A Cup of Comfort: Cafe Hopping Around New York City

To join in on cafe culture, I went to popular cafe spots around New York City. Here are my opinions.


Kristen Li

The first cafe I visited was Butterdose on 13th Street in Manhattan.

High school students love to hang out and eat with their friends after school, but sometimes having a whole meal can be a bit too much. Instead, going to smaller shops to enjoy a treat often seems more appropriate. Thus, cafe culture was born. Although cafe culture is typically known for coffee consumption, it has evolved into a new meaning for teenagers. Cafe hopping has become an ideal hangout where students can chat with friends, study, or just increase their productivity. Joining in on cafe culture, I went cafe hopping around the city to see which popular spots are worth hanging out at. 


236 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

The first cafe I visited was Butterdose on 13th Street in Manhattan. From what I’ve picked up online, Butterdose is known for their cream puffs; even their logo is a cream puff. They had many options for cream puffs ranging from matcha to black sesame. They also had options for savory biscuits that multiple customers ordered in my time of being in the store. There weren’t many seating options – only three small tables and three stools near the window. But, fortunately for me, I went at a time where there was no line and there were still tables left. Despite the limited amount of seating, the store itself didn’t feel too crowded and had just the right amount of coziness. The theme of the store revolved around the color yellow and it was reflected on the tables and counter. The decor was minimalistic while still showing the staff’s quirks.

I ordered a large vanilla latte, a tiramisu cream puff, and a strawberry sakura cream puff, which was an exclusive flavor for spring. I waited about ten minutes for the cream puffs since they were being freshly made and got my coffee quickly. The coffee had a high quality taste that was rich and to my liking. It wasn’t overly sweet, and I enjoyed the hint of vanilla. The cream puffs were light and airy with a delicate flavor. The tiramisu cream puff had a very subtle coffee flavor but, because I was already drinking coffee, I felt that the flavor wasn’t coming through as much. Still, the cream inside was very delicious and paired well with the outside. The strawberry sakura cream puff was refreshing, as it had fresh strawberries inside that made the flavor stand out. Although the cream puff was a bit pricey ($3.75) for a small treat, it was worth it. I would recommend Butterdose for those who want tasty pastries, a chill environment, or a place for aesthetics. 

  • Price: $13.23 (with 10% student discount)
    • Large iced vanilla latte (9/10)
    • Tiramisu Cream puff (8/10)
    • Strawberry sakura cream puff (10/10)
  • Limited seating: three tables and three seats near window
  • Aesthetics: (10/10 )very on theme with the yellow cozy feel
  • Ambiance: (10/10) had soft music playing that added to the overall vibe 
  • Price: (8/10 )
  • Would I recommend: Yes but only if you’re a group of two or three.
  • Special note: No laptops allowed on weekends

Bear Donut

40 W 31st St, New York, NY 10001

After going to Butterdose, I decided to go around the K-town area and visit Bear Donut. The store was a bit hidden since there was scaffolding in front, but as I reached the cafe, there were signs that pointed me in the right direction. When I entered, there were no other customers, but the worker’s kind greeting made me feel welcome. The seating was limited with two small tables inside and two tables outside. The tables were pretty small and not the most comfortable for staying long. The cafe itself had a minimalistic blue theme in addition to a bear theme. They had a section that sold bear donut merchandise as well.

I ordered a donut and soft serve combo since I saw it on the sign and it was all over social media. I had the option of choosing which donut and what kind of soft serve (milk, strawberry rose, or a swirl). I got a sugar mochi donut with a swirl soft serve. Since Easter had just passed, they added a bunny peep to my order, making the presentation even cuter. The actual donut and soft serve combination was honestly not my favorite. To me, the soft serve tasted more like frozen yogurt, which I’m not the biggest fan of. Although it was a swirl of milk and strawberry rose soft serve, I don’t think any of those flavors came through and instead it just had that frozen yogurt taste. Still, the serving size was pretty big and definitely shareable. I didn’t love it enough to finish, but the donut was pretty good. It tasted like a classic sugar donut, but in mochi donut form. However, for the place being called ‘Bear Donut,’ I expected the donut to be more specialized or unique. For $10.34, I think the combo is on the pricier side and not the most worthwhile on the menu. Granted, maybe I just ordered the wrong thing and should have focused more on the donuts. I wouldn’t recommend the specific order I got, but I would recommend others to come here for the aesthetics and beautiful donuts. 

  • Price: $10.34
    • Donut + soft serve: sugar mochi donut with swirl of milk and strawberry rose soft serve (6/10)
  • Limited seating: two tables inside + two tables outside 
  • Aesthetics: (10/10 )There was a minimalistic blue theme 
  • Ambiance: (7/10) Quiet and felt a bit awkward sitting there since it was pretty quiet in the store. 
  • Price: (7/10)
  • Would I recommend: Yes; but not a must go

Ariston Flowers and Cafe 

78 5th Ave. New York, NY 10011. Greenwich Village. 

With a lot of work to do, I decided to visit a cafe for a change of scenery. That’s when I came across Ariston Flowers and Cafe. When I walked in, I was greeted by the floral shop portion of the store. The flower arrangements were beautiful, and the floral theme extended to the cafe. The cafe was a little past the floral shop, and I went at a time that was quite busy, as almost every seat was filled downstairs. There were two people ahead of me in line, but it did not take long for the cashier to get to me. I ordered a blueberry muffin and an iced vanilla latte. Then, I noticed that there was a 10% student discount so I proceeded to show my ID. The cashier was very friendly and even complimented Bronx Science (++ brownie points) and said good for me for going to a good school. I gladly paid $10.78 and my food came quickly. 

I headed upstairs and found a seat in the corner. The seating upstairs was definitely less loud, but it was still filled with people working and chatting, which made a great busy environment for getting work done. The coffee was just what I wanted and tasted good, but was a bit small for $6.25 (extra dollar for vanilla) and wasn’t really anything special. The muffin was still warm by the time I got to it and had a delicious sugar coating on top. It was also really large for $4.75.The ambience was great and I honestly really enjoyed staying there and working. There was free wifi and, because other people were working besides me, I was motivated to do more work. I easily spent an hour or so working and would recommend this cafe for comfy seating, good food, and just overall great vibes. 

  • Price: $10.78 (with 10% student discount)
    • Blueberry muffin (10/10)
    • An iced vanilla latte (8/10)
  • Plenty of seating: There’s a variety of seating options with couches and comfy seats with upstairs seating options as well/ 
  • Aesthetics: (10/10) It’s a flower shop + cafe and the flower/plant theme is an obvious theme throughout 
  • Ambiance: (9/10) Busy but comfortable and there’s soft music playing in the background; great setting to do work in 
  • Price: (8/10 )
  • Would I recommend: Yes; especially for doing work

Sweet Moment

106 Mott St Frnt P, New York, NY 10013

For another change of scenery, I ventured out to Canal Street to Sweet Moment. Located in New York City’s Chinatown, it was definitely a different vibe compared to the rest of the area. Walking in, I noticed that the cafe had a rustic feel with warm-toned lighting that wasn’t too hard on the eyes. There were plenty of seating options, and I went at a time that wasn’t too busy and had no lines. I ordered a matcha green tea that had cute latte art on top, while my friend ordered a strawberry bingsoo (milk shaved ice). We paid separately, but both orders came out quickly. 

The matcha milk tea was cold and extremely cute with the animal design on the top matcha portion. The taste was very subtle, and the flavors of milk tea and matcha blended together nicely. The cup and plate also added to its adorable presentation. Even though the portion was a bit small for the price ($5.45), the design made the drink more enjoyable. I stole a spoonful of strawberry bingsoo from my friend and it was also delicious. It was refreshing and topped with ice cream and cheesecake bites. 

I also came here to do some work, and there was plenty of seating, but it wasn’t the most comfortable for staying long and doing work. However, the ambience and aesthetics of the cafe make it a comfortable place to chat or hang out. There is only wifi from Monday to Thursday, so, thankfully, I went on one of those days. I’ve gone to Sweet Moment multiple times in the past and can confirm that it is a great place to go to with others or just by yourself! 

  • Price: $5.45 + $9.80 
    • Matcha Milk Tea (cold) (8/10)
    • Strawberry Bingsoo (9/10)
  • Good amount of seating: There are many tables and a long table in the center 
  • Aesthetics: (10/10) Has a rustic plant type of aesthetic 
  • Ambiance:( 9/10) Comfortable and has chill music playing in the background. Also has warm lighting which isn’t hard on the eyes. 
  • Price: (8/10)
  • Would I recommend: Yes; for hanging out or doing work

Although cafe culture is typically known for coffee consumption, it has evolved into a new meaning for teenagers. Cafe hopping has become an ideal hangout where students can chat with friends, study, or just increase their productivity.