Sweeatleaf is a cozy spot in Long Island City serving West Coast coffees and possibly the best carrot cake in Queens.
As cliched as it may sound these days, add me to the millions of people who claim to be addicted to coffee. And no, I’m not talking about your giant cup of steamed milk topped with an overgenerous dose of sugary syrup with the tiniest hint of caffeine. What I want and often dream of is aromatic coffee from Ethiopia or Guatemala (some of my favorite coffee-growing countries) lightly roasted and brewed to perfection with nothing else added. If the shop’s espresso happens to be really good, I may order an Americano (a double-shot espresso with hot water) or a red-eye (a double-shot espresso with brewed coffee for extra zing) guaranteed to wake me up.
Living in San Diego, it has been a long, arduous trial-and-error process before I managed to find a really great coffee roaster. Over a year later, I visited San Francisco and found myself revived and even enthralled by some of the best third-wave roasters in the city. This of course didn’t come cheap and all hopes of moving to Northern California in general and San Francisco in particular were thwarted by my constant shock over how expensive everything was. A few months later, I found myself riding in a tiny cramped car on a snow-covered day to start over in a city more notorious for expensiveness (but not really) which I also previously visited but felt more enamored to. I kept the memories of that visit close to my heart for every time I felt like “everywhere’s the same and everything sucks and why can’t I go back to my hometown where everything was much easier and closer to each other in distance.” Anyone who hasn’t stayed in the same place forever has those days. But anyway, my time in the US is not done and I couldn’t be happier over my choice to move to New York City. I found Sweetleaf after a long day of my first odd job in Queens running deliveries on Valentine’s Day of this year. It should be noted that this is particularly ironic given my long history of ignoring and/or poking fun at holidays.
Now why choose Sweetleaf on your next trip to NYC?
1. They carry some of the best coffees from the West Coast including Stumptown of Portland, OR and Ritual and Sightglass of San Francisco. These coffees are lighter and far from the bitter and burnt-tasting cups that I’ve had in California.
2. The first photo above features the most amazing carrot cake with a modern twist that I’ve ever had in my life. It has coconut flakes and some unidentified but tasty nuts — it is extremely delicious. I do encourage you to visit the About page of Sweetleaf’s website. I feel so strongly about this and I am definitely giving this the Ron Swanson recommendation.
3. It is less than 30 minutes away from Manhattan and I really appreciate the decor. So much thought has been given to the whole setup and the shop is divided into the Lounge Room with comfy couches, the Laptop Room (wooden table pictured above), and last but not least, the Record Room below.
Brick walls, an awesome selection of records including the “heavy fucking metal” section, and a salvaged pew for customers to sit on. What else can you ask for?
4. Maybe the fact that the Long Island City Piers are a few minutes walk away? Less than five, I would say.
People have a bone to pick over the fact that the Laptop Room does not have any outlets. I personally like the idea of relaxing and not looking at a screen when I’m out. If I had any nitpick, it would be the hours. Even in NYC, there’s just not enough coffee shops (as opposed to places with regular East Coast coffee which is highly acceptable BTW) to lounge at past midnight. 😉