There are dozens of independent local coffee shops to choose from in Nassau and Suffolk counties. (Getty Images)

Make no mistake: Long Island runs on coffee. 

Whether your routine consists of a lengthy Long Island Rail Road commute, or sitting in traffic on the Long Island Expressway, or rolling out of bed at 11 a.m., finding a great cup of black gold is essential to the happiness and peaceful behavior of many Long Islanders, no matter what time of day.

So the next time you feel the longing, skip the chains and try one of LI’s independent coffee houses, where quality is king and the ambiance can’t be found at your nearest Starbucks. Here are some favorite locales for a hot or cold brew, plus tasty treats to go with:

Babylon Bean Coffee House
17 Fire Island Ave., Babylon, 631-587-7729

Babylon Bean North Coffee House
775 Deer Park Ave., North Babylon, 631-314-4073, thebabylonbean.com

Going strong since 2010, the original Babylon location and its newer North Babylon sibling feature eight distinct roasts brewed daily. There’s an open mic on Wednesdays from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. and live music Fridays and Saturdays from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Check out the local artists’ gallery.

Bay Shore Bean
47 E. Main St., Bay Shore, 631-647-7971, bayshorebean.com

The Bean Of Patchogue

62 W. Main St., Patchogue, 631-669-4900, facebook.com/thebeanofpatchogue

The same owners who brought you Babylon Bean and Babylon Bean North are also keeping Bay Shore and Patchogue locals caffeinated. And like their siblings, you can always expect fair trade beans that are locally roasted and then brewed onsite.

Caffe Portofino
249 Main St., Northport, 631-262-7656, caffeportofinonpt.com

This “funky little coffee shop” in the heart of Northport also serves up smoothies, breakfast, paninis and more. Deciding between specials like their savory muffins, nest eggs, breakfast burritos and breakfast pizzas is no easy choice. 

Coffee Booths
226 Middle Country Rd., Selden, 631-846-1966, facebook.com/coffeebooths

This beloved spot was just voted Best Coffee House for the fourth straight year and Best Cup of Coffee for the third time in the annual Bethpage Best of Long Island contest. What more do you need to know?

Crazy Beans
97 Main St., Stony Brook, 631-675-6964, 2 Front St., Greenport, 631-333-2436, 159-14 Route 25A, Miller Place, 631-403-4954, crazybeansrestaurant.com

The husband-and-wife team who launched Crazy Beans are as serious about coffee as they are about food, which is why Crazy Beans has rapidly expanded to three LI locations. The coffee is excellent and all food is cooked to order.

The Cup Coffeehouse
3268 Railroad Ave., Wantagh, 516-826-9533, facebook.com/TheCupCoffeeHouse

Another longtime favorite in the LI coffee house scene, The Cup is the place for Nassau County caffeine-heads to drink up and soak in the joint’s hip vibe and great music. There’s also live entertainment and some truly fabulous desserts.

Flux Coffee
211 Main St., Farmingdale, 516-586-8979, fluxcoffee.com

Flux began on the West Coast as a cold brew early adopter, but its Farmingdale hub now delights East Coasters with all forms of the brewed bean. You can also grab some of their pre-bagged grounds and goodies to go.

For Five Coffee Manhasset
292 Plandome Rd., Manhasset, 516-918-9488, forfivecoffee.com

The lone LI location of this national independent coffee house chain promises the perfect cup of fresh-roasted java.

Gentle Brew Coffee
151 E. Park Ave., Long Beach, 516-605-2370, gentlebrewcoffee.com

This hip Long Beach java hangout also operates a small outlet on the boardwalk, so you can sip and stroll. The Park Avenue flagship location also offers gourmet breakfast items on weekends.

Georgio’s Coffee Roasters
1965 New Hwy., Farmingdale, 516-238-2999, georgioscoffee.com

Don’t be fooled by its unassuming exterior: Georgio’s is serious about selling great coffee, and its patrons flock there for their fix. You can always count on a mouthwatering aroma as you enter and a grand assortment of beans from around the globe.

Hampton Coffee Company

869 Montauk Hwy., Water Mill, 631-726-2633, 194 Mill Rd., Westhampton, 631-288-4480, 749 County Road 39A, Southampton, 631-353-3088, 272 Main Rd., Aquebogue, 631-779-2862, hamptoncoffeecompany.com

Some 20 years after starting out in Water Mill, Hampton Coffee Company has four locations, and is a go-to choice for East End coffee lovers. It’s beloved by tourists and locals alike, so get in line and see what all the fuss is about.

Jack Jack’s Coffee House
223 Deer Park Ave., Babylon, 631-526-9983, jackjackscoffeehouse.com

Another top-flight Babylon-area coffee haunt, Jack Jack’s serves a killer cup, but also boasts an art gallery and a menu of delectable breakfast and lunch items. Check for daily specials.

Kookaburra Coffee Co.
69 N. Village Ave., Rockville Centre, 516-255-1750, 324A Hempstead Tpke., Malverne, 516-218-2258, kookaburracoffeeny.com

Kookaburra’s success in RVC led to the opening of a second location in Malverne in 2018, near the LIRR station, so caffeine-craving commuters can get in on the action. Both locations come highly recommended.

Massapequa Perk
117 Front St., Massapequa Park, 516-541-7375, facebook.com/Massapequa.perk

Yes, the name is thesame play on words as the coffee shop from Friends. But don’t be fooled. These folks are serious about their coffee.

Morning Rose Cafe
317 Bedford Ave., Bellmore, 516-221-5010, morningrosecafe.com

Enjoy your brew and breakfast in a New England B&B setting lovingly created in Bellmore. Gourmet breakfast is served all day, as well as lunch items ranging from soup to salad to sandwiches to burgers.

Nana’s Ice Cream and Coffee House
225A Post Ave., Westbury, 516-338-6888

Coffee? Check. Good food? Check. Ice cream? You betcha. The only question is: In what order will you consume them all? That’s the burning question Nana’s customers must answer each time they visit this Westbury favorite.

North Fork Roasting Co.
55795 Main Rd., Southold, 631-876-5450, noforoastingco.com

This small-batch artisanal coffee roaster is deeply entrenched within the North Fork vineyard/agriculture community, which drives its passion for excellence. Co-owner Jess Dunne is also a chef, so you can count on food that’s as memorable as the brew.

Pipeline Coffee Company
1887 Wantagh Ave., Wantagh, 516-785-5000, 318A Sunrise Hwy., Rockville Centre, 516-205-8040, pipelinecoffeecompany.com

Pipeline came onto the LI coffee scene in 2018 and already boasts two locations. The focus is fresh, green, sustainable coffee, roasted onsite, plus from-scratch grab-and-go meals and snacks, Coastal Craft Kombucha and Greek yogurt by Nounos Creamery.

Roast Coffee & Tea Trading Company
41 E. Main St., Patchogue, 631-627-3966, roast.coffee

Specializes in micro-roast coffee and fine teas, and has been doing it well for 10 years. The espresso bar is top flight and there’s a wide offering of unique specialty drinks that keeps fans coming back for more.

Sip This
64 Rockaway Ave., Valley Stream, 516-341-0491, sipthisny.com

Sip aims to be much more than just a coffee house; its owners aim to make it a fixture of the Valley Stream community. That’s why a full calendar of events, including live music and comedy, as well as exhibits of local art, are at home alongside great coffee and food.

Southdown Coffee
210-B Wall St., Huntington, 49 Audrey Ave., Oyster Bay, southdowncoffee.com

Offers a rotating selection of its high-quality single-source coffee varieties plus a well-stocked menu of breakfast and lunch items. In a rare twist, Mexican favorites figure prominently among the fare, including burritos and tacos, alongside gourmet egg sandwiches.

Sweetie Pies on Main
181 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor, 631-367-9500, sweetiepiesonmain.com

Coffee and pastry go together like peanut butter and jelly, and that’s the magic combination that makes Sweetie Pies a North Shore hotspot. Sipping a hot cup of java (provided by local roaster Georgio’s) while eating a slice of pie, or perhaps a French doughnut or macarons, will be the highlight of your day.

Toast Coffeehouse
46 E. Main St., #3102, Patchogue, 631-654-7091, 9 South Park Ave., Bay Shore, 631-647-9560, 242 E. Main St., Port Jefferson, 631-331-6860, toastcoffeehouse.com

Toast is doing great things with its hybrid coffee house/eatery concept, and now boasts three LI locations. The artsy, eclectic vibe and the fantastic fare keep customers lining up outside the door.

The Witches Brew

311 Hempstead Tpk., West Hempstead, 516-489-9482, facebook.com/The-Witches-Brew

This Nassau County favorite was one of the original bastions of the ’90s coffee house explosion on LI, and is still brewing strong decades later. Great coffee and food (including extensive vegan options) and a uniquely funky atmosphere are a major part of that longevity.

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Brendan Manley is an award-winning journalist, screenwriter and content development/marketing professional. He has extensive experience in newspaper and magazine publishing, as well as digital media, covering topics including arts and entertainment, sports, lifestyle, news, technology, travel and history. He is an ongoing contributor to Military History, Hotel News Now.com and HOTELS magazine, as well as the Long Island Press, where he formerly served as Managing Editor and Lifestyle section head. He is currently developing several of his original scripts for Hollywood, and consults on various film and scripted TV projects for studios, producers and financiers. Brendan is based in upstate New York's southern Adirondacks region.