The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer


An Ode to Birch Coffee

The artisanal coffee shop that makes you feel right at home — for a fraction of the price
Birch Coffee’s Hell’s Kitchen location is a six-minute walk from Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus.

Birch Coffee is a New York City specialty coffee company with 13 locations in New York and one in South Korea. Fordham Lincoln Center (FLC) is lucky to live just two blocks away from its Hell’s Kitchen location, which is nestled on 57th Street and 9th Avenue. 

My caffeine addiction is not seasonal, but there’s something about the changing of the leaves and switching out my beach bag and towel for my tote and laptop that makes the need for a coffee before class even more essential. 

Despite the plethora of cafes within a five-minute walk of FLC, my search for the best coffee shop near campus proved to be a challenge. There are four factors that contribute to my ideal off-campus coffee experience: proximity, atmosphere, coffee taste and, arguably the most important factor for college students, price.

There’s enough seating for a comfortable study session, but not enough to feel busy.

Finding a perfect cafe is more complex than it may seem. While Argo Tea and Starbucks have the highest scores for proximity, they fall flat in the atmosphere, taste and price categories and aren’t able to consistently provide the cozy ambiance you need to start the day off right. Birch Coffee proves to be the perfect place that checks all the boxes and makes you feel right at home every time you walk through the door.

The six-minute stroll from the FLC campus to Birch Coffee’s Hell’s Kitchen location is perfect because it gives you enough time to listen to music while enjoying a short walk, allowing you to rest your mind and move your body before sitting for a lecture. 

You will know you’re in the right place when you see the coffee shop’s sidewalk sign, donned with a message that changes with the seasons, but usually one containing a coffee pun or promoting a specialty beverage.

After opening the door, you’re hit first by a wave of warmth. Smells of sweet espresso and flaky croissants coupled with sounds of muffled chatter and a playlist that fills you with a sort of nostalgia you can’t quite pin make you feel right at home.

There’s enough seating for a comfortable study session, but not enough to feel busy. The walls are adorned with potted plants, given amusing names such as “Amy Vinehouse,” and a take-a-book, leave-a book-shelf that further cements the community Birch Coffee creates so well. 

Before your brain can begin to ingest anything listed on their menu, a barista greets you with a smile and “Hey, how are you doing?” As someone who worked as a barista for five years, I know all too well how hard it can be to constantly put on a happy face for everyone who walks in the door — especially when you have dealt with a crabby customer right before. 

Unlike large coffee companies such as Starbucks and Dunkin’, Birch Coffee employees treat everyone like an old friend — it’s a treatment that makes you feel like you belong there, that you matter. At Birch, you’re more than just a customer. You’re a human being.

Despite the plethora of cafes within a five-minute walk of FLC, my search for the best coffee shop near campus proved to be a challenge.

As you scan the menu, you will recognize all the cafe classics: cappuccinos, lattes, americanos, hot and iced coffees, cold brews, matchas, and a selection of teas. My go-to order is an iced latte with caramel. They have a selection of dairy alternatives including a new oat milk cold foam that adds an extra dimension of texture to their already delicious coffee. Sometimes, during the most frigid winter days, I’ll go for a vanilla cappuccino. 

Another element that is always good at Birch is the decadent flavors of their variety of coffees. The best part about their flavored lattes is that the added flavor is enough to sweeten the coffee without taking away from the actual coffee’s taste. I hate taking a sip of coffee expecting harmonious flavors but instead being met with a clunk of syrup stuck at the bottom of the cup, not mixed in with the espresso. Or worse, when you grab your coffee from Dunkin’ and the color isn’t right, you just know it won’t taste good. 

I have never had these problems at Birch. Their flavors are added to the coffee while it’s still hot before being poured over ice, sweetening the espresso just the right amount. It’s like the Goldilocks of lattes: not too sweet, not too bitter, but just right.

When you place your order, make sure to tell the barista that you are a student. Students receive a 10% discount all year on any order with a valid student ID; a guaranteed discount every time you walk through the door.

Instead of waiting to garner Starbucks stars or Dunkin’ points enough to earn discounts, you get one every time you order at Birch. Birch also operates on a  punch card system if you choose to pick one up — after nine orders, the 10th cup is free. Who doesn’t love a free treat?

A message etched on every napkin and coffee sleeve encapsulates the welcoming aura of the whole Birch Coffee experience: “Birch Loves You.” From the care the staff treats guests with to the attention they give to every single coffee, everyone who visits the coffee shop will leave already wanting to return. Birch Coffee loves you, and I guarantee you will love them too.

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About the Contributors
SYDNEY CHAMPAGNE, Contributing Writer
AURELIEN CLAVAUD, Former Creative Director
Aurelien Clavaud (he/him), FCLC ’25, is the former creative director. He previously served as head photo editor and creative director and assistant sports & health editor. He majors in international political economy and loves photography, basketball and writing. He is from Houston, Texas, but has taken a liking to NYC and its frigid weather.

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