Sip Sip Sip: Forest Cafe

Sip Sip Sip: Forest Cafe

Welcome back to the Sip Sip Sip Series! If you’re new, this is a series where we (Salma and Jenny), along with special guests, try and review different coffee establishments throughout NYC. 

In this series, we were lucky to interview the managers of Forest Cafe and try out their winter seasonal menu! Opening up in October of 2022, the small cafe has nestled its way into the Forest Hills community.

Inspiration for the cafe sparked when Paul Shim, current co-owner, was taking his dog Milo on a walk and saw the location for sale. 

“He just had a vision, he saw it was a really good opportunity for us to open a cafe here,” Julie Fung said. 

After living in Forest Hills for over a decade, Julie Fung, her sister Nina, and Nina’s husband Paul, felt that the residential area lacked coffee shops with consistent quality and space to do work peacefully, given quarantine had created a work-from-home situation.

The trio renovated the place, taking inspiration from the Japandi style, a mix of Japanese and Scandinavian culture. Insert more imagery on the layout. 

On opening day, they were the only 3 employees. This number has since grown to a team of 14.

“It’s surreal, the team that we’ve built. I didn’t think it would be possible to have such a great team,” Julie commented as she reflected on the change the cafe has undergone since its opening.

Given their growth and positive community reaction, the team has become more ambitious, releasing a fall menu consisting of 10 drinks and food items back in October of 2023.

The two sisters gain inspiration for their menus through culture and travel. 

“The cream add-ons – such as the marshmallow cream, the pumpkin cream, and the sweet corn cream – were inspired by when we went to Korea last year. We want to introduce Forest Hills to different types of drinks.” 

On December 15th, 2023, they released their Winter Menu, bringing back successful items and creating new fan favorites. 

We, alongside special guests, all had different opinions on these items. We want to set down a disclaimer that everyone has different preferences for coffee and desserts, so do not let our opinions sway you from trying out new things! 

Coquito Croffle (6.00) and Carrot Cake Muffin (4.75)
Coquito Croffle (6.00) and Carrot Cake Muffin (4.75)

Average rating: 8/10

The Coquito Croffle is a dessert that’s aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. Toasted coconut flakes glisten like snowflakes on the surface of the croffle, enticing the senses before the first bite. 

In the first bite, the aroma of cinnamon sugar dances in the air, accompanied by the luscious sweetness of condensed milk cascading over each layer. 

Despite its delectable appearance, we all agreed that warming the croffle would have enhanced its flavors further. Nevertheless, the croffles are made fresh daily, ensuring a delightful experience with every bite. 

Mika, a regular at Forest Cafe, praises its sweetness and the cinnamon flavor, though noting a lack of pronounced coconut taste. Rina shared the same sentiment but about warming it up, 

“It is a little hard to chew. I would’ve liked it if it was warmed up.” 


Average rating: 7/10

Forest Cafe includes a theme of healthy ingredients in many of its menu items. The carrot cake is one of them. The rectangular muffin is fluffy and soft. As you bite into the muffin, you’re met with a cream cheese frosting. Mixed in the muffin, there were not only grated carrots and walnuts but pineapple as well, which is an interesting combination.

But we all had mixed feelings about specific ingredients. 

Mika comments on the frosting, “The frosting is good, but I think it takes away from the carrot cake itself.” 

I too agreed the cream cheese frosting is a good way to balance out the sweetness of the muffin, however, I felt it was overpowering the main character of the item. 

Ethan and Salma were not fans of the pineapple chunks in the muffin. Ethan found it “kind of confusing” as there were a lot of things going on inside the muffin that took away the normal carrot cake taste. 

Eggnog with marshmallow cream add-on (6.35 + 1.50) 
Eggnog with marshmallow cream add-on (6.35 + 1.50) 

Average rating: 7.5/10

The hot Eggnog with marshmallow cream add-on offers a comforting embrace with every sip. Layered with expresso, marshmallow cream, and a sprinkle of cinnamon, it delivers a creamy richness that embodies the essence of winter. The base of the drink is customizable, including the options of espresso, matcha, or hojicha, catering to diverse preferences. 

“It’s the perfect mix between coffee and sweetness,” Rina remarked as she took her first sip. 

Salma and I both agreed that the drink was warm and creamy, but we made a slight note of milk overpowering the flavor profile of the eggnog. However, the overall appearance and flavor fit seamlessly into the cozy ambiance of the winter season. 

We topped our hot eggnog with another winter menu item: marshmallow cream. White and light, the cold cream added a layer of sweetness to the drink. The marshmallow cream add-on is one of the most popular menu items, noted by Nina, and may be here to stay outside of winter.


Peppermint Mocha (6.25)
Peppermint Mocha (6.25)

Average rating: 8/10

If you’re familiar with York Chocolate, the Peppermint Mocha tastes very similar to that. 

The Peppermint Mocha, adorned with great latte art, received a lot of good comments. The peppermint sauce is apparent in the drink with chocolate mixed evenly in the drink. Among the group, most of us were peppermint fans, therefore, we all enjoyed the drink. 

It is a creamy and velvety drink that always leaves a refreshing aftertaste of the peppermint flavor. The richness of chocolate in the drink makes it even better. We all agreed that the peppermint mocha is the drink that matches the winter theme the most. 

Gingerbread Latte (6.25)
Gingerbread Latte (6.25)

Average rating: 5/10

We decided to get an iced Gingerbread Latte with espresso. It’s mixed with housemade gingerbread sauce topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Like many of their other bases, matcha and hojicha bases are also offered for this drink. 

Salma pointed out that the Gingerbread latte tasted similar to their Forest Latte which is just a regular latte with maple syrup and spices.

We all unanimously agreed that there was a lack of a distinct gingerbread flavor. Mika, who has tried the gingerbread latte hot in the past, said that having it hot improves the overall experience. So, perhaps you may consider choosing this drink warm. 

Earth Elixir (5.75)
Earth Elixir (5.75)

Average rating: 7/10 

This is another healthy drink at Forest Cafe. Targeted for those who want an alternative for caffeine, the Earth Elixir is perfect for those who can’t have caffeine or those who want a boost of energy. 

It includes a base of matcha or hojicha, a blend of mushroom, ashwagandha, and maca root powder, and finally steamed milk. The mushrooms include chaga, cordyceps, lion’s mane, and rei shi, boosting the immune system, mood, and focus. The ashwagandha root boosts energy and lowers stress, and finally, the maca root is a mood-boosting antioxidant. 

The drink was interesting to try. It tasted green and completely different from the normal espresso. It did taste bitter and grassy which many of us were not a big fan of. It definitely is an “earthy” drink that isn’t for most people. However, if you ever need a booster shot of energy in replacement of espresso, Earth Elixir is perfect for that. 

Julie shared with us that the cafe is dedicated to fulfilling four core values: customer service, cleanliness, consistency, and quickness. In particular, the sisters noted that they strongly dislike when coffee places are inconsistent with quality and flavor. Based on past visits and this current one, we and our special guests can confidently say that their core values are very apparent in each trip. Often, employees will greet you by your name and even offer compliments. 

Mika, while reflecting on the visit, noted that, “I feel like every time I come here, every drink I order, it always tastes the same and it always gets made with the same care and love.” 

The drink prices are on the expensive side. As teenagers, spending upwards of $6 on a drink isn’t the most affordable choice. Dunkin, in comparison, frequently has in-app deals that make menu items super cheap. Gregory’s, the previous cafe we reviewed in the Sip Sip Sip series, is similar in pricing to Forest Cafe. However, as many cafes and restaurants would assert, you pay for quality, consistency, and the overall experience, and we’d definitely agree that the price grants this.

As of March 23rd, Forest Cafe has released their spring menu. Check out their Instagram @forestcafenyc to view the menu!

We can’t wait to sip on what they make next and have fun #girlhood conversations on their comfortable seating. 

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