We all wake up the same: tired, bad breath, comfortable under the covers. It’s what we do next that sets the tone for the day — and, as days turn to weeks, begins to shape who we are.
We spoke with some of New York’s most productive, influential individuals in order to find how their day, beginning the same as ours, deftly turns into a day well spent. Whether it’s black coffee, iced matcha green tea or peanut butter on toast, this is the fuel of the influential.
Ed. Note: Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Aritzia Music Director, DJ, Writer
Order: French press with Splenda and almond milk. Yogurt and granola and grapes. Sugar cookies.
My natural state is caffeinated. I’ve been drinking coffee since I was about three years old, when my mom would give me a watered down turkish coffee to enjoy with my sugar cookies every weekend. These days I start my mornings with a coffee at home using my French press. I keep on playing around with flavored coffees (Banana Creme Pie from Sensuous Bean, Pumpkin Spice from Urban Market), but I really just like a plain old French roast. I take it with Splenda and almond milk. If I have extra time I’ll have some yogurt with granola and grapes along with it, though I’d prefer sugar cookies!
Editor of the odd-event guide/email list Nonsense NYC
Order: Two cups French press, second-wave beans.
I stay up late, so I’m usually up around 8 a.m. I make a pot of really dark coffee in my French press every morning and drink two cups with breakfast and another later in the afternoon. If I don’t have a cup of coffee within the first hour I get some pretty intense headaches. It’s pretty clear that I’m physically addicted to the stuff. I’m from the second wave of coffee snobs. I buy organic, shade-grown Colombian French Roast beans from D’Amico Coffee, which has been in my neighborhood on Court Street since 1948. I hate third-wave beans — sour coffee; blech — unless they’re put through an espresso machine.
Associate Editor of Bloomberg Pursuits
Order: Bodum French press, croissant from the local French patisserie or Kind Bar with WNYC’s On the Media (in podcast form).
I love coffee, and making good coffee and relaxing is my big treat on weekend mornings. I grind up some beans (either the Freya Dark Roast from Oslo Coffee or the house Swedish Roast from Konditori), put them in my Bodum French press, and let everything steep. I then take the next hour to browse Instagram/Pinterest while listening to WNYC’s On the Media (in podcast form) and enjoy the coffee. If I’m feeling indulgent there’s a croissant from the local French patisserie involved too, otherwise maybe a Kind Bar or something light for breakfast. Same routine every Saturday morning, no exceptions unless I’m on the road for work. It’s my chance to refresh and get my head in the right place for the weekend.
Founder and Head Tailor at Brooklyn Tailors
Order: Big pot of Bodum French press.
I start most of my work days from the home office – getting caught up on emails, and reviewing the agenda for the day with Brenna. Because we don’t have a hard deadline for when we need to get into our studio, it can be really easy to linger a little too long in bed, and it’s definitely the thought of that morning coffee that motivates me to get up and going. We brew a big French press. I enjoy a good espresso drink or cold brew as much as the next Brooklynite, but in the morning I need a strong brewed coffee, and lots of it.
Former AP Journalist and Founder of Brooklyn Brewery
Order: Two double espressos. Baguette spread with crunchy peanut butter and Maine blueberry jam.
The first thing I do in the morning is turn on the espresso machine and then feed the cat. I have a Rancilio espresso maker from Italy. I start my day with two double espressos. We buy Starbucks Italian roast but my very favorite coffee is roasted by my friend Matthew Reich in his kitchen. Without those espressos, my day does not begin properly. I struggle. There is a hole in my day.
Also, I nuke my coffee cup for 30 seconds because it’s cold in the kitchen in the morning. Only the first cup.
CEO of BentoBox
Order: Skim cappuccino. Avocado toast (sometimes).
I love the first moment when you get a capp and the foam art is fresh and beautiful. I think that top layer tastes the best, like the caviar of the coffee. I always take a quick sip off the top before covering it with the plastic lid and begin my walk to work.
Order: Mr. Coffee automatic drip with skim milk and agave nectar in a mug of my own design.
I’ve found that the coffee problem is not something you need to throw a lot of money at to solve. Simpler is better. I’ve settled on the Mr. Coffee Simple Brew 4-Cup model. Twenty bucks. Delay Brew feature. Easy to clean. I program it to have coffee ready for me when I wake up. The more things I can automate in my life, the better.
Dean of Columbia Journalism School, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist
Order: Half or three quarters of a pot of strong dark roast.
I make half or three quarters of a pot of strong dark roast Peets or Starbucks coffee first thing out of bed. I drink it black. Always have and it reminds me of the joyous blend of black coffee and cigarettes which sadly I have given up. Ideally I drink two large hot mugs slowly while reading the papers. With a two-year-old at home I often have to play cars, football or castle instead, but I insist on coffee breaks in the negotiations. Occasionally I have half a toasted, buttered bagel or a small yogurt, but most mornings I don’t eat anything.
Jeff Raider and Andy Katz-Mayfield
Founders of Harry’s, a men’s grooming company
Order: Winter — lighter-roast coffee with whole milk, hot. Summer — iced coffee or iced matcha green tea.
I always pick up my coffee on the walk to work. Usually, I rotate three or four spots depending on how I feel or what I’d like to order. During the summer, I go for iced coffee or iced matcha green tea (Ground Support has the best matcha). I have hot coffee in the winter (Gasoline Alley has the best regular coffee). Pi Bakerie has great food options…. All of these places are on my walk, so I use that time to clear my head and prep for the day. – Jeff Raider
My morning coffee order is always a lighter-roast coffee with whole milk (hot in colder months, iced in warmer months). I walk to work from the Village to Soho everyday. There are so many great places along the way and I’ve made a point of taking different routes to try different spots. My current favorites are Stumptown and Third Rail. Ground Support and Gasoline Alley also make the list. When I have time, the Chobani store in Soho can also be “on the way.” – Andy Katz-Mayfield