Dear Mama: A Community Coffee Shop in Harlem

  • Six words or less:  Local roast, large space, big heart
  • Location: 109th Street & Between First and Second Avenue
  • Hours: Every Day 7am-9pm (Except Tuesday, 7am-10pm)
  • Open Since: July 2016
  • Roaster: Dear Mama in partnership Nobletree Coffee (Red Hook, BK)
  • Amenities: Wifi, Bathrooms, A few outlets, Seating for 30
  • Must try: Dip-able Cookies & Cappuccino with Batenkill Farms Whole Milk


Dear Mama, named after the Tupac song by the same name, is a gem of a cafe on a side street in East Harlem with a big heart for community.  The drip coffee was bright, bold, with mild acidity.  The cappuccino was smooth and rich.  The space was large, open and well-lit.  They’ve perfected what they call the dip-able cookie: an oblong melty chocolate chip cookie that withstands a bit of dunking.

More than any other coffee shop that I’ve visited in Harlem, Dear Mama emphasizes community.  Zachary Zoltan Sharaga, one of Dear Mama’s founders, emphasizes how much the coffee shop is a space for people of the neighborhood to meet and create.  To that end, they host a Tuesday night High School poetry hour (from 6-7) and a Creative Hour from 7-10 where different members of the community-singers, poets, artists- are encouraged to network and perform.  The space is wired for art installations and displays work from native New Yorkers.  Dear Mama prides itself on a culture of inviting people in, asking them to stay and asking for their input.  “Feedback is our currency,” expressed both Sharaga and his staff.

Stop by for happy hour after 5pm for $5 beer and wine, but keep coming back for the welcoming feel.  This place is a neighborhood place that delights in the talents of the neighbors.

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