Coffee is a pretty wonderful thing, not just for the caffeine but also for the community it creates. More than designated Instagram feeds and How-to #latteart videos, the ritual involved in making and consuming coffee brings such joy. Sure, coffee can be consumed at rapid pace. But should it always? 

My mom and grandmother were (and still are) the big coffee drinkers in my family. I watched in wonder as they drank it with breakfast and often times dessert. It always looked and smelled so good, but I never tried it until Finals Week one semester while studying with a few buddies. (Now, let me be clear: it wasn't coffee. It was chocolate, whipped cream, and caramel. But nevertheless, it was my introduction.)

This fascination continued after one of my good friends returned from a class trip to Costa Rica. She raved about her coffee experiences and would share snippets each time our friend group ventured out to a new shop. In these moments, I started to realize what an emotional connection this drink has, especially when paired with friends and family and stories.

Below is a list of places in New York where I like to go, both alone and with others. Each has a unique feature but all further the community aspect mentioned above. Take your journal or a book. Heck, just take your music. But make it a point to meet with people and uncover a world that can't be captured by the instant stuff. 

Third Rail: This place it tucked along Sullivan St right below Washington Sq Park. The people are friendly, and the coffee is delicious. Only recently did they start taking card, thanks to Square. Regardless, it's a great spot to sit and rest. 

Happy Bones: I'd argue that this place is the "Instagram place" of downtown. My first visit took place one early morning before work when I met a fellow content creator, Kevin. They don't have many tables—three to be exact—so plan the trip accordingly. (As you'll see, I'm not always lucky to snag a table.)

Chalait: This is another great spot downtown with great light and wonderful round tables. It's also a bigger spot than Happy Bones, mainly because they have barstools for alternate seating. Their matcha cortado is bright and tasty. Their cold brew is quite strong, so be ready. (Side note: I met three lovely ladies the last time I visited, just saying.) 

Ralph's: I've consistently worn Polo throughout my life, but still go even if you can't say the same. It's a perfect retreat from the shopping madness along 5th Ave. The spot has nice tables in two different sitting spaces. One of which overlooks the street, providing a great overhead view. 

Bluestone Lane: This place has a few locations in the city, but I recommend the one on Greenwich St first. The staff is very hospitable, sharing stories about their company and concept. They also have more food options—grab a group for brunch. There's also another location close to The Met, which would be a great one-two punch of an afternoon.