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EDC: Small coffee shops outnumber chains in NYC

A customer enters a Starbucks in Manhattan. The

A customer enters a Starbucks in Manhattan. The Seattle-based coffee chain said Jan. 24, 2013, that its profit rose 13 percent in the latest quarter in line with Wall Street expectation. (April 12, 2000) Photo Credit: Getty Images

New York's mom-and-pop coffee shops are giving Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts a run for their java dominance, a new report shows.

The Economic Development Corporation found that 52 percent of the city's coffee and tea shops, or 893 locations, are not part of any major chains -- and the small shops continue to percolate around town.

EDC spokesman Patrick Muncie said New Yorkers and visitors are drawn to the variety and individuality that the smaller shops offer.

"It's fair to say the demand for caffeine in the city doesn't seem to be abating any time soon," he said.

The agency compiled the data by analyzing the Department of Health records for restaurants, and didn't include delis or restaurants that offer coffee and tea on their menus.

Although studies have shown that there are 12.5 Starbucks for every 100,000 New Yorkers, the EDC found that the chain amounted to 272 of the 1,700 coffee shops and cafes in the five boroughs. There are 454 Dunkin' Donuts locations in the five boroughs, according to the study.

Some New Yorkers said it was more than flavor that took them to their local spots.

Cat Yundaine, 25, of Harlem, said she prefers mom-and-pop places to get her caffeine fix because of the vibe inside the shops.

"It's all about the atmosphere," she said while enjoying her drink at Think Coffee's Fourth Avenue location. "The quality of the people who I meet here is just as good as the coffee."

EDC noted that many of the city's independent coffee shops have seen tremendous success over the years and have been branching out rapidly. Think Coffee added four locations in Manhattan since opening its first spot at Mercer Street in 2006.

Lacy Lancaster, manager of the Fourth Avenue shop, said New Yorkers prefer to stay local when it comes to their beverages and the city's coffee shop experience just can't be replicated by any of the big chains.

"Once people have had a try of a cup that they just really like, there's no going back," she said.

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