We could all use a little stress relief these days, especially in a place as hectic as New York City. This is “the city that never sleeps,” which means that it’s almost always chaotic around these parts. With eight million people running around, things are bound to get a little bit overwhelming sometimes.
But what keeps New Yorkers going better than a cup of coffee? It’s been said that there’s a Starbucks on every corner in Manhattan. While that’s not necessarily true, there are so many great places to stop in for a cup of joe, even late at night.
But for those of us who want to calm down and take in the city one minute at a time, there are CBD cafes and coffee shops. When cannabidiol (CBD) took off a few years ago, NYC was immediately a CBD food destination. The so-called “cannabis culture” was embraced by city inhabitants and businesses, with everything from ice cream to veggie bowls infused with the substance.
What is CBD?
For those less familiar with the CBD trend, the substance is the second most prevalent active ingredient in cannabis (marijuana). However, it is worth noting that CBD is different from tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the main psychoactive agent in marijuana that causes a “high.”
CBD, by comparison, is said to offer a calming effect and help relieve symptoms of insomnia, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and more – without causing any “high.” It is legal in the United States but can still show up on drug tests for marijuana, as it is derived from marijuana plants.
You can ingest CBD in a few different ways, from tinctures to gummy candy. However, one of the most popular ways to ingest it is by adding it to coffee or tea, often at a CBD cafe. Of which, NYC has many. So to help you navigate the best CBD cafes in NYC, we’ve narrowed down a list of our favorites.
Midtown, Manhattan is one of the busiest areas in NYC. It’s tourist-central, with the Empire State Building, the Broadway theater district, Madison Square Garden and Times Square all within a few blocks of one another. But, it’s also the home of Patent Coffee, which is a great spot for chilling out amid all of the activity.
Even if you don’t want any CBD coffee, they’ve got a menu full of warm (or iced) drinks that are ideal for taking a moment to yourself. They’ve even got a seasonal warm drinks menu, currently featuring menu items like the Spicy Boy, which consists of Mike’s Hot Honey, cayenne, ginger, espresso and oat milk. Their Spiced Yam Cappuccino is bound to melt your heart, too. It’s made with housemade spiced yam puree, brown sugar, espresso and oat milk.
Apart from their special menu items, Patent offers a selection of standard coffee fare. Their bottled CBD Cold Brew is a neighborhood favorite. You can add CBD to hot drinks as well, so there is no need to brave a cold drink in the New York chilliness. With six different tea varieties, a selection of classic pastries and cookies and excellent service, the only complaint here is that there may not be enough seating!
Caffeine Underground is the Platonic ideal of a Brooklyn coffee shop. They aim to bring “the underground into the spotlight.” This establishment is also proud to support a “local community of creatives, intellectuals, geeks, freaks, musicians, artists, creators, makers, dreamers, LGBTQIA, and anyone who wants to break the mold!”
Pop a squat in their eclectic cafe, adorned with rotating local art installations and a hodgepodge of furniture. Hosting different events every week, this cafe will make you want to schedule a trip into Brooklyn to check out a film showing or an open mic.
Popular menu items include bulletproof coffee (a fancy name for coffee blended with butter), yerba mate and their signature Trippin’ Tea. Caffeine Underground also serves kava products; kava is a plant extract that can help alleviate stress, insomnia and even drug withdrawal, among other uses.
Their coffee beverages can be infused with CBD, of course. And if you’re going dairy-free, they have four different types of plant-based milk (oat, almond, soy and macadamia). Interestingly, you can also add charcoal to your drink. Activated charcoal is said to help with detoxifying, digestive health and even reducing cholesterol. If you are on medication, though, it’s advisable to double-check with your doctor first for possible interactions of ingesting activated charcoal.
With all these different add-ins and fun menu items, Caffeine Underground really allows for so much food and drink customization that you’re bound to find something that suits your tastes. And hey, maybe you’ll find some art to take home, too.
The ultimate destination if you’re looking for a little taste of greenery in such an industrialized city, Planted Cafe is bloomcore to the max. Not only do they sell coffee but also plants! Planted cafe strives to prioritize “vegan, whole foods, health and the environment above all else,” so you can feel good about being a patron here. Because they source ingredients from local growers and makers, you’re also supporting the independent market.
Planted also produces its own CBD products, including water-soluble powder packets, which you can add to their drinks. In addition, everything on the Planted menu is both vegan and gluten-free. So, come for the coffee, but stay for the food. Who could resist grabbing a bite to eat here with jackfruit tacos, a colorful winter salad and even a healthy platter of nachos on offer? They’ve got all-day breakfast, too.
In terms of coffees and teas, you won’t be disappointed by the variety. Slip into the botanical theme of this cafe with their Iced Lavender Matcha Latte or a Mushroom Latte, which is made from espresso, lion’s mane, reishi, cinnamon and steamed mylk. Or maybe just roll with a simple hot chocolate or Americano. Just grab a CBD powder packet to add to whatever drink you choose.
Apart from their fun name and logo, Rose Wolf has a ton to offer its patrons. Stay for a while in their comfy, spacious seating area that, of course, is complete with free Wi-Fi. All of their baked goods are freshly made in small batches, too.
Everything on their menu is gluten-free, so this is a safe spot for any gluten-sensitive guests. With vegan options available, too, all visitors are welcome at Rose Wolf. And they have five different types of grilled cheese sandwiches and a vegan grilled cheese (we recommend adding the avocado!) – perfect comfort food for chilling out.
Rose Wolf stands out with its colorful, fun options in terms of drinks. The signature is the Rose Wolf Latte made with coconut milk, rose water, mint and raspberry. This is great for when you’re not really in the mood for caffeine, but you do want something light to sip on. Perhaps their most well-known item is the F*ck Trump, comprised of an interesting combination of espresso, tonic soda, and orange zest. While you’re here, grab some of their tonic CBD.
Whether you want to try out CBD or not, stopping in at any of these cafes is worth your time. Independent coffee shops are great spaces to enjoy local food, local drinks and local culture. And at these CBD-inclusive cafes, you can also get an extra dose of coziness and relaxation with your brew.
Address: 867 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn
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