street.Black Fox Coffee is the final Coffee Spot from last September’s visit to New York City. Fittingly, since I started my Manhattan write-ups with a recommendation from my friend Bex (of Double Skinny Macchiato), Black Fox is another of Bex’s many NYC recommendations. Black Fox is an interesting concept, being both a roaster in its own right and also a multi-roaster, featuring guests from around the world on batch-brew filter, alongside its own coffee on espresso, with all the coffee available in retail bags in store and online.

There are currently five Black Foxes around Manhattan, with today’s Coffee Spot located on W 33rd Street in Midtown. It occupies a spot on the ground floor of the Pendry Hotel and, while a door leads directly from the hotel lobby to the coffee shop, it’s a completely standalone operation. There’s no seating inside, and although it has a couple of tables outside, Black Fox only uses disposable cups, so don’t forget to bring your own. If you’re hungry, there’s a small selection of cakes and pastries.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • The Pendry Hotel on W 33rd Street in New York.
  • The building goes a long way up. And I mean a long way.
  • See?
  • Talking of things that go a long way up, take a look along W 33rd Street...
  • ... and there, in the distance, is the Empire State Building.
  • And if you look the other way (west), you can see Weehawken in New Jersey and if you...
  • ... look really closely, you can (just) see the Hudson River.
  • Returning to the Pendry Hotel, we're actually interested in this door to the left.
  • The sign on the pavement gives the game away.
  • The other side is even more concise...
  • ... while this sign even has directions.
  • There's a little bit of outside seating here...
  • ... with this table to the left of the door...
  • ... and this one to the right. But that's all there is, because inside...
  • ... there's nothing but the counter.
  • Let's start at the back on the left, where you'll find the till.
  • Continuing around to the right comes the Kees van der Westen espresso machine...
  • ... which brings us to the front of the counter on the right, where you collect your coffee.
  • To the right of this is a door to the hotel lobby, but it's for hotel guests only.
  • Next to this is a neat little takeaway station...
  • ... which brings us back to the door to the street.
  • There's one other thing: this set of retail shelves to the left of the door.
  • There's more retail on shelves against the mirrored back of Black Fox.
  • You'll find bags of coffee from Black Fox itself...
  • ... as well as the current guest roaster, which was DAK during my visit.
  • Down to business. You order at the back/left-hand side of the counter.
  • You'll find the cakes, pastries and some grab-and-go items here...
  • ... while the concise menu is written on the mirrors behind the counter.
  • You'll also find the choice of guest roaster which is available on batch brew.
  • I loved the names of the coffees from DAK, an Amsterdam-based roaster.
  • The till display is a nice touch.
  • Once you've ordered, make your way around the counter, pausing to admire the...
  • ... Kees van der Westen Spirit espresso machine (and the flowers at the counter's end).
  • This is where you collect your coffee when it's ready. If you get your timing right...
  • ... you should be able to watch your coffee extracting while you wait.
  • Looking good!
  • And here's mine, a flat white, served in my HuskeeCup (Black Fox is takeaway cups only).
  • It had some lovely latte art...
  • ... with the milk holding the pattern...
  • ... all the way to the bottom of the cup. However, I will leave you with...
  • ... my Kouign-amann, which was every bit as good.
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There really isn’t much to Black Fox Coffee on W 33rd Street. Just around the block from the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel, it’s a few minutes’ walk from the new Hudson Yards development at the northern end of the High Line, making it a good spot for a pre- or post-walk coffee. Looking the other way, east along W 33rd Street, gives you great views of the Empire State Building.

Black Fox has its own door, tucked away to the left of the lobby of the Pendry Hotel, the area set back from the street to form a little patio. There are a pair of two-person tables out here, one on each side of the door, and while the street itself is busy, the patio is relatively quiet. You order (and collect) your coffee inside, where the space is dominated by the L-shaped counter.

Long and thin, Black Fox stretches away ahead of you, the counter running across the full width of the back wall and then down the right-hand side, stopping just short of the front. This leaves space for a door on the right which leads into the hotel lobby. There’s also a small takeaway station here, immediately to the right of the main door to the street, while on the left, a set of shelves carries retail bags of coffee.

You order at the back of Black Fox, where the menus are written on mirrors on the back wall which are far easier to read than they are to photograph! You’ll also find the cakes and pastries on display here, along with more retail bags of coffee on the back wall. Once you’ve ordered, move around the counter, past the Kees van der Westen Spirit espresso machine, which stands parallel to the right-hand wall, to the front of the counter on the right. This is where you collect your coffee and, if you time it right, you should be able to watch your espresso being pulled on the Kees van der Westen.

Talking of coffee, this is the real draw. Black Fox roasts its own house blend (All Day) and decaf (All Night) in a co-roasting space in DUMBO, just across the East River in Brooklyn. These form the backbone of the concise espresso-based menu and are joined on batch-brew filter by a pair of coffees from the current guest roaster. This can be from anywhere in the world, but during my visit, the guest was DAK, from Amsterdam.

Although I was tempted by the guest roaster, I went with a flat white in my HuskeeCup, the All Day blend going really well with the milk to produce a rich, smooth flat white, with some great latte art that lasted all the way to the bottom of the cup. I paired this with an equally rich and this time chewy Kouign-amann.

In a final, but very pleasing twist, when I went to introduce myself, it turned out that the barista and I already knew each other, having met in Octane in Atlanta in 2020. On that occasion, I’d just arrived by train from New York, a journey that I was about to undertake again at the end of my week in the city, a touch of symmetry which pleased me no end!

438 W 33rd STREET • NEW YORK CITY • NY 10001 • USA
Monday 07:00 – 17:00 Roaster Black Fox Coffee + Guests (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 07:00 – 17:00 Seating Tables (outside)
Wednesday 07:00 – 17:00 Food Cake
Thursday 07:00 – 17:00 Service Counter
Friday 07:00 – 17:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 08:00 – 16:00 Wifi No
Sunday 08:00 – 16:00 Power No
Chain Local Visits 24th September 2022

Liked this? Then take a look at 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: Octane: Westside | Brian's Coffee Spot

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