These Four Bronx Coffee Shops Are Worth The Trip
Bronx-born and raised barista Joseph W. Gonzalez, known as The BX Barista, recently launched a new coffee catering and consulting business with his business partner Javier Alvarez in the borough called Espresso State of Mind. Roasting his beans, Joseph takes pride in not only expertly pulling espresso shots and using the finest coffee-based alchemy but utilizes his events to educate the masses on the origin of the beans, how to decipher tasting notes and, of course, spreading the coffee love.
Joseph spent the day with Edible Bronx, he took us to four unique Bronx coffee shops that specialize in making all pastries (including vegan options) in-house from scratch and schooled us on the art of coffee and pastry pairings.
Drink: Regular Drip Coffee
Pastry: Original Cannoli, Chocolate Cannoli, Rum Baba
Pairing regular coffee with sweet, creamy pastries just works on every level—toning down the slightly bitter qualities of coffee with the richness of mildly sweet ricotta cannoli cream with the cinnamon-scented crunchy fried shells. Whether you go the OG route or chocolate-dipped, this is a classic pairing not to be missed.
What’s special? Try the Rum Baba. A light, spongy cake with a light cream filling soaked in boozy rum flavor. Strong coffee pairs exceptionally well with liquor.
Drink: Turkish Coffee
Pastry: Prince Bombs, Shortbread Cookies
Turkish-style coffee isn’t for the faint of heart—it’s intense. Unfiltered, the coffee grounds are boiled with water in a copper pot on top of the stove and served in a small cup, grounds and all. The result is a syrupy, dense coffee experience with full-bodied flavor, texture and aroma.
The coffee is served with complimentary house-made shortbread cookies. Perfectly crumbly and delicately sweet, shortbread cookies are perfect for robust coffee drinks, as the acidity cuts the buttery richness.
What’s special? The Prince Bombs, their namesake delicacy: bite-sized cake balls rolled in coconut and are available in vanilla and chocolate. Like the coffee, the bombs are dense, but in the best way possible. The light, flaky coconut and sweetness add layers of texture and even out the complexity of the small but mighty cup of coffee.
Drinks: Cappuccino, Golden Latte
Pastry: Toasted Croissant, Maple-Bacon Honey Corn Muffin
“Good day, bad day, breakfast, lunch, or dinner—a nice toasted croissant with butter is great at any time,” says Joseph, as he explains why cappuccinos work with pastries so well “you have the brightness of the espresso added in with your milk,” he explains, describing the layers of the classic drink—starting with the espresso roasted fresh by Sweetleaf Coffee in Long Island City, with warm, creamy milk and light, milky foam on top. The layered drink is expertly executed and pairs perfectly with the light, buttery layers of the freshly made croissant.
What’s special? Try the Golden Latte made with oat milk and turmeric. Coffee houses are seriously upping their drink game, and The Miles is no exception. Oatly brand oat milk is rich, creamy and dairy-free, and when steamed with slightly bitter turmeric, the resulting tonic is well-balanced and known for its health benefits. It’s a great alternative to coffee on days when you’ve already hit your caffeine threshold. Add a house-made muffin to your order. Miles’ corn muffin, the brainchild of resident Pastry Chef Catherine, is unlike any other corn muffin you’ve ever had—studded with salty, crispy bacon, its corn flavor is enhanced by sweet honey and maple notes. The perfect flavor profile for any of the coffee or specialty lattes on the menu, any time of day.
Drinks: Spiced Latte w/Oat Milk, Espresso
Pastry: Ginger Molasses Scone, Tahini Chocolate Loaf
“A good espresso takes 30 seconds to make and 30 seconds to mess up,” says Joseph, and according to him, Moss Café does it right. “The flavors of this particular blend are chocolate, caramel, and black cherry notes,” he describes as he sips the Stumptown Hair Bender blend. He pairs the classic shot, which is delicious as a stand-alone coffee fix, with the rich dark chocolate and toasty sesame flavors of the Tahini Chocolate Loaf, the notes in the espresso are heightened to a whole new level.
What’s special? “The Moss Cafe spiced chai is a bit mellower and sweeter than a traditional spiced chai,” says Joseph. It’s made with Oatly milk and topped with an extra sprinkling of cinnamon to reinforce its warm, spicy notes. Try pairing it with the Spiced Ginger Scone, which is coated with a thick, sweet spiced glaze that mimics the latte’s flavor profile which further develops the ginger’s warming effects and the molasses’ sweetness. The scone has a delightfully crumbly exterior and a moist, tender center, adding a great texture to the smooth creamy chai.