Where To Find the Best Coffee in NYC

Where To Find the Best Coffee in NYC

New York is home to a vibrant coffee culture that includes independent shops, small scale roasters, and knowledgeable baristas, all bent on delivering the finest cup of joe from bean to brew. If you’re looking to up your coffee game, the answer might already be in your neighborhood—or a short subway ride away. 


Whether you live in the city or are just visiting, take some time to explore the independent businesses that keep New York caffeinated.  You never know when you’ll find your next perfect cup. 



What is Third Wave Coffee?


Much of New York’s current coffee culture is considered “Third Wave,” which broadly encompasses the artisanship of roasting and brewing. Third Wave coffee shops are businesses opened in the past two decades that put emphasis on sourcing, processing, and preparing coffee in different ways. 


Most third wave coffee shop owners and baristas have a true passion for all aspects of preparing a quality cup.  You might call them connoisseurs. The subtle flavor, strength, and even texture of the drink depends on the region in which its beans were grown, how they were dried and roasted, and the method used to brew the ground coffee. 


It might seem abstract, but the more different coffees you try, the more sensitive you’ll become to their unique flavor profiles. 


Talking to the barista during your first visit to a new shop is a great way to learn about what you’ll be drinking. An expert recommendation will help you find the exact bean, roast, and process for your taste buds. 


The following businesses offer an impressive variety, exceptional dedication to quality coffee, and awesome atmospheres (because vibes are just as important as the latte art)!


Uro Cafe

uro cafe storefront in NYC
Image credit: Veronica R. on Yelp

Located steps from McCarren Park and the G Train, Greenpoint’s Uro Cafe is a neighborhood fixture where simplicity meets specialty. 


Blink and you might just miss it—the shop serves nuanced flavors in a small, no-frills setting, making it the perfect spot to pop into on your way to the farmer’s market or to do some vintage shopping in the area. 


Expect friendly service, strong espresso, and a lack of long lines, as Uro is a bit of a local secret hidden out in the open. It’s the kind of place you come upon—and keep coming back to. 


Stop by and try the iced americano, hot mocha, or chai latte with oat milk for chillier North Brooklyn mornings. 


Brooklyn Roasting Company       

brooklyn roasting company interior. Large wooden hutch and wood countertop with patrons sitting drinking a cup of coffee or working on the computer
Image Credit: Shun Y. on Yelp

High on any list of New York’s top roasteries, Brooklyn Roasting Company has been around since 2009, bringing out the flavors of the borough while supporting community institutions. 


While the company’s original location at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge is no longer operating, new locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan are set to open within the next few months.

In the meantime, visit the Brooklyn Roasting Company shop at 200 Flushing Ave., located just across the street from the Brooklyn Navy Yard.


A focus on fair trade coffee and rotating releases make this location a go-to. Grab a travel mug with the company’s signature block-letter logo on your way out and enjoy that latte on the go. 


Maglia Rosa NYC – Industry City Cafe

A corner of a building painted in pink and white stripes sits a coffee shop names Maglia Rosa
Image Credit: Randall M. on Yelp

As a high-end custom bike shop that fuses Italian and American cycling culture, Maglia Rosa’s expansion to a café location in Industry City seems only natural. 


Serving Industry City visitors, shoppers, and employees, the café embodies its founder’s Milanese roots, serving a house blend titled “Milano.” Chocolatey and decadent, the coffee matches the seasonal small plate menu in personality and vigor. 


Most meals are made with ingredients from local farmers markets, and even the tea selection is made up of customized blends. 


The shop also offers a small grocery collection featuring imported dry goods, pasta ingredients, and more. 


Maglia Rosa’s decor makes it clear that cycling and espresso go hand in hand, especially in a Milanese-inspired café in the heart of Sunset Park. Choose a fresh pastry delivered daily from Ceci Cela (a Manhattan patisserie), and relax at the outdoor tables or in one of Industry City’s spacious public courtyards. 


As an added bonus, the café will soon introduce an after-hours wine bar. 


Bond St. Coffee and Goods

Brick exterior of Bond Street Coffee and Goods. Patrons sit on a bench in front of a wrought iron fence placed in front of the entrance
Image Credit: FredRock A. on Yelp

Bordering the Gowanus Canal, Bond Street Coffee and Goods serves locally roasted D’amico Coffee, along with an extensive breakfast, salad, and sandwich menu. 


The D’amico coffee legacy goes back over half a century in Brooklyn history. Stopping at Bond St. gets you seventy years’ worth of expert roasting in a single cup of black coffee. 

Perched on the edge of Carroll Gardens, Bond Street is the kind of shop you seek out to spice up your morning buzz—it doesn’t get overly crowded like Brooklyn’s better-known coffee destinations. 


Ample outdoor seating, fresh-cooked plates, and roasted beans that honor the neighborhood’s Italian heritage put Bond Street Coffee & Goods on the map as one of the area’s best casual stops for brunch or a get-together. 




Exterior on Konditori coffee shop with a small cup of coffee being held in the foreground of the photo. A sign in front of the shop reads "Be AMAZING today. But first...COFFEE."
Image Credit: Taylor C. on Yelp

With three locations open in Brooklyn and one in Manhattan, Konditori has become a household name in third wave coffee—thanks in part to its unique roots and telltale Swedish flag logo. 


The vision of a Swedish-American duo, the shop’s handcrafted, homey aesthetic goes well with a large coffee selection focused on Central American beans. That means nutty, chocolatey flavor to complement fresh pastries. There are plenty of gluten-free options to choose from, as well. 


Breakfast sandwiches and bagels add a savory twist to the assortment of baked goods behind the counter. Stop by any of the locations in Prospect Heights, Park Slope, Cobble Hill, or the Financial District for a hot matcha and a Scandinavian take on what makes a coffee spot truly local. 




Exterior of Gumption Coffee with highlighted orange steel bars as people walk by the storefront
Image Credit: Gumption Coffee on Yelp

Another Industry City favorite with a newly opened location in Midtown, Gumption Coffee brings Aussie panache, a strong reputation, and freshly roasted beans to the five boroughs. 


Both the roastery and Brooklyn café are located on Industry City’s 39th Street. The Gumption team is involved in every step of a bean’s journey to the roastery, from the hands of a coffee farmer to its arrival in New York. 


For those who prefer to brew their coffee at home, Gumption offers a monthly subscription, making sure you’re the first to try the latest blend. 

The selection of bagged beans is global, with various South American and African options. Try the Costa Rica Yellow Honey (peach, pineapple, honey), the Ethiopia Yirgacheffe (Apricot, Honeysuckle, Black Tea), or something in between. 


If you’re in the city, the Midtown location offers the perfect coffee break from the general rush of the area. Gumption interiors match the coffee—color, geometry, and minimal accents set the scene for a burst of flavor. 




Cuisine by Claudette

Exterior of Cuisine by Claudette. A planter of lavender sits in the foreground of the photo as well as the front of the shop.
Image Credit: Tania G. on Yelp

Tucked into a storefront right off the Rockaway Beach boardwalk, Cuisine by Claudette is as charming as it sounds. 


The family-owned café and eatery, opened in 2012 just before Hurricane Sandy, persevered to become the fixture it is today. Take a look at the business’ Core Values for insight on what goes into running a community-driven gathering spot, other than fresh ingredients. 


Serving homemade pastries, vegan entrees, nutritious bowls, and a whole pita menu, chef Claudette takes an innovative, healthy approach to cooking with a hint of Mediterranean inspiration. 


From espresso to drip, the coffee pairs well with the all-day breakfast—try the Monkey Bowl alongside an Almond Latte! 


If you’ve hit your caffeine limit for the day, Claudette’s juice and smoothie bar deserves a special mention.  The Halva smoothie is like brunch and dessert in a cup. 


Take advantage of the café’s outdoor seating area, or enjoy a five-minute walk and picnic on the sand. 



Astoria Coffee

Exterior of Astoria Coffee. A sign outside reads "Let us BRIGHTEN your day"
Image Credit: Jesseca T. on Yelp

Well-known and lauded in this pocket of Northern Queens, Astoria Coffee stays true to its beginnings as a bean delivery service. 


Making sure their neighborhood had easy access to a variety of beans was the owners’ priority. Since then, the business has evolved into a mainstay on 30th Street, serving a rotating collection of beans sourced from roasters throughout the United States—so be sure to ask your barista what’s on the menu. 


Run by residents and frequented by locals and visitors alike, Astoria Coffee supports independent roasters, varying up your palette with every new featured blend. Fast service, history in the neighborhood, and a passion for discovering hidden talent in the coffee world make this Astoria destination a staple.



Baruir’s Coffee

Exterior of Baruir's Coffee Shop. A family in heavy coats gathers outside the storefront.
Image Credit: Theresa X. on Yelp

For a house blend built on almost six decades of coffee roasting experience, look no further than Baruir’s, a coffee and grocery shop on Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside where you can grab beans by the pound along with your cup-to-go. 


Baruir’s roasts on site, just as they have been since 1966. The vintage roaster in the front window is where your beans begin their journey to your morning coffee—they quite literally couldn’t be any fresher. 


Along with a daily Latin American blend, other specialities include Turkish and cold brew, complete with ice cubes made of frozen coffee so that your drink doesn’t become watered-down. 


Balkan and Turkish groceries including condiments, dried fruit, and nuts round out the selection. 


If you’re looking for artisanship that’s been thriving long before the specialty coffee craze took over New York’s hippest neighborhoods, you can’t go wrong with Baruir’s.



Prince Coffee House 

Exterior storefront of Prince Coffee House, NYC
Image Credit: Denise R. on Yelp

Located just off Arthur Avenue in the Bronx’s Little Italy, Prince Coffee House brings specialty coffee to a corner of the borough steeped in tradition. 


With origins in Kosovo, Prince caters to the neighborhood’s diverse immigrant population, which includes large Balkan and Latino populations, as well as a rich history of Italian influence. 


A cozy corner space, the coffee house is worth the journey. If you’re only in the area to visit attractions like the Bronx Zoo or Bronx Botanical Gardens, take some time to explore the neighborhood as well. 


Plenty of seating, spanning two rooms and an outdoor section of sidewalk, will convince you to stay a while. Hot espresso drinks, pastries, and table service make this a great casual meeting spot, or a place to have some much needed “you” time. 


Don’t leave without seeing the café’s high-flying cup collection (just look straight up)!



Cafe Amrita

Exterior table sit out in front of the entrance to Cafe Amrita. A green awning provides some shelter and shade relief to the entrance of the coffee shop.
Image Credit: Roberts R. on Yelp

Counting nearly twenty years on West 110th Street, Café Amrita lights up the block with breakfast, brunch, and entrees in an inviting atmosphere. 


If you’re craving nothing more than a smooth cup of coffee, Cafe Amrita won’t disappoint. Start your day outside at one of the wooden tables or head to Central Park, only a block away. Come back for an evening cocktail—the café is open daily until 11:00pm. 


While many drinking and dining spots around Central Park can be overcrowded and overwhelming on any given day, Cafe Amrita manages to slip under the radar and preserve its intimate vibe. 


If you’re planning to spend a day in Central Park, make your way Uptown to unwind at Amrita. 


For soccer fans, call ahead to find out when the café is showing televised international games. 



Pasticceria Rocco

The exterior storefront of Pasticceria Rocco sits in the lower left corner of this photo. A crowded sidewalk of people are walking by
Image Credit: Wicky R. on Yelp

Pasticceria Rocco (or Rocco’s, as it’s known), is an example of the quintessential New York business. This classic Italian eatery and coffee shop has been around since 1974, standing its ground as Bleecker Street changed through the decades. 


Today, you’ll find pistachio cannolis, giant cookies, an all-day breakfast and sandwich menu, and more. 


If you’re spending a day in Lower Manhattan, walk over to the West Village and expect a warm welcome at Rocco’s. The Pasticceria holds a special spot in the hearts of countless locals, from longtime residents to first-timers. 


Nostalgic and approachable, it’ll feel familiar as soon as you step in. If you’re in a hurry, grab a cappuccino to go with your biscotti cookie, and take a moment to savor the timelessness of it all. 




Porto Rico Importing Co. 

Upward shot of Porto Rico Importing Co Coffe Shop
Image Credit: James A. on Yelp

If you’re familiar with New York City or know anyone who has called the city home, you might have heard of Porto Rico


Established over a century ago, the shop is hands-down one of the best-known “by the pound” coffee shops in the city. Both the East and West Village locations are bound to have a devoted regular sipping a piping hot drip coffee on the bench outside. 


If you’re just looking for a cup to go, expect options—the baristas will point you in the right direction. 


The menu is rotating, and you can also order a fresh pour-over made from any of the varieties that are for sale by the pound. 


Flavored beans, multiple blends in every roast, organically grown products, and a global approach to sourcing only the best make Porto Rico your one-stop shop for coffee to brew at home—and an expertly prepared cup to start your morning off right. 


Check out the café’s gift sets for the caffeine lover in your life, or grab a souvenir for yourself. Even a bag of freshly ground French Vanilla roast makes a great present. 


Always painted just the right shade of red, each Porto Rico storefront is a precious slice of New York history. You can find additional Porto Rico outposts at the Essex Market and on Grand St. in Williamsburg. 


Just visiting? The company ships everywhere, so you won’t have to wait too long for your next dose of fresh roasted Porto Rico goodness, no matter where you’re located.


B Cup Cafe

Exterior of coffee shop B Cup Cafe. Above the store front entrance there is a graffiti style art with the words "east village cafe"
Image Credit: Ruwan J. on Yelp

Wander all the way down 13th Street to the corner of Avenue B, and you’ll come across B Cup Cafe


You can’t miss it—the painted storefront beckons to a quaint and just-as-colorful interior. Look out for a mural of the café’s adorable “B in a cup” logo. 


Hot espresso drinks served in mugs, cold brew, and unique tea blends complete the drink menu, while the food menu serves up sandwiches, hot soup, salad, and pastries. Sink into a comfy couch inside, or relax in the outdoor seating area. 


B Cup was founded on a love for the neighborhood, and the feeling is mutual. Local art adorns the wall, and mornings are full of regulars from down the block or the other side of the East Village.


Try the Israeli breakfast paired with tahini cookies for dessert and foamy latte on the side.


Bloom Cafe

Storefront of Bloom Cafe painted black with flowers and greenery hanging over the windows of the strorefront.
Image Credit: Mallak T. on Yelp

While Staten Island’s various businesses sometimes get the short end of the stick when it comes to New York-based features, the borough has plenty to offer whether you’re coming from New Jersey, Brooklyn, or beyond. 


Separated from the rest of the city by the New York Harbor, the island thrives on its own terms. Bloom Café, located on Rosebank’s Bay Street, rivals any of Manhattan’s specialty coffee shops. What’s more, it’s within walking distance of the Staten Island waterfront. 


The café serves Think Coffee, a local roaster known for its dedication to improvement projects within the farming communities that source its beans. 


A full coffee selection, including bonuses like the Superfood Latte and Chaga-ccino, accompanies a line-up of health-conscious breakfasts, including many vegan options. 


Finish up brunch, take your drink to go, and head over to Alice Austen Park for views of Downtown Manhattan and the Verrazano Bridge. 


The sheer amount of NYC coffee aficionados bringing their passion to the public means that every shop has something to add to the table, whether it be creative brewing methods, experimental blends, or a one-of-a-kind business model that goes beyond counter service. 


Loved and frequented by generation after generation, they’re the true purveyors of third wave coffee culture. Don’t hesitate to visit the experts while also stopping by independent cafés in every borough, whether they opened less than a month ago, or two decades ago. 


If you’re new to the city or just visiting, seeking out different cafés can be a way to discover entire neighborhoods that aren’t in the tourist handbook. There is a lot more to NYC than amazing restaurants, sightseeing and shopping. If you live in the city, show your support by becoming a regular at your favorite spots, but also make an effort to visit new ones—even if they’re a train ride (or three) away. A quick stop on your day trip from the city before you leave would be a perfect way to support these businesses. Plus, you get to have a delicious cup of coffee on the way!


Best Restaurants in San Diego

Two women enjoy Taco Tuesday at one of San Diego CA's Mexican restaurants, smiling at a table full of food and drinks.

Southern California, and in particular San Diego, is full of some amazing restaurants, and likely is one of the coolest places to travel to. Next time you’re in the San Diego area, satisfy your inner foodie with these incredible restaurants offering everything from classic cuisines to daring new delicacies.



The Grass Skirt (Best Vibes / Atmosphere)

Top Dish: Grass Skirt Poke Bowl, Thai Crispy Rice Salad
Top Drink: Boozin’ Susan’s World Famous Chi Chi

The Grass Skirt has some of the best vibes in all of San Diego, serving up Southeast Asian cuisine and tiki-style cocktails.

Just walking into this place takes the edge off. While you may struggle to find the entrance, the folks at Good Time Poke next door will gladly help you out.


El Paisa (Best Mexican Food)

Image result for el paisa san diego

Top Dish: Street tacos
Top Drink: Horchata

El Paisa serves some fairly authentic Mexican dishes, including street-style tacos with lengua and cabeza. Si no comprende, look it up!

They also have fuller tacos, burritos, tostadas, tortas, and much more. Furthermore, they honor Taco Tuesday featuring discounted tacos, which scores massive points.

El Paisa is highly recommended if you want casual Mexican food in San Diego, and there are even more great restaurants within walking distance—just in case you don’t get your fill.


Crack Shack (Best Chicken)

Logo for The Crack Shack restaurant in San Diego with illustration of a chicken breaking out of an eggshell.

Top Dish: Fried chicken meals (various sizes); deviled eggs
Top Drink: Figueroa Mountain Lager, Jack Rosen Crack Shack Whiskey Sour

As soon as the dishes at Crack Shack hit your table, you won’t care if the chicken or egg came first—this SoCal fare is too good to resist diving right in. What’s more, family-sized flock meals and gluten-free options ensure everyone in your group gets to chow down.

Craft beers and a laid-back atmosphere—complete with lawn games—make Crack Shack one of the top restaurants in San Diego for group dining.

Fried chicken lovers can snack on nuggets, bone-in jidori fried platters, or sandwiches, while those looking to fuel up with something healthier will love the bowl options.


Pizza Port (Best Pizza Joint)

Black and white logo for Pizza Port Brewing Company featuring draft beer illustration, restaurant locations, and tagline "Tasty Grub & Grog."

Top Dish: Beer Buddies, Pizza San Francisco
Top Drink: Pizza Port Solana Beach Riggity Wrecked IPA

When cravings for classics hit, nothing beats pizza—but Pizza Port offers plenty for those in a more daring mood, from their signature wholegrain beer crust to unique and traditional topping combos. While pizza port may be for the more adventurous pizza lovers, those willing to travel to New York may find a more traditional style pie.

Bar food rounds out the menu with choices like mac & cheese bites or baked chicken wings. Additionally, you can order their popular beer crust all on its own, brushed with a generous coating of garlic or cajun spices.


Slater’s 50/50 (Best Burger)

Black and white logo for Slaters 50 50 in San Diego with tagline Bacon, Burgers, Beer.

Top Dish: Sriracha Burger, Best Damn Bacon Cheeseburger
Top Drink: Rotating Beer Selection

While plenty of restaurants in San Diego sling great burgers, you won’t find any better than Slater’s 50/50.  Every burger comes with fries and Slater’s very own Bacon Ketchup, and those steering clear of meat can now sub out traditional patties for an Impossible Burger.

The Best Damn Bacon Cheeseburger earns its title and then some in Slater’s upgraded classic. Alternatively, you can go rogue with the Peanut Butter and Jellousy, a savory-sweet combo of bacon, natural PB, and strawberry jelly.

Slater’s drink menu is just as creative, serving up everything from housemade lemonade or draft root beer to fully-loaded milkshakes.  On draft, you’ll find over 1,000 beers in rotation throughout any given year. That selection rivals some of the best out there like Portland!




Healthy Smoothie Recipes

Man holding two mason jar glasses filled with strawberry smoothies with sliced strawberries against the glass.

There’s nothing more refreshing after a workout—or a crazy morning commute—than a healthy smoothie. Easy to make, easy to carry, and easy to gulp down on the go, these delicious smoothie recipes can even be prepared ahead of time by cutting and freezing the produce. Best of all, these recipes are all vegetarian!

For all the recipes below, simply place your smoothie ingredients into a high-powered blender, and let it run for 30 seconds to a minute until smooth.



How to Customize Your Smoothies

Whenever you find a recipe you love, consider tinkering with its ingredients a bit so it can deliver exactly the nutrients and boosts you’re after.

Some great smoothie additions include:

  • Matcha. High in EGCG, which is believed to promote brain health, heart health, and weight loss, matcha also has a calming effect on the mind and body.
  • Chia Seeds. These are high in protein, antioxidants, omega-3, fiber, magnesium, and potassium. With the right blender, you can’t even tell they’re in your smoothie.
  • Oats. High in fiber, iron, antioxidants, low in fat, and great for lowering cholesterol, oats are a simple addition that bulk up smoothie recipes without too many calories.
  • Hemp Hearts. These are high in protein, as well as omega-3 and 6.
  • Ginger. This aids with nausea and upset stomach, and contains many anti-inflammatory properties. You can use it fresh, or in powder form, for a zesty kick to any smoothie.
  • Spirulina Powder. Packed with vitamin A, spirulina is also a great natural source of chlorophyll.
  • Almonds. With antioxidants and vitamin E, almonds provide a protein and flavor boost that pairs beautifully with most fruits. Additionally, they can lower harmful cholesterol.
  • Turmeric. Not only does turmeric boast anti-inflammatory properties, but it also increases the body’s ability to absorb antioxidants—which means it can boost all the other “boosts” you add to your favorite smoothie recipes! Turmeric can be used fresh, or in powder form for convenience.
  • Flax Meal. This smoothie additive is chock full of fiber, omega-3, and lignans (a type of antioxidant).


Healthy Smoothie Recipes


Strawberry and Banana Delight

Strawberry smoothie with berries on a windowsill.

Perhaps the most classic fruit combo out there, strawberry and banana give that perfect blend of sweetness, without being overwhelming.

While you can certainly use fresh fruit (just add some ice), frozen fruit really shines in this recipe: consider slicing and freezing your bananas and strawberries in a baggie, shortly after purchasing the produce.

Then, when a hectic morning strikes, all you have to do is dump the bag into your blender, toss in some chia seed and a little almond milk, and hit Puree.

  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 banana


Ginger Orange and Carrot Palooza

Orange smoothie with ginger and carrots on a blue table.

Zesty and sweet, this smoothie will wake you up and energize in no time. The banana acts as a base, more than anything: you’ll mostly taste orange and ginger.

Even the carrot isn’t that noticeable, which makes this recipe perfect for veggie-haters looking to diversify their diet.

  • 1/3 cup grated carrot
  • 1 cup fresh orange slices
  • One banana (frozen or not)
  • 1 tablespoon hemp hearts
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger
  • handful of ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup almond milk


Pineapple Mango Paradise

A yellow smoothie on a light blue tabletop, garnished with a pineapple slice and greenery.

Escape to waterfront views and sunny shores…at least, for a few minutes. This simple smoothie delivers tropical flavor with a punch of protein.

  • 1 cup frozen pineapple slices
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • Whole banana
  • 1 cup frozen mango slices
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk


Avocado Cucumber Kale Super Smoothie

A kale smoothie with fresh kale on a cutting board, with two pink paper straws inserted.

This green smoothie is ideal for go-getters. Despite the high vegetable content, you’ll mostly just taste banana, and a smooth undertone of avocado.

If lack of sweetness is a concern, consider adding a little low-fat vanilla yogurt.

  • 1 tablespoon hemp hearts
  • 1/2 cup kale
  • about a quarter to half of a medium-sized avocado, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup peeled cucumber
  • Banana
  • Handful of ice cubes


Blueberry Lemon Desire

Hand holding a purple smoothie with a lemon wedge and fresh mint in front of a white wall.

Those blueberry lemon squares you loved as a kid are back—and this time, they’re actually good for you! Some classic oats bulk up this recipe with iron and fiber, but don’t dare take the spotlight off the real stars.

A generous serving of blueberries and just a little lemon keep this smoothie on the sweeter side, but feel free to juice things up: adjust the lemon additions to your personal preference.

  • 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • Banana
  • 1 tablespoon sliced almonds


Delicious Cherry Beet Surprise

Hand holding a bottle filled with bright beet-red liquid up to the sunlight.

Beets are a tough ingredient to work with: not many people like their earthy flavor. It’s a shame, since beets are loaded with folate and vitamin C, as well as betalains. These give beets their red color, but also protect your cells against oxidative damage.

Thankfully, the cherries in this recipe mask that earthiness of the beets, ensuring you get all the good stuff without having to hold your nose as you drink.

  • 1/2 cup cooked beets
  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • Banana


Banana Pineapple Strawberry Haven

Pink smoothie in a mason jar in front of pineapple, bananas, strawberries, raspberries, and oranges against a pale pink wall.

Greek yogurt and banana make up the base of this classic-turned-powerhouse. With flax and spinach in the mix, you can enjoy the simply sweet flavors and know your post-workout treat is actually good for you.

  • 1 Tablespoon Chia or Flax Seeds
  • 1/2 cup Pineapple
  • 2 cups fresh Orange Juice
  • Banana
  • 1 cup Spinach (for an extra health boost)
  • 1 cup Strawberries
  • 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
  • Handful of ice (optional)


Sweet Almond Cherry

Icy bright red smoothies in mason jar glasses against deep blue background.

This simple smoothie is low in calories, but high in protein—a go-to blend for anyone hitting the gym.

  • Scoop of protein powder, vanilla or unflavored
  • 1 cup Soy or Almond Milk
  • 1 1/2 cups Cherries frozen
  • Banana
  • Handful of ice


Tasty Greens Medley

Bubbly green smoothie in a blender pitcher with spinach leaves nearby on a marble countertop.

Don’t let the sweetness in this one fool you: with a pretty generous serving of spinach, the tropical taste is actually a clever vehicle for vegetables.

  • 1 1/2 cups Orange Juice
  • 2 cups Baby Spinach
  • Banana
  • 1 cup Pineapple
  • 1/2 cup Grapes
  • Handful of ice


Chocolate and Spinach Blueberry Twist

Chocolate blueberry smoothies in mason jars on linen tablecloth.

The really beautiful thing about spinach? Once it’s blended into a smoothie, you can’t even taste it. In fact, you might even get away with doubling the greens in this one, and no one would be the wiser.

For a bit of decadence, blend in a small handful of semisweet chocolate chips.

  • 1 cup Spinach
  • Scoop of protein powder (dark chocolate or regular)
  • Banana
  • 1/2 cup Blueberries
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh Almond Butter
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk
  • Handful of ice


Green Youth Super Smoothie

Two green smoothies seen from above on a white marble counter.

This is one recipe you might be happy to share with your kids. While it’s absolutely loaded with green veggies, the apple juice, lemon, and banana make it far more palatable than picky eaters might expect.

  • 1/2 Cucumber
  • 2 handfuls of Baby Spinach
  • 2 cups pure and unprocessed apple juice
  • Approximately 2 cups of kale or power greens mix
  • Banana
  • 1/2 lemon, squeezed
  • Handful of ice


Mango and Peach Tropical Delight

Two tropical orange smoothies on white tabletop.

This smoothie is heavy on the fruit, but doesn’t cross that line into “too sweet.” Instead, it’s got a great blend of smooth, mellow flavors you can’t help but devour.

Additionally, turmeric and ginger deliver just the slightest kick, to keep things interesting.

  • 1 cup cubed mango
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • Banana
  • 1 cup peaches


Get Blending

The best smoothie recipes balance health and taste. After all, it’s no fun chugging a bitter concoction, no matter how good it is for you.

With some creativity and testing, however, any veggie, fruit, and additive can become a star ingredient in your next blend…whether or not you can actually taste it.

In short, the smoothie has got to be one of the most overlooked snacks or meal replacements. Their versatility allows them to become almost whatever you’re looking for. Whether that be a breakfast smoothie, something to keep you going while you’re camping or hiking, or even when you’re out on the road to pick up your favorite healthy takeout option.


Healthy Breakfast Smoothie Recipes

POV from an unseen woman looking down at a breakfast smoothie, purple and filled with blueberries with a red straw.

Simple and healthy smoothie recipes can be a godsend, especially if you’re prone to skipping breakfast following a few too many missed alarms. Keep in mind, skipping breakfast can put extra stress on you and your body and you may find it difficult with stress management as is. There is a reason the saying goes, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, you know.

And the great thing is, you don’t have to wait in line and spend $7 every time you want one. Or even settle for some instant coffee. With these easy smoothie recipes, you can put together a convenient and healthy breakfast in under 5 minutes—for as little as $1.50 per serving. Just toss some of your favorite fruits, veggies, and maybe a little protein powder into a high-powered blender and you’re ready to go.




Breakfast Smoothie Recipes

The recipes below are meant to be healthy ways of making smoothies. A smoothie today, can mean many things, from a blend of ice and fake sugars, to a concoction of healthy superfoods. These smoothies are definitely on the healthier end of the spectrum, but are a nice tasting mix for people who want to eat healthier, but don’t want to sacrifice flavor either.

Keep in mind – you can substitute or adjust the amount of pretty much any ingredient in these recipes to taste or to avoid allergy. You’ll only need to consider how easily the smoothie blends. Add more or less liquid to the mix in order achieve your desired texture.

After the recipes, we’ll show you some healthy ingredient options and direct you where to get them. Hope you enjoy.

Peanut Butter Banana Protein Smoothie

A tan-colored smoothie in a clear jar being topped with banana slices, on a ceramic tray with more bananas.

This smoothie is packed with protein, probiotics, fiber, Omega-3, potassium, and natural fats to give you energy and enhanced nutrition to start your day. We particularly recommend this one after a morning workout.


  • 1 Banana
  • 2 Large Spoonfuls of Natural Peanut Butter
  • 1 Serving of Protein
  • 1-2 Spoonfuls of Whole-fat Yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon of Chia or Flax Seeds
  • 1 Cup of Soy, Almond, or Coconut Milk
  • Sugar-free rolled oats, about a spoonful (optional)
  • Handful of greens mix (optional)



  1. Put banana (or other fruit) into your personal blender cup
  2. Pour in nut milk, or other liquid base (adding this first will help to keep other ingredients from sticking to the sides of the container)
  3. Add in protein, yogurt, chia/flax seeds, peanut butter, rolled oats, and greens mix.
  4. Cap and blend. Serve plain or topped with additional banana slices.


Mixed Berry Protein Smoothie

A purple-hued berry fruit smoothie in a clear cup with a tall straw on a wooden counter.

If breakfast smoothie recipes usually leave you feeling hungry by mid-morning, chances are you’re not getting enough protein in your blend.

This berry smoothie has some yogurt and protein powder incorporated, which will help keep you feeling full all the way through lunch.



  • Soy, almond, or coconut milk, 1 cup or adjusted to preference
  • 1/2 cup of frozen mixed berries
  • Scoop of protein powder (adjust to taste)
  • Whole-fat yogurt, 1 to 2 spoonfuls
  • Tablespoon of chia or flax Seeds
  • Handful of greens mix (optional)
  • Spoonful of sugar-free rolled oats (optional)


  1. Add mixed fruit into your personal blender cup
  2. Pour in 1/2 of nut milk (this keeps other ingredients from sticking to the sides of the container)
  3. Add in protein, yogurt, chia/flax seeds, peanut butter, rolled oats, and greens mix.
  4. Cap and blend. Top with additional fresh berries, if desired.


Banana Blueberry Avocado Smoothie

Blueberry smoothies in small decorative glasses on wooden serving tray, with fresh berries scattered nearby.

Avocado for breakfast?  Believe it or not, this superfood is perfect for your morning blend. Not only is it rich in healthy fats, but it also adds a silky-smooth texture that lets the berries and bananas linger a little bit longer on your tongue.

It’s heavy on vanilla flavoring, but feel free to cut back by using regular almond milk or plain yogurt, instead.



  • ½ cup vanilla almond milk
  • banana, peeled and cut into pieces
  • cup of blueberries, more to taste
  • half an avocado
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder or 8 oz vanilla yogurt
  • optional: cinnamon, vanilla extract to taste


  1. Place all ingredients into blender.
  2. Blend well. Add flaxseed or oats if desired, and if blender is powerful enough to properly mix all ingredients.
  3. Pour into glass and top with additional blueberries, or a sprinkling of cinnamon if desired.


Classic Strawberry Smoothie

A classic strawberry smoothie in clear jar and blue paper straw on a wooden cutting board.

You just can’t improve on the classics. This strawberry smoothie is one of the simplest recipes out there, delivering a nutritious breakfast with minimal prep.

It’s also a great blank canvas, if you’re feeling adventurous. Experiment with new proteins, sneaky veggie additions, or whatever else you feel like throwing in.



  • 2 cups frozen or fresh sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 banana, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup ice; slightly more if using fresh berries
  • 1 cup almond milk or milk of choice
  • Optional: container of greek yogurt



  1. Place all ingredients into blender.
  2. Blend well. Ensure all ice has been thoroughly incorporated before serving.
  3. For an even stronger strawberry flavor, add a tablespoon of strawberry jam or strawberry syrup to the blending process.


Mocha Espresso Smoothie

A mocha espresso smoothie in a clear glass with background blurred.

For a morning kick that’s as good for you as it feels, try this protein-packed espresso smoothie.  While most breakfast smoothie recipes focus on that fresh-fruit taste—which is definitely delicious—this one’s all about indulgence.

Chocolate and coffee make it every bit as delectable as your usual Starbucks go-to, but Greek yogurt and banana replace all that unnecessary sugar.



  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 banana, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4 Tbsp cocoa powder, adjusted to taste
  • Vanilla to taste
  • 1-2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • Optional: chocolate protein powder, 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Milk, as needed



  1. Place all ingredients into blender.
  2. Blend well. If smoothie is too thick, add milk to achieve desired consistency.
  3. Ensure all coffee and chocolate elements are incorporated thoroughly before serving. Top with a dusting of cocoa or sugar-free whipped cream, if desired.


Tips to Create Your Own Smoothie Recipes

Ingredients for a smoothie recipe piled into a blender pitcher, including mango, banana, and kale.

There is a big wide variety in the quality and types of ingredients that can fit in a blender. Just because it can go in a smoothie, however, doesn’t necessarily mean it should.

If you want to make your own smoothie recipes for breakfast, post-workout snacks, or even to pack on-the-go for a bike or hiking trip, this mini-guide can help point you toward the healthiest ingredients to get started.


Best Liquid Smoothie Ingredients

Smoothie drinkers can go in a number of directions with the liquid they choose to use in their smoothie. Here are some of the top options for smoothie liquids:

  • Dairy Milk
  • Natural Juice (Orange, Apple, etc)
  • Soy Milk
  • Almond Milk
  • Coconut Milk
  • Cashew Milk

The list goes on, but these are the most common. You could likely find some of these ingredients in a convenience store on the way home.

You can really use any liquid you prefer, as long as you can stand the taste. It’s best to start with a little bit and slowly add more, tasting frequently as you go.

Whatever you choose, make sure it’s loaded with vitamins and nutrients whenever possible, and contains few to no added sugars.


Healthy Fruit Additions

Close-up of mixed berries including blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries.

There are several fruit options to choose from, and each have different tradeoffs between convenience, cost, and environmental impact.

What’s more, not every fruit blends well.  If your blender is on the weaker side, pineapple can produce a stringy, pulpy smoothie that’s fit for the trash can.

Cut fruit into manageable pieces, to ensure your blender can handle it.  A good rule of thumb is bite-sized pieces or smaller.

  • Standard “Fruit-Aisle” Fruit – Normal fruit that you purchase at the grocery store will normally have a shelf life of about a week. Of course, it depends on which type of fruit you’re buying and where from. For buyers who want to avoid pesticides, this may not be the best option, unless you investigate your sources beforehand.
  • Organic Fruit – Organic fruit is about as healthy as inorganic, but it contains no pesticides or preservatives and is typically grown sustainably. It will cost a little more, but should be available in a lot of the same places that sell normal fruit. Shelf life will be even shorter than standard fruits.
  • Frozen Fruit – Frozen fruit is probably the cheapest and most convenient option for smoothies, depending on where you buy. Since frozen fruits are processed and washed, most pesticides used in their production have been washed away. Additionally, frozen fruits are approximately as healthy as standard fruit—so there’s no need to feel guilty about choosing convenience, here.


Best Vegetables to Add to Smoothies

Several varieties of fresh vegetables scattered on a wooden table, including carrots and broccoli.

Most first-time smoothie drinkers steer clear of adding veggies to their blends, fearing strange textures or flavors.

While some vegetables will overpower a smoothie if you add too much, most go completely undetected with enough milk, fruit, or other additions to round things out. The result is a nutrient-rich superfood blend and guilt-free treat.

Try sneaking a few of these vegetables into your favorite smoothie recipe—you might not even taste a difference.

  • Cucumber.  Since it’s mostly water, this vegetable barely has any flavor on its own, let alone in a blender full of more powerful ingredients.
  • Beets. While you’ll definitely notice the bright red hue beets will add to virtually any smoothie recipe, you won’t notice their bitter flavor if you add citrus or berries.
  • Spinach. Very few smoothie ingredients can’t cover up the flavor of fresh or frozen spinach. Throw a couple handfuls into any recipe—other than a green tinge, nothing will change.
  • Kale. Similar to spinach, kale can slide into any smoothie recipe and feel right at home. It’s a bit stronger than spinach, of course, so try a little at a time and taste-test your blend frequently until you find the sweet spot.
  • Carrots.  Paired with apples, pears, or just about any tropical fruits, carrots are undetectable in both flavor and color after the blender gets to them.  On the other hand, if you love carrots, there’s no reason they can’t be the star of the show: pair with greek yogurt, almond milk, vanilla, oats, walnuts, cinnamon, and a banana to create a blend deliciously reminiscent of carrot cake.
  • Cauliflower.  This vegetable tastes like absolutely nothing in a smoothie, even when you add a lot. Its subtle nutty flavor when raw blends right into your other ingredients, and can even thicken up a drink after you’ve added too much liquid.


Top Peanut Butter Brands for Smoothies

Natural ground peanut butter in a ceramic dish with spoon.

Peanut butter can be a healthy source of protein, but only if you choose a peanut butter that minimizes or completely eliminates the following ingredients:

  • Sugar. Any sugar in peanut butter is added only for flavor, and is often unnecessary—especially if you’re putting it into a smoothie with fruit ingredients or sweetened milk/yogurt.
  • Oils. These can often contain trans fats or saturated fats, which are bad for your health in excess. They’re only added for texture, which might come in handy when spreading PB on a sandwich, but doesn’t really matter once it’s chucked in a blender. Try a natural brand and give it a good stir before scooping.


Chia and Flax Seeds

Chia and flax seeds are both a healthy source of Omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, which can help satiate you longer.

Not everyone enjoys their texture, however, so make sure your blender is powerful enough to pulverize these ingredients properly.


Best Protein Powder for Smoothie Recipes

A scoop of white protein powder on a larger pile of protein powder.

There are many protein options available, but most contain ridiculous amounts of sugar. Furthermore, many contain ingredients to enhance weight gain—not overall health.

An excellent brand of whey protein is Gold Standard, which keeps things simple with minimal additions and sugars.

If you aren’t sure you need much protein added to your diet, it’s okay to skip powders or supplements. Natural sources of protein, like milk or yogurt, can make your breakfast smoothie recipes just as satisfying, with a lot less nutritional guesswork.




Eating Healthy While Camping or Bike Touring


When planning a trip, you might see it as a reason to splurge or indulge.  After all, you’re on vacation! While takeout and your favorite chipotle hack can certainly be included in your meal plans, some trips—such as camping or bike touring—require healthy eating habits to maintain proper energy levels.

Not only that, but your options are usually far more limited. Fear not: this lack of options can actually enrich your experience. Roughing it under the stars goes well with roughing it at the picnic table.

For those embarking on long adventures, making your own meals and choosing your fuel wisely isn’t just wise: it’s a necessity, one that becomes more crucial, the further off the beaten path you venture.


Equipment You’ll Need for Healthy Eating on the Go


Camping Stove and Pot

Preparing hot meals on the road is as easy as investing in a small camping stove and pot. Additionally, in the long run, it’s much cheaper than paying for cooked food.

Try the Olicamp Micro Stove or the Esbit Alcohol Stove, along with a portable pot and utensils.

The gas canisters on which the Olicamp runs are lightweight, and easy to find in stores. One container will provide you with weeks of daily hot meals.

When it does run out, many gas stations and hardware/outdoor supply stores will carry similar canisters. That accessibility is critical for long hiking trips or tours, since populated areas can be few and far between.

Alcohol-powered stoves are another great option, and are generally more lightweight than gas stoves: the latter requires you to carry sizable fuel canisters, whereas an alcohol stove—though slower to cook—is far more portable.

If you’re not sure which to choose, consider your priorities. Do you need to keep your load light, or is time of the essence?


man stirring a meal inside a camping stove while sitting on the grass


Optional—but Helpful—Extras to Pack

Some luxuries to add to your cooking setup can include the collapsible X-Seal Plate and Mug Set by Sea to Summit, or this Morakniv Outdoor Knife.

Aluminum is widely accepted as the best material for on-the-go cookware, since it allows heat to travel uniformly throughout the vessel. This, in turn, leads to less burning and sticking.

If you’re mostly going to be traveling by car, your options are more far-reaching.

You could pack an entire grill, if you wanted to, even a cooler, mini-fridge, and a blender for smoothies.

However, if you’re taking a more self-contained approach (bikes or walking), look for collapsible, multi-functional cookware designed for durability.

Don’t forget to pack some water! Of course you could always stop by a gas station and grab your favorite snack and water. Or, you could always bring along your water filter or hydration pack.



Grocery Shopping Before Your Trip: The Staples

Carrying a few bulk staples will ensure you’re always covered for delicious and nutritious fuel, no matter what’s open or nearby.

Easy-to-use, nonperishable items include pasta, rice meals, nut butters, crackers, dry fruit oil, oatmeal, beans, and spices.

Canned fish can be an emergency protein source, along with any form of jerky.

If you’re going to be on the move, either on foot or by bike, have those essentials on hand when you depart, and stock up on perishable items along the way.

It’s always a plus to have canned vegetables available, too, in case you make a pasta or rice meal. Or, if you can, purchase fresh vegetables at produce stands, grocery stores, or farmer’s markets during your trip.

Topped with olive oil or pesto, this can make for a quick but delicious tent-side dinner.

For breakfast, oatmeal is a classic go-to because of its versatility.

Fresh or dried fruit, peanut butter, or even savory additions can liven up any bowl, and provide steadily-releasing fuel for the longest of excursions.


Campfire Snacking

The simple thrill of sparking your own flame is even better when you pair it with the classic snack-on-a-stick, whatever the ingredients entail.

Though delicious, the standard marshmallows aren’t exactly healthy. For more filling options, try hot dogs, sausage, peppers, or corn on the cob.


fresh corn, cucumbers, and peppers on a wood table


Keep Ingredients in Mind

Many portable snacks and staples out there claim to be healthy…but are they?

Granola bars are one excellent example of this: while they contain nutritious, whole ingredients like nuts and berries, many also boast a shocking amount of sugar, guaranteeing a mid-trail crash.

Some tips to help you choose the best products:

  • Go for whole wheat, rather than white. For rice, choose brown over white whenever possible. Whole grain goods are less processed, and therefore retain more nutrients than their refined counterparts. They also satisfy hunger better.


  • Keep sugar and sodium to a minimum. Granted, you’ll be exercising quite a bit while camping or bike touring but eating healthy isn’t just about caloric intake and output.  Sugar and sodium, in excess, can still increase blood pressure and wreak havoc on energy levels. Read labels carefully before purchasing, as many “healthy” foods contain more salt or sugar than you’d never expect. Tomato sauce and certain breads are one sneaky example.


  • Eat fresh as often as possible. This is extremely difficult when on the move, especially if you don’t have a cooler handy, but some careful route planning can ensure you encounter a fresh food source every day, or close to it.  That said, the right canned or dehydrated products can be healthful, too. Since eating healthy while camping or bike touring ultimately comes down to convenience, the adage “some is better than nothing” holds pretty true here.


A woman on a bike taking a break in the bike lane to drink water


Eating (and cooking) healthy meals while camping or traveling isn’t easy, by any stretch. Then again, neither is blazing a new trail, or riding a bike across an entire state!

Remember that the better you eat, the better you can hike or ride…and the more enjoyable your trip will be, as a result.

If you’ll be going on a longer and more rural adventure don’t forget a backpack! This is a vital tool that would allow you to carry a tent, water filter and anything else you may need.

Lastly, plan your first bike tour. You wouldn’t want to get going somewhere without some sort of direction. Failing to plan is planning to fail!

Comparison of the Best Personal Blenders


Whether you’re on a fitness kick or having an inexplicable craving for kale, personal blenders are a convenient way to get your fix.

Frankly, not everyone needs a full-size, high powered blender. Maybe you’re not that serious about blending to shell out much cash.  Perhaps you just don’t have the counter space to devote to such bulky equipment.

If you fit into either of these camps, then a personal blender will work wonders for you.


Nutri-Ninja Fit Personal Blender

Nutri-Ninja personal blended pictured with accessories

The Nutri-Ninja Fit is perfectly balanced in every way: neither overly strong nor weak in any category, but rather, just right.

When you consider the compact size and elegant design of the Nutri-Ninja Fit, you’ll be forgiven for getting caught off guard by its sheer power and whip.

What’s more, the Nutri-Ninja Fit comes equipped with a 700-watt motor that’s practically whisper-quiet, compared to most personal blenders.

The superb utility of the Nutri-Ninja Fit does not outdo its stunning visual aesthetics, however. In other words, yes: it looks as good as it blends.

Small enough to be easily stored away after use, this portable and sleek beauty is ideal for on-the-go consumption: its 16-oz cups are marked with measurements.

On the cons side, it has limited volume, which isn’t great if you want to blend just a little more. It also lacks common buttons and automatic programming options of similar models.

That said, it’s easily one of the best personal blenders you can buy, and undoubtedly the best to gaze at as it graces your kitchen counter.

Find it on Amazon here.


Magic Bullet Blender

Magic Bullet personal blender filled with various fruits pictured with accessories

If you’re looking for a basic and quintessential blender, choose the Magic Bullet Blender. It’ll get the job done, plain and simple.

Fast and designed simply, the Magic Bullet suits on-the-go lifestyles well.

Despite its 250-watt motor, it is strong and durable enough to blend frozen fruit. This is assuming, of course, that you add the correct amounts of liquid, as is the case with most personal blenders.

However, it’s not great at more challenging ingredients, due to low wattage. If you like to mix things up with nuts or seeds, seek out a more powerful model. Ditto on ice, which produces varied results, according to user reviews.

Thanks to its sleek and cylindrical shape, cleaning up is a snap. When you consider its price, size, and ease of use, you probably won’t find a better bargain on the market. As an added bonus, the small footprint of this blender allows you to store alongside a water filter in a backpack for hiking or use it in a tent without taking too much valuable space.

Find it on Amazon here.


NutriBullet NBR-1201

NutriBullet personal blender pictured with additional accessories

It goes without saying that the NutriBullet is akin to the Magic Bullet, but larger—and more visually appealing.

In most cases, bigger is better…but in this race of convenience, that might be a drawback. Simply put, the NutriBullet lacks the versatility that its smaller cousin provides.

However, convenience alone isn’t all you have to consider when comparing personal blenders.

The Nutribullet excels in blending and style and might prove more durable than similar models. This makes it ideal for travelers who bring their blenders on the road (or the office commute).

With that in mind, however, its actual travel attachments are less than sturdy, though the blender itself can weather a great deal.

In terms of storage convenience, a larger-than-average base and bulky design will make this challenging for small kitchens.

Find it on Amazon here.


Oster BLSTPB-WBL My Blend

Blue, black, and white Oster personal blender filled with berries and ice

The Oster design will definitely appeal to fitness fanatics.

Though perfect for people who only have to blend together their pre-workout or recovery protein shake, the Oster has very narrow containers, which makes it challenging to clean if your smoothies or shakes contain solid ingredients.

Furthermore, due to the tint of the containers, they continue to look stained…even after a thorough (and difficult) scrubbing.

It’s also got the grating drawback of being incredibly noisy, and its design is less than pleasing, in terms of aesthetics.

All in all, this affordable blender will get the job done, though its longevity is up for debate.

Find it on Amazon here.


Nutri-Ninja Pro Personal Blender

Black and Silver Ninja Professional personal blender

Similar to the NutriBullet, the Nutri-Ninja Pro is massive—to the point where the word “personal” is no longer a suitable adjective. The cups are a whopping 24 ounces.

On the plus side, it pulverizes just about anything you throw into it, so that extra counter space might be worth sacrificing.

While it can’t boast the portability, convenience, and low volume of other personal blenders, it does have power on its side. Furthermore, it’s still smaller and quieter than most standard-size models.

Overall, this is a great option for people seeking a blender straddling the line between personal and full-size.

Find it on Amazon here.

Pink, berry smoothie in a glass with black straw sitting in front of a window with a banana, raspberries and blueberries


When shopping for personal blenders, consider size, convenience, customer reviews, functionality, and performance.

While smaller or quieter models certainly hold appeal, they might lack the power you need for your favorite ingredients. Likewise, more powerful personal blenders often come at the cost of space…and silence.

After you’ve found the best blender for your needs, be sure to experiment with different fruits and veggies to make a great smoothie recipe.



Healthy Snacks from Gas Stations, Convenience Stores, and 7-Eleven

Convenience store counter and shelves stocked with healthy and unhealthy snacks, drinks, and other goods.

Gas station shops, liquor stores, and 7-Elevens are not known for healthy snacks, but convenience. These shops are a great way for quick and easy nourishment, but just how nourished is your body after a pitstop at one of these places? The answer—not very.

People are busier and broker than ever, so taking extra time and spending more money on health can feel counterproductive, but it is possible to eat healthy without breaking the bank.

In fact, the shops you’re already visiting on your morning commute just might improve your health, if you know what to look for.  Here are some healthy snacks you can find at most gas stations, 7-Eleven, and other convenience stores.



Orange slices against a bright blue background falling and scattering on a blue tabletop.

You may not have noticed — distracted by the brightly colored packaging that seems to define these places — but a large number of these shops sell bananas, apples, oranges, and other fruits. This is about as healthy a food as you can find anywhere, let alone a convenience store.



  • Natural sugars provide energy.
  • Most fruits are low in fats, sodium, and total calories
  • Great source of Vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, folate, and other nutrients.



  • Low caloric content means you’ll be less full, and get hungry again sooner.
  • Some fruits can cause indigestion or gas.



A clear glass dish of yogurt, blueberries, granola, and banana slices with a spoon nearby on a white counter.

Not all yogurt is exactly healthy due to high sugar contents, but most will provide at least some benefits over other snacks.

Yogurts are also pretty common at gas stations and 7-Elevens. Just make sure to check the expiration date.



  • Probiotics found in yogurt can aid digestion, promote gut health, and strengthen the immune system.
  • Yogurts contain many vitamins and nutrients, including B-vitamins, riboflavin, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.
  • Many yogurts, particularly Greek yogurt, are very high in protein.



  • Yogurt contains dairy, so it’s not ideal for lactose-intolerant individuals.
  • Many yogurts contain a significant amount of added sugar.


Carrot / Celery Packs

Carrots washed and laid neatly on a dark countertop.

Probably the most accessible and enjoyable of the veggies, carrots or celery packs are commonly sold in the refrigerated section of many a convenience store.



  • Carrots and celery are low-calorie foods.
  • They contain fiber, natural sugars, and a small amount of protein.



  • Some of these snacks come with ranch, which isn’t exactly healthy.  However, veggies are still one of the best convenience store options you can get, and the ranch is usually a small amount.
  • Low-calorie snacks like vegetables are less filling than other snacks.



A white ceramic bowl of mixed nuts including almonds and walnuts on a wooden table.

Peanuts, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds—you name the nut, and chances are high those snacks are healthy. As long as they aren’t coated in sugar or chocolate, nuts of any kind are a great trade-off in terms of protein versus calories.

Even the less healthy options are far better than any snacks you’ll find in the chip aisle, so don’t stress if all that really catches your eye are honey-roasted varieties or trail mixes.



  • Most nuts are high in protein.
  • Nuts are high in quality fats, as well, which your body can use for sustained energy.



  • Packaged nuts tend to be high in sodium.
  • Some are less healthy due to the trans fats contained in partially hydrogenated oils.


Beef Jerky

A 7 Eleven convenience store in an urban area from the street.

Ahh, meat. To many people, it’s hard to fill up without a meat or other protein-heavy snack. Luckily, the majority of convenience stores sell some form of jerky.



  • Jerkies are made of meat, and thus, they are high in protein content.
  • Most contain few to no carbohydrates, depending on how the jerky was cured.



  • Jerkies are usually very high in sodium.
  • Almost any amount of jerky will be more expensive than the other snacks you’ll find on the shelves.


Canned Tuna

A serious brunette woman shops for snacks at a convenience store.

Canned tuna is one of the healthiest options you might find at one of these shops.  Its list is short in terms of benefits, but there are also very few drawbacks.



  • Often containing over 20g of protein per can, tuna is one of the easiest ways to feel fuller, longer.
  • Tuna is loaded with healthy fats that provide energy much longer than simple sugars or carbs.
  • Fish options like tuna contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for blood pressure and cardiac health.



  • Tuna contains mercury, which is a known neurological toxin. This is only understood to be dangerous at very high levels, so eating cans of tuna daily is not recommended. For a quick and healthy snack on the go, however, it’s perfectly fine.
  • Got a can opener?


Water, Tea, and Coconut Water

A dark-haired woman in a black sweatshirt holds a plastic water bottle while leaning on a bridge or pier.

Sometimes, hydrating with water or getting a caffeine boost from some sugar-free iced tea can help fight off feelings of hunger.

What’s more, some people have a hard time distinguishing between hunger and thirst cues.  You might not be hungry at all, but rather in need of a long, cool drink.



  • Most sugar-free or low-calorie beverages contain few or zero calories.
  • This can help promote weight loss by training you to skip unnecessary meals.



  • Drinks won’t fill you up when you are truly hungry.



Pretty brunette woman blowing a bubble with gum against burnt orange background.

Gum isn’t exactly a snack, but it can serve a similar purpose as healthy beverages. Sometimes your hunger-pains are more akin to boredom. In this case, stopping for a pack of gum might make all the difference and quell that “hunger.”

At the very least, you’ll distract yourself until a place with plenty of healthy snacks hits the horizon.



  • Some gums contain xylitol, and are thus recommended by many dentists because they are said to strengthen teeth.
  • Most gums have zero or few calories, depending on the amount of sugar each stick contains.



  • Sugary gums are bad for teeth and not healthy.
  • Gum isn’t filling when you are truly hungry.



Road trips, exhausting trips to or from work, errands—the temptation to grab quick junk food never seems to end. Convenience store have a plethora of options but, when you know what to look for, however, you can often find healthy snacks and even kombucha anywhere.  Some of these items can be added to your favorite smoothie recipes. And if you wanted an extra “boost”, you can add a bit of protein powder to kick your healthy lifestyle into a new gear.

If nothing else, you’ll discover options that aren’t nearly as bad for you as sugary, fat-filled choices. When it comes to eating right, those small substitutions can add up to a world of difference.


Best Restaurants in New York

A young woman with short hair enjoying dinner with a view of the New York City skyline.

There are over 25,000 restaurants in New York, serving up familiar favorites, authentic cultural food, and delicious basics on almost every block.

With so many options and so little time, how can you sort through the noise to find the gems? Here are the best restaurants in New York to satisfy your inner foodie.



Best Cheap Eats

Just Pho

Exterior of Just Pho in NYC.
Image Source: Just Pho via Yelp

It’s said that the best Pho is not found in the well-known East Village or Chinatown, but across the street from Penn Station.

Just Pho offers a fairly simple but excellent Pho that doesn’t use the sprouts or basil like more Americanized versions. It’s laboriously crafted, too, with hours dedicated to boiling beef or pork bones just the right way. Sample their outstanding crab-stuffed spring rolls while you’re there, too.


Papa’s Kitchen

Sign in Papa's Kitchen, reading "Traditional Filipino Cuisine."
Image Credit: Papa’s Kitchen via Yelp

Papa’s offers great Filipino fare at great prices. The restaurant recently moved from a smaller store to a larger one, on the 37th Avenue shopping strip.

For less than $10, score some “silogs”—a Filipino dish served on rice with a runny fried egg on top. Other inexpensive entrees include milkfish, sweet sausage, and crisp fried pork belly. They serve a great mix of meat and veggies too!


USHA Foods

Wall of food dispensers in USHA.
Image Credit: Ashmani M. via Yelp

USHA Foods is unique: they only serve vegetarian food.

Their sandwich bar is under $8, and includes the Alu Tikki burger, which is a griller potato stuffed with vegetables and tomato and wrapped in a bun.

They also have a “fast food” menu starting at $4. It’s filling and varied, from the Paneer Pakora plate to the Chola Bhature.



The exterior of the Pyza building in New York.
Image Credit: Kate S. via Yelp

No, Pyza isn’t pizza: it’s Polish for “dumpling.”

This small Polish restaurant offers counter service, and meals for around $10. Pyza offers some great stuffed cabbage, potato dumplings, stew, and pierogies, as well as Poland’s famed Borsch soup.

The prices are kept low by its cafeteria atmosphere, which is surprisingly peaceful and enjoyable compared to similar setups. Pyza also offers huge portions, so prepare to box it up and take it with you.


Best Pizza Parlors in New York

Di Fara

Exterior shot of the Di Fara pizza shop building in New York.
Image Credit: Vicki G. on Yelp

Dom DeMarco has been making almost every pizza here since Di Fara opened in 1964.

A round pizza from Di Fara has several kinds of cheese with olive oil, and a light, slightly salted crust. The square pizza has almost too much cheese (almost), and a crunchier but more buttery crust. Be warned: a second slice might result in a food coma.

The interior of this pizza place isn’t especially exciting, but who cares. It’s pizza!


L&B Spumoni Gardens

A dish from L&B Spumoni Gardens.
Image Credit: Wendy W. via Yelp

Spumoni Gardens make dense pizzas with a sweet tomato sauce (made from a top-secret recipe) and a thick, doughy crust.

They also put the sauce on top of the cheese. Don’t worry: not only is this more traditional, but many say it’s even better than what you’re used to.


Paulie Gee’s Slice Shop

Wood-fired pizza oven in Paul Gee's Slice Shop, New York.
Image Credit: Cameron D. via Yelp

Without a doubt, Paulie Gee’s is a mainstay of Brooklyn pizza. Perfectly complementing their thick tomato sauce is a mountain of toppings on every crispy slice. Paulie Gee’s would be a perfect stop on your way back in from your day trip from NYC.


Joe & Pat’s Pizzeria and Restaurant

A black and white menu from Joe and Pat's Pizzeria and Restaurant in New York City.
Image Credit: Sumana K. via Yelp

Do you like bright red tomato sauce and gooey cheese on your pizza? There’s no better place than Joe and Pat’s. They offer incredibly thin crust and one very interesting Tri Pie, which includes three different sauces in alfredo, pesto, and vodka. Many people outside of New York have Joe and Pat’s on their pizza bucket list.


Best Restaurants in New York for Pasta


Pasta dish from Celesta in New York.
Image Credit: Melanie G. via Yelp

Handmade pasta, anyone?

Celeste is full of old school charm: they’re cash only, with an old-world decor and made-from-scratch…well, everything.

The pasta is naturally delicious as a result, and comes with toppings like goat’s milk cheese. Bring friends: you’ll want to split dishes, just to try them all.


Union Square Cafe

A sandwich from Union Square in NYC.
Image Credit: Andreas P. via Yelp

Union Square changes their pasta seasonally, and rotates other dishes monthly, so no two visits are ever the same!

With pasta dishes starting at $25, Union Square Cafe isn’t exactly budget-friendly…but it’s totally worth the price, considering how flavorful their pasta and sauces are.


Times Square in New York at night, illuminated in neon.

The thousands of restaurants in New York provide locals and tourists alike with endless variety. Just like Portland or San Diego, it’s the ultimate melting pot: you can try authentic and delicious dishes from different cultures, stick to American classics, or score some comfort food favorites no matter where you go in the city.


Best Instant Ramen Brands


While nothing beats proper ramen from a shop, there is something strangely satisfying about the DIY route: those inexplicably cheap, dry noodles and their dehydrated broth packs. They taste like childhood, or—if you went to college—like survival. For what they are, it’s amazing how delicious they can be. But they can also be pretty easy to dress up and make it a little more like proper ramen from your favorite ramen shop.

At least, that’s true for some instant ramen. Some of it tastes like watery nothing…or worse.

You don’t have enough meals in your life to waste them on bad ramen. Check out the best instant ramen brands, pitted head-to-head in categories of flavor, noodles, and authenticity.



MAMA brand instant ramen noodles cup
We’re starting out on a high point with this beloved brand. From the variety of creative flavors MAMA offers, to the surprisingly fresh ingredients hiding in each dehydrated soup packet, it’s no wonder that this brand is so treasured in its home country of Thailand.

While ramen is a Japanese invention, the concept has become a worldwide phenomenon, especially in its instant form. MAMA has adopted the dish and breathed new life into it, by infusing traditional Thai flavors bursting with spice.

This instant ramen has personality, to say the least.

MAMA Ramen’s Best and Worst Flavors

The flavor that MAMA is perhaps best known for is the Shrimp Tom Yum flavor, and for good reason. It’s spicy, but underneath that lie the surprisingly delicate flavors of fresh spring onions and seafood.

The addition of fish sauce—a common secret ingredient in Thai dishes—makes the shrimp feel less artificial and strange, compared to the seafood ramens that other brands have on offer.

The worst flavor, however, is the Tom Yum Creamy Shrimp flavor. It’s almost the same idea as MAMA’s best offering, the Shrimp Tom Yum, but with the addition of coconut cream.

In theory, this should work; it’s reminiscent of Tom Ka Ga or Sai Nom Khom, the practice of adding coconut milk to Tom Yum. However, despite MAMA’s best efforts, the powdered coconut cream and tapioca powder do not do this concept justice. Instead, it waters down the otherwise bold flavors.


mama ramen noodles brand flavor, noodle, and authenticity score

Final Score: 92/100



This is the brand that’s perhaps the most recognizable to American audiences, possibly because it’s made here rather than imported from Japan. It’s sold everywhere from gas stations to Walmart.

But, no matter where it’s sold, it manages to be incredibly consistent in how mediocre it is. It’s very American, which effectively robs this convenience meal of its individuality.

Very little makes this brand stand out, apart from how easy it is to find. Most of the flavors have no nuance at all. It’s really just plain noodles in an inoffensive, forgettable broth.

There are, of course, some exceptions.


Maruchan Ramen’s Best and Worst Flavors

In a sea of blandness, the Chili Lime Shrimp flavor stands out as a beacon of redeemability. The addition of real habanero peppers gives the flavor packet some punch and personality.

With the addition of lime and seafood, the taste is very reminiscent of classic Vietnamese dishes, such as Tom Ka Ga.

Unfortunately, this ramen brand crashes back down to earth with its Creamy Chicken flavor.

The concept is meant to imitate fettuccine alfredo, but it’s the cursed Japanese-Italian fusion dish no one asked for. Something about the instant alfredo sauce swimming in a sea of ramen noodles and chicken broth creates an eating experience similar to chewing on wet Tuscan leftovers.

You leave the table feeling the need to apologize to every culture that was dragged into the creation of this hate-child.

maruchen instant ramen noodle brand flavor, noodle, and authenticity score

Final Score: 58/100


Top Ramen

Package of Top Ramen brand instant noodle brand
Another brand that’s ubiquitous in the States, Top Ramen is extremely similar to Maruchan, to the point you might wonder if they’re made by the same company.

They aren’t, but they’re clearly made for the same audience. They’re almost the same foods, even down to the flavors both brands offer.

However, in a side-by-side comparison, Top Ramen does taste different. It’s somehow blander, while still tasting more like its source material.

A quick look at the ingredients confirms why: while Top Ramen contains no added MSG, Maruchan lists it as its third ingredient, right behind sugar.

Once you strip away the flavor enhancers that Maruchan puts front and center, all that Top Ramen has going for it is nostalgia and its “less than 2% powdered chicken.”

As for the noodles, they somehow go from waxy and undercooked to absolute mush in seconds, depriving hungry consumers of the satisfying, chewy texture all the best ramen brands offer.


Top Ramen’s Best and Worst Flavors

Top Ramen’s Hot and Spicy Beef flavor excels over the brand’s other offerings, because it has the strongest flavor. Beef and chili are difficult flavors to overlook, so this is the only variety that is not instantly forgettable.

The Shrimp flavor, however, has all the charm of the unidentifiable liquid at the bottom of an empty buffet pan. It tastes vaguely of nothing, and vaguely of shrimp. Overall, it’s underwhelming and slightly unpleasant.

Top Ramen instant ramen brand flavor, noodles, and authenticity score

Final Score: 55/100


Sapporo Ichiban

A variety of Sapporo Brand instant ramen noodles

This brand comes straight from Gunma, Japan, but it’s sold all over the country in American grocery stores. Chances are you’ve seen it in the import section.

Overall, it’s not a bad representation of the traditional Japanese style. The items on offer, like miso and tonkatsu, imitate the style of classic ramen shops as faithfully as any instant ramen brands can.

The broth in a Sapporo Ichiban soup packet is thicker than the watered-down version accomplished by much of its competition. Its flavor tends to be mild and comforting, which is typical of Japanese ramen.

Overall, the subdued flavors in Sapporo Ichiban products seem to call out for ingredients that the manufacturers had no way to include in the package.

This brand of ramen is best eaten with a poached egg or fresh bean sprouts from your own fridge.


Sapporo Ichiban’s Best and Worst Flavors

With such a traditional style, it’s best to lean into this brand’s strengths.

Their original Miso flavor is, in a word, delightful. It’s mellow, but also satisfying and familiar.

If you’re looking for something more from this one, it also makes an incredible base for a dizzying array of vegetables and proteins, like eggs, spring onions, and snow peas.

Meanwhile, Sapporo Ichiban’s Shrimp flavor is easily its worst. Ramen brands just keep trying to make seafood flavors that don’t taste like the air in a fish market on a hot summer’s day, and they keep failing.

In this case, the shrimp flavor is too subtle to be impressive, yet it still stands out from the rest of the sauce packet like a sore thumb.

Sapporo Ichiban instant ramen brand flavor, noodles, and authenticity score

Final Score: 87/100



Package of Nongshim instant ramen noodles brand

This Korean brand is much larger and more diversified than the others on the list, and they actually have a few separate lines of ramen products targeted at different palates.

The two varieties Americans are most likely to be familiar with are the “Shin Noodle” products, and the “NeoGuri” line.

While the flavors in these noodle packets aren’t particularly inventive, they are the hot cousins to brands such as Maruchan and Top Ramen. They all follow the same formula of combining flavor enhancers with uninspiring protein flakes, only Nongshim does it better. Much better.


Nongshim’s Best and Worst Flavors

The Shin Ramyun Black flavor is by far the best reviewed product from Nongshim, and for good reason. It improves on the classic Shin Ramyun, a previously released product with flavors of beef, chili, and vegetables, thanks to an extra flavor packet.

The noodles are also thick and bouncy, like udon, and the dehydrated mushrooms and beef are actual slices, instead of powdered versions.

However, once again, the worst item on the list is a seafood ramen.

The questionably-named Savory Lobster Bowl sounds like something Gordon Ramsey would regurgitate behind a crab shack in Kansas—and the ingredients match. It somehow contains every sea creature besides a lobster, and yet it tastes like none of them.

Nongshim instant ramen noodles brand flavor, noodles, and authenticity score

Final Score: 78/100



A package of Indomie instant ramen noodles

This Indonesian brand has one huge advantage: flavor.

Some varieties of Indomie ramen come with five entire flavor packets, including sauces and garnishes, and it shows from the first bite. It tastes like the best street food you’ve ever made at home.

It has everything that South Asian food is known for, from the spice that punches you in the teeth to the sweet and pungent aftertaste. The noodles are also perfectly chewy and plump.

While Indomie doesn’t offer anything that resembles Japanese ramen, they do base their flavors on the dishes of their home country of Indonesia. Their Rendang flavor mimics the intense curried meat of the same name, which is one of Indonesia’s national dishes. They’ve also created instant versions of dishes from Singapore, Malaysia, and Nigeria.

In fact, the cult following Indomie has gotten in Nigeria is spectacular. It dominates the market there, and it’s infiltrated the culture to the point that it’s inspired music videos.


Indomie’s Best and Worst Flavors

Originally, Indomie infiltrated the ramen market with their Chicken flavor. It’s simple, but unlike the chicken flavor offered by brands like Maruchan, it actually tastes like chicken. This savory dream is ideal for meat lovers everywhere, yet it’s mild enough to suit any palate.

It’s hard to pick a “bad” flavor on Indomie’s line, but there is a weak link: the Vegetable Lime flavor.

Kudos to Indomie for trying to draw in vegetarian consumers, but this one really doesn’t taste like anything. There’s a citrus flavor, some unidentifiable orange slivers, and a distinct lack of joy.

indomie instant ramen noodle brand flavor, noodle, and authenticity score

Final Score: 98/100



A package of Myojo instant ramen noodles

Myojo Chukazanmai—and its American extension, Myojo USA—have a reputation for creating the most delicious ramen you can buy in a Walmart Supercenter.
The flavors from this Japanese company are exciting without straying too far from tradition, and the noodles are thick and substantial.

Overall, the praise for this brand is well-deserved. However, there’s a difference between the original Myojo brand and Myojo USA, and it’s a pretty obvious one; Myojo USA specializes in udon.

Now, the idea of vacuum-sealed, pre-cooked udon is a good one. How else would you recreate the distinct, succulent texture that udon is known for? Unfortunately, the good idea is ruined by the bitter flavor of the udon itself.

The perfectly cooked, chewy texture fools you into thinking you’re about to eat a delicious bowl of ramen, only to have bitterness sneak onto the back of your tongue at the last second.


Myojo’s Best and Worst Flavors

The Myojo Chukazanmai Garlic Miso variety has an umami flavor that is completely unmatched by other, similar flavors of instant ramen. Frankly, it doesn’t seem possible that so much flavor came from a powder.

The bitter udon noodles still rear their ugly heads, though. The worst offender is the Artificial Chicken, which is so bland that the only distinctive flavor is the udon and some salt.

Imagine eating an entire bowl of unflavored wheat flour, while the sodium slowly dries out your gums from within.

It’s almost bad enough to discount the flawless noodles and the mouthwatering flavors of the rest of Myojo’s line…almost.

Myojo instant ramen noodle brand flavor, noodles, and authenticity score

Final Score: 95/100



A package of Maggi Malaysia Instant Ramen Noodles

This brand is manufactured in India, for Indian palates. While the original manufacturer was based in Switzerland, of all places, it’s a beloved snack and street food staple all across this spice-hungry nation.

While the varieties of ramen that Maggi offers are certainly flavorful, there’s a distinct emphasis on convenience. The selling point is that the ramen can be ready quickly and cheaply, not on how good it tastes.

Which is a shame, because the earthy, curry flavors lurking in the flavor packets are a delight.

That being said, despite the variety of flavors Maggi has on offer, in reality, they all pretty much taste like one thing: masala. And while the masala in question is delicious, it is a shame that no other classic Indian flavors are represented. There’s no chutneys or kormas in sight, and it feels like a wasted opportunity.


Maggi’s Best and Worst Flavors

Because masala is the underlying flavor of most of these ramen packs, it’s best to go with the original Masala. It’s spicy, but still lets the flavor shine.

The worst is the 2-Minute Noodles Without Onion and Garlic, which is really just an inferior version of the Masala flavor. It’s rare that a savory dish isn’t improved by onions and garlic—so without these elements, the whole flavor falls flat.

Maggi instant ramen noodles flavor, noodles, and authenticity score

Final Score: 83/100


Ching’s Secret

A package of Ching's Secrete Hot Garlic flavor of Instant Ramen noodles

This brand is pretty hard to find in America. It’s an Indian creation, and hasn’t gained enough popularity in the States to be imported very often.

Fortunately, it’s popular enough in India that you can find it in import stores, at least in neighborhoods with a high enough South Asian presence.

Most Chinese food in America has been altered from its original form so that it aligns with Western tastebuds. This happens in India as well, creating Indian and Chinese fusion dishes.

Ching’s Secret is a whole brand of ramen with this concept. (And if the name sounds like a misguided imitation of Chinese culture…it is.)

That being said, Chinese and Indian flavors actually go together beautifully. The earthy flavors of India complement the spicy flavors of Szechuan, or the sour aromatics of the northeast provinces, perfectly.


Ching’s Secret Best and Worst Flavors

A quick disclaimer: if you don’t like garlic, you won’t like this pick.

The Hot and Spicy Garlic flavor from Ching’s Secret is an absolute bomb of garlic. Honestly, the seasoning packet might be 90% garlic, and 10% Szechuan chilies. It’s ridiculously spicy, but the broth bursts with so much flavor it feels like it’s straight out of a hot pot restaurant.

The Singapore Curry, however, just doesn’t know what it’s trying to be. Theoretically, they’re meant to be like the popular street food in Singapore in which dry noodles are fried in curry and garlic. However, the flavor is more like a yellow dahl, but with a few chilies added. It’s not quite curry, nor is it a Singapore noodle.

Ching's Secret Instant Ramen Noodles flavor, noodles, and authenticity score

Final Score: 86/100


Final Brackets:

Final bracket of scores comparing all brands' flavors, noodles, and authenticity

Nothing beats real ramen, but the best instant ramen brands offer a convenient fix when time (and money) are scarce. When ramen by itself or even dressing it up just won’t cut it, you can always mix it up with these budget friendly dinners. Or if you just aren’t in the mood to cook or just aren’t super hungry, you could always whip up a quick, easy, healthy smoothie.

Best Instant Coffee Brands

instant coffee brands person

Artisanal coffee snobs loathe those little crystals, but quality instant coffee brands deserve far more credit than they get. (After all, even the renowned Starbucks has an instant variety.)

Firstly, it’s important to note that any coffee bean can be transformed into instant coffee. The process involves freeze-drying coffee, essentially forming an extract of that blend.

In other words, just as different coffee beans can vary in quality and taste, so, too, can their instant counterparts. Here are the best instant coffee brands for your next quick cup.

Bustelo Instant Espresso (Puerto Rico)

A jar of Cafe Bustelo Espresso Instant Coffee

There’s little not to love about this Bronx-born brew.

Cuban exiles preferred the Bustelo brand in their stovetop espresso makers, versus filtering coffee grounds through a sock (though, honestly, who wouldn’t?). That alone is a testament to its simple preparation.

Bustelo Instant boasts a lineage straight from the company’s signature espresso. It’s strong, creamy, not too bold, and instantly likable.

Try: Bustelo Dalgona Whip

Bustelo instant coffee whipped with a touch of sugar, a kiss of honey, a dash of milk poured over ice.


Hula Girl Instant Coffee (Hawaii)

A bag of Hula Girl Coffee, 100% Instant Kona Coffee

Stumble upon this unbelievably tasty instant coffee, and you’ll definitely second-guess that it’s instant.

Hula Girl instant coffee is for those long rainy days when all you care to do is sit in a comfortable chair with a blanket, watch the drops hit the window, and listen to some phat ChillHop beats. It’s unmistakably Kona: exceptionally smooth and flavorful.


Tim Hortons Instant Coffee (Canada)

A jar of Tim Hortons Premium Instant Coffee

Perfect for a blended iced cappuccino, Tim Hortons takes instant coffee to the next level with its smooth, desirable flavor.

Instead of using hot water to dilute the instant coffee crystals, you use hot milk. This creamy creation then forms a silky, batter-like texture that’s unforgettable.

What’s more, it’s available in Light Roast, Dark Roast, Medium, and Decaf.


Africafe Instant Coffee (Africa)

A can of "Africafe" Instant Pure Coffee with a gold and black label

Some instant coffee brands take your taste buds on a journey.  Africafe takes them on safari.

Originating in Tanzania, home to one of the most infamous coffee beans, all the Africafe company does is produce instant coffee.

The love, care, and pride that go into creating this blend are evident in every cup. Africafe instant coffee also makes a very cool gift, and it’s organic.

Try: Africafe Tiramisu Instant Coffee Swiss Roll

Create your own version of Italy’s decadent, iconic dessert with this recipe by Izy Hossack of Top with Cinnamon.


Highground Instant (Spain)

A jar of Highground Organic Insant Coffee with the words "organic fairtrade" on the label

When you purchase a Fairtrade-certified Highground instant coffee, everybody wins. Each cup helps pay farmers fair wages and supports sustainable production practices that respect the environment.

Try: Highground Jiggly Buzzers

Combine homemade Japanese-style instant coffee jellies with sweetened condensed milk for a passable, perky snack your guests will love. Get the recipe from The Subversive Table.


Republica Instant (Australia)

A jar of Republica brand Organic Instant Coffee with a red cap and red and white label

With one taste of this brand, you’ll become an instant coffee connoisseur.

Republica produces its coffee with time-honored growing and roasting traditions, passed down among Colombian coffee farmers for generations.

Republica instant coffee has notes of caramel, and the velvety texture is unforgettable.


Trader Joe’s Instant (USA)

A box of Trader Joe brand Instant Coffee, in a white box with brown polka dots

TJ’s believes in their instant coffee so much, they took out a full-page digital ad titled, “Change Your Opinion of Instant Coffee.”

Instead of freeze-drying, Trader Joe’s passes a curtain of steam over the grounds in a technique known as agglomeration.

That’s why Trader Joe’s instant coffee instantly dissolves, putting an end to stubborn granules at the bottom of your mug.


Douwe Egberts Pure Gold Instant Coffee Sticks (Netherlands)

Packaged "sticks" of Pure Gold Instant Coffee, packaged in small brown and gold narrow stick-shaped bags

For on-the-go aromatic indulgence—or that sudden Zoom call with your in-laws—tuck a few Douwe Egberts instant coffee sticks in your pocket.

This caffeine treat from the Netherlands is a light golden roast, produced with a mix of the finest tasting Arabica and Robusta beans. Smooth and slightly bitter, it makes for an absolutely perfect cup.

Try: Douwe Egberts No-Fuss Coffee Bean Cookies

Keep an airtight jar of these on your desk. Slightly sweet and gently caffeinated, they’re the ideal treat for that 3 o’clock slump. Get the recipe from Vancouver Pigout.


Waka Coffee Instant Coffee (USA)

waka coffee instant coffee in a bag next to a white coffee cup with a single-serve sized pouch in front

This single-serve coffee is made from 100% Arabica beans so it’ll taste just like a freshly brewed pot. If you were to add a dash of cream or however you like to dress your joe, you’d never know the difference.

The best part about this brand is they’ve got just about any origin you’re looking for. Columbian, Indian, Kenyan, Japanese, Chinese, you can try them all.  Additionally, Waka Coffee recognizes the water waste that goes into the production of instant coffee. So with their program “Add Water, Give Water”, they give a certain percentage to support projects that give fresh, clean drinking water to 26 countries around the world.

 Try: Instant Coffee Chili 

Coffee may be one of those ingredients you may never think to add to chili or any meal, but when you do add it to a chili dish, the coffee brings out rich and complex flavors because of the subtle earthy flavor from the coffee pairs very well with savory spices like cumin. Check out the recipe from Waka Coffee.


A lone cup on coffee on a saucer with a spoon atop a natural wood table

Instant coffee is extremely undeserving of its bad rep. It’s been touted as a poor man’s coffee, “factory floor sweepings,” and other claims that couldn’t be further from the truth. Like all great coffee, you can find brands ranging from lackluster to truly exceptional.

Quick and instant is becoming increasingly popular. From instant coffee to instant ramen. Even other foods like minute rice, which can be added to some budget-friendly dinners, are wildly popular. But for the days you’re not feeling like a nice hot cup of coffee, maybe you’d like to try kombucha. It offers a slew of health benefits and claims to be naturally energizing as well.