Coffee in Albany (and Troy) [Updated 2022]

Last updated: March 6 2022

I’ve written about coffee for a while, but there has been a substantial change in the coffee options in the past few years, so it’s worth looking at as a whole. Especially since some of what I’ve written in the past is not true anymore.


Preface

This guide is explicitly referring to specialty coffee. It’s meant to be drank with out any additives (no milk, sugar, syrups) to highlight the origin characteristics of each bean. Think about fancy wine’s emphasis on growing location, grape, process; that, but coffee. That said, all of these shops will have great signature drinks (such as Mexican mochas, lavendar lattes, etc.) that feature their great coffee. From the Specialty Coffee Association:

What is Specialty Coffee?

Specialty coffee can consistently exist through the dedication of the people who have made it their life’s work to continually make quality their highest priority. This is not the work of only one person in the lifecycle of a coffee bean; specialty can only occur when all of those involved in the coffee value chain work in harmony and maintain a keen focus on standards and excellence from start to finish. This is no easy accomplishment, and yet because of these dedicated professionals, there are numerous specialty coffees available right now, across the globe, and likely right around the corner from you.


Cafes

Here are the places I’d recommend grabbing a coffee.

Superior Merchandise Co., 4th St, Troy

Superior Merchandise bill themselves as a “design shop + coffee bar”. They recently added a bottle bar where you can buy rare Nordic beers to take home, and they also have two beers on tap, a bunch of bottles, cider, and a great wine selection. In addition to this, they have the strongest coffee program of any shop in the area. Everything from their cheapest batch brew to their signature drinks is well considered and well executed. Their coffee is now roasted in house as Touchy Coffee. They have also hosted coffee classes about brewing at home with different coffee apparatuses such as the Kalita Wave or Aeropress. They even bring in extremely rare, pricey coffee from somewhere in Scandinavia once a month for the aptly titled Scandinavian Saturdays.

Stacks Espresso Bar, Lark St and Broadway in Albany

The focus at Stacks is coffee. They are a multi-roaster shop which is still quite rare in this area. That means they have many different coffees from many different companies. They have a small selection in their bakery case of goods from local bakers. Their espresso is among the best in the area, and they usually have more than one option ready to go for espresso. It’s typically their house blend espresso as well as single origin or espresso blend from a featured roaster. I’d recommend avoiding the house coffee (you can get guest-roaster batch brew at the Broadway location), and opt for an Americano with either the house espresso or guest espresso, or a pour over if the shop isn’t too busy. As mentioned, they do pour overs on the Wave or Aeropress, iced pour overs, cold brew, macchiatos, etc., and even pumpkin spice lattes if that’s what you’re into.

little pecks, Broadway, Troy

little pecks is a cafe attached to the Lucas Confectionery wine bar in Troy. They have coffee from Portland, Maine’s Tandem Coffee Roasters that you can get as a batch brew, pour over, or espresso. You can also buy bags of whole bean coffee from them. Pretty much everything here is good, and the space in the garden is a great place to spend time with friends or a book.

Alias Coffee, 2nd St, Troy

Coming soon.

Jacob Alejandro, River St, Troy

Coming soon.

Beans

All of the places above have you covered.


Making your own coffee at home

If you are looking to make your own fussy coffee at home I’ve got you covered.


Sorry, but…

As my focus for this listing is specialty coffee, I can not in good faith recommend Uncommon Grounds, Emack and Bolio’s, Bonobo, Stagecoach Coffee, Iron Gate, Mug Shots, Spill’n the Beans, or Daily Grind solely for their coffee.

Stop making Iced Coffee the wrong way

Oh, it’s time for another coffee post. And guess what, it’s summer. Officially. Which means it’s time to perfect your iced coffee game and impress all your friends with your worldly knowledge of such delicacies.

To be honest, this method is about as easy as it gets and it will yield an extremely bright cup of iced coffee. Basically all you do is make coffee the same way as you normally do, with half the normal amount of hot water going through the grinds, and the other half already in the vessel in the form of ice cubes.

do you have a mug that says “handcrafted in albany ny” on it? you probably should.

Since I’m an enormous condescending hipster snob I make all my coffee one cup at a time, via pour over (hario v60) with local coffee which was roasted between a week to two weeks ago. You can go to the Daily Grind and buy the plastic pour overs with the filters for less than $10 and get some coffee on your way out the door and you will have all you need to make coffee that isn’t disgusting garbage.

I used 7 ice cubes, 8oz of boiling water, 1oz of Mocha Joes coffee for mine. Put ice in cup, brew coffee onto ice, drink, repeat. Easy.

Thought this was going to be about cold brew? That’s already not cool anymore.