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Wander Eats: Ralph’s Coffee

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“Smell the roses. Smell the coffee. Whatever it is that makes you happy.” Rita Moreno

That Coffee Life For Me

Friends this post brings me so much joy, not because it is about coffee though that does help, but no, because it has been a hot second since I talked about coffee shops, and honestly really truly hung out in one, and no the patio life doesn’t really count, and forget about a New York coffee shop. Well friends that all changed last month when I went to New York. Not only was the city alive and bustling, but I feel like things are FINALLY back to normal-ish and I am super excited to share this post with you.

Not going to lie New York has a lot of (amazing) gimmicks. Somethings, quite frankly, are overhyped, but then there are those places, that are so popular and touristy because, well they are just plan amazing. I always say things are tourist destinations BECAUSE they are so awesome. It is finding that balance of discovering whether places are overhyped, just because it is trendy, or because it delivers its popularity status. As the saying goes, “If you build it they will come” well the same goes for amazing places. As much as I love to keep my spots to myself, I also love to share them with friends, and watch them fall in love. And I truly can’t fault people for loving some of the most iconic sights in the city (though Time Square I will NEVER understand) that makes New York, New York and that I love and I get to call it home.

Ralph’s Coffee

I very much had my doubts about New York’s newest and trendiest coffee shop. I not only thought it was a gimmick, but another designer entering the foodie world, trying to make even more of a profit, not that there is anything wrong with that. I am very happy to report I was proven wrong. Ralph’s Coffee is by, you guessed it, Ralph Lauren. I had been seeing friends and coworkers going there and even willing to wait in long lines. At first, I thought it was because it was the novelty of a new coffee shop with a well known fashion designer behind it. But when I saw they kept going back, I knew I had to check it out when I went to New York.

In fact, I had my first New York coffee date, technically coffee date period, in the last two years there, and it truly was heavenly. Friends, I was very happily proven wrong. It isn’t just a gimmick or a bougie coffee (though it is bougie) shop. It is delicious and yummy, and they absolutely nailed it.

Ralph’s Cafe

Ralph’s Coffee has several locations through out Manhattan which includes the cutest coffee truck in Midtown, near Rock Center and Saint Pat’s. The flag ship cafe is located on the Upper East Side (once an Upper East Gal, ALWAYS an Upper East Side Gal) on what I deem the Ralph Lauren block. It is attached to the women’s clothing and home decor stores, and across the street from Ralph Lauren’s men’s flagship as well as down the block from the kids store. It truly is the Ralph Lauren block.

The cafe has its own entrance, but it also opens into the store which you can also enter and exit through. There is outdoor seating area which is first come first serve for those who do take out, as well as a full service cafe inside, though those seats are a hot commodity and you might have to wait depending on the time you go. They also have counter order which is what I did.

Ralph’s Coffee was truly designed for the Instagrammer. Everything is artfully decorated and exceptionally marketed. That said, from the moment I entered I felt like I had been transported back in time to a coffee shop in Paris or Vienna. It is classically ornate with leather booths, plush curtains, and a stunning chandelier. The waitstaff are all in suits, and the coffee is served in beautiful china. Just walking in is an experience in of itself. While it might seem pretentious, everyone is incredibly helpful and friendly. There is an emphasis on customer service which I greatly appreciate.

The Coffee

The menu is very traditional of a coffee house you would find in Europe or the smaller shops on Manhattan streets which I love. While they do have vanilla and mocha, you aren’t going to find the smorgasbord of flavors you get at Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. Instead, you get coffee in the purist sense of the form, with flat whites, cappuccinos, lattes, and cafe au laits, to name a few variations of coffee an espresso mixed with milk. They let the coffee do the talking and lord does it talk! I am not sure where they get their beans from, but it is strong, sweet, and flavorful. You don’t need anything in it and THAT is how you know it is delicious coffee.

They do offer a variety of milk substitutes which I appreciate, as well as teas and other non coffee beverages. They also offer an assortment of pastries, and you can even grab sandwiches. I have to give a shout out to the baristas who were all equally friendly and very helpful. Every time I went, there were lines, and yet with each customer they interacted with, they treated them like they were THE customer, making small chat, being friendly, and even complimenting people. It made the experience all the more enjoyable.

On my first visit (because once sold I HAD to go back pretty much every day) I got a flat white which was delicious. As I mentioned above their coffee is bold, but sweet and I didn’t have to add anything to it.On my subsequent visits, I got an iced latte and an iced chai, which were also yummy. I don’t think you can go wrong here and it is a very welcome addition to the Upper East Side and Midtown. Is it touristy? Most definitely. But it is well worth the hype and one of my new favorite places to go. I am already counting the days until I go back!

Have you been to Ralph’s Coffee Shop? What is the bougiest coffee shop you’ve ever been too? 

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