Photo Credit: iStockphoto/hidesy
We are a country that loves our java. According to the National Coffee Association of USA, approximately 125 million Americans – or 54 percent of the adult population – drank coffee daily in 2009. Of course, the majority of that java consumption came in the form of regular, drip coffee, but the number of people who order gourmet beverages and/or get their cups of Joe from cafes and coffee shops is also growing, with 17 percent of adults drinking a gourmet beverage daily in 2008.
Clearly, coffee consumption is widespread throughout the country, but what are the best locations for high quality, easily accessible coffee and espresso-based drinks? We’ve gathered a list of some of the best towns for caffeine lovers to scratch their caffeine itch. We’ve covered the west, Midwest, northeast and – perhaps surprisingly – the South too. Seattle is included, but not for the reasons you might think. So read on to find out the best destinations for coffee connoisseurs.
In addition to the city’s 119 Starbucks, the Bay City boasts a number of unique cafes and shops, including Vega at Langton, which is a tiny shop that serves coffee from the Blue Bottle Coffee Company and is revered by locals. Some other popular shops and cafes include Graffeo Coffee Roasting Company, Sightglass Coffee, Philz Coffe, Café Murano and Double Team Coffee.
Although often overshadowed by the prowess of Seattle, Portland is no coffee slouch. One of the most beloved shops is Blend Coffee Lounge in North Portland, where you can enjoy pastries and sandwiches with your java and are welcome to bring your laptop, work or curl up on one of the couches and read. Another popular locale is Three Friends Coffee House in the southeast portion of the city. This cozy café offers couches, stools and tables for its customers, as well as superb customer service. Of course, if you’re looking for your chain fix, Portland has 179 Starbucks within the city.
Citizens of the Twin Cities enjoy not only a warm cup of Joe but a fine one as well, and one of the best places to find it is Kopplin’s Coffee. At Koplin’s, each cup is brewed to order, and decaf is a considered a curse word. Koplin’s is also known for its delicious espresso drinks and latte art. Another excellent java choice in Minneapolis is Isles Bun & Coffee, where the coffee is always partnered with a proper bun or scone. Other great coffee joints in the Twin Cities include Black Sheep Coffee Café, Bob’s Java Hunt and Dunn Brothers Coffee.
Located on Milwaukee Bay is Alterra Café, one of the most popular coffee houses in the city and even in the country, with people traveling across the county to visit it. Alterra can become crowded, but don’t let that deter you from trying their coffee and espresso variations. You can choose how strong you would like your brewed java, and baristas are known to make designs with the latte foam. Additionally, the view on the shores of Lake Michigan is gorgeous, and the atmosphere is unique and trendy while still feeling comfortable. Also, check out Anodyne Café and Coffee and Fuel Café.
As the port through which coffee first came to America and home to the legendary Café Du Monde, New Orleans is a must-visit for any coffee lover. Located within the French Market, the building that now houses the café dates back to 1813, and Café Du Monde itself was established in 1862. Coffee at Café Du Monde is traditionally served as a café au lait, or half coffee and half warm milk. It also usually includes chicory, which adds a hint of chocolate to the mixture. Some other excellent options for a cup of joe in NOLA include Café Rose Nicaud and The Orange Couch.
Seattle is known as the birthplace of java chains and the hotbed of coffee consumption, as both Starbucks and Seattle’s Best Coffee were founded here in the 1970s. Today, there are approximately 16,000 Starbucks worldwide and more than 500 in the Seattle area alone. In fact, you can barely walk a block or two without running into one. However, the city also boasts some unique, local coffee houses that residents love too. Some of the most revered are Espresso Vivace Sidewalk Bar, which serves what is widely considered the best espresso in the city, and Café Besalu, which is known for its creamy lattes and perfect pastries.