Coffee is highly valued, respected and beyond popular so it is no surprise that coffee is one of the most sought and traded commodities. Almost every year there are over 500 billion cups of coffee consumed across the world! In the United States we consume the most coffee overall and there are a lot of cities with some great coffee.
We put together 20 coffee cities across the country based on a variety of factors including but not limited to the most recent report “2020’s Best Coffee Cities in America” released by WalletHub.
Grab your coffee and let’s take a look at what makes these cities one of the best coffee cities in the USA!
Seattle – Coffee Shops Galore
The Emerald City… ranked #1 on WalletHub’s list of Best Coffee Cities in America. Not only are there many roasting companies headquartered in Seattle there are also several large national chain retailers that call this city home for their headquarters. Known for its abundant amount of coffee shops, you may not be able to walk one block without coming across an opportunity to indulge in a cup of coffee. Not to mention Seattle was recognized for having some of the most affordable coffee shops, coffee houses and cafes. It is almost obvious to say, you must try Seattle coffee when the opportunity arises.
Portland – Generations of Coffee Merchants
If you not only love drinking coffee but desire a true coffee culture, Portland is definitely a place to have a coffee adventure! The history of Portland’s coffee merchants date back to the 1850’s but the coffee culture was born in 1900 when roasted coffee beans were sold out of a horse-drawn wagon. The history of Portland’s coffee culture is really a great story. Similar to Seattle there are a large number of coffee shops in Portland and they are tied for having the most affordable coffee shops. There are many independent roasters and small cafes and even some historical coffee shops and houses still around that are highly recommended.
The City… San Fran is definitely on the coffee frontier. Before Seattle was founded and Los Angeles was still a small town, the first cup of restaurant coffee in the West was served and the first commercially roasted coffee was produced by 1850 in San Francisco. It is known in this city, the third-wave coffee shops began replacing many corporate coffee shops. If you want to explore different brewing methods and roasting flavors, San Francisco is definitely a city to grow your love for coffee.
Thank you to the Pittsburghers… John and Charles Arbuckle! They made the preserved already-roasted coffee beans available for sale which leads the most popular way coffee is purchased to this day. The love for coffee did not fade away, today there are over 70 different independent coffee shops in Pittsburgh. With the large amount of coffee shops, there is no way you can pass through Pittsburgh without grabbing a cup of coffee from a local roaster.
New York City
We all know a little something about New York City, even if it is a biased knowledge based on movies and television shows. New York City’s history with coffee goes back to the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, by 1900, 86 percent of all coffee that entered the USA entered through the port of New York. Pre-Starbucks, New York City had a few coffee shops already offering espresso and other simple variations of coffee drinks. With this much history in the world of coffee, join the majority of the coffee drinkers in the country and grab a cup of New York City coffee… you can’t go wrong!
Let’s take a drive across the bridge to Jersey! There is definitely seems to be a growing divide in Jersey between the quick stop chain coffee shops and the independent coffee shops. There are more independent coffee shops becoming available as Jersey City continues to become one of the cities with up-and-coming coffee cultures. Ranked 20 as one of the Best Coffee Cities in America, we will continue to see the Jersey coffee culture continue to grow. Check one or all of these top coffee hot spots in Jersey City the next time you are in the area.
If you have been to Miami, you can feel the Latino culture almost everywhere and it is what makes the city so vibrant and fun. The Cuban migration has greatly contributed to the coffee culture that makes this city even more unique especially in regards to the world of coffee.The social aspect of drinking coffee goes deep in the roots of the people in Miami. It is a form of bringing people together and bonding. There would be no better place to try a Colada, Cortadito or Cafe Con Leche as these are enjoyed often by Miami’s Latino community.
Not far north of Miami, you will find the coffee city of Tampa. Following in suit with Miami, there are numerous coffee shops in Tampa specializing in Cuban coffee drinks and culture. The city of Tampa has a Cuban district known as Ybor City that focuses on the heritage, traditions and culture of Cuba. This is definitely a coffee city worth visiting.
Two years ago Oakland was voted the third hottest city for coffee lovers by Smart Asset. The different coffee houses and cafes in Oakland seem to have very identifiable personalities and perks. Anything from baristas writing friendly notes on every cup of coffee, bike delivery. Or even Latino-themed coffee drinks. Not only can you find some quality roasters in Oakland but they also have a variety of learning classes such as latte art classes, brewing classes and barista workshops.
If you like a sweet treat with your morning cup of coffee, Los Angeles is the city to grab a coffee and a donut at one of their many donut shops. Not only was the city ranked 16th on the Best Coffee Cities in America but it also tied for the most donut shops in the city. The main reason Los Angeles has earned a mention in regards to the coffee world is due to the recent boom of coffee bars using some very exotic flavors. Take advantage of the variety in this city by taking a coffee tour through the downtown coffee scene!
With the 4th most roasters and 6th most coffee shops as of 2018, Denver is definitely a great place to find some magnificent coffee. Although it is known the prices of coffee in Denver are a bit over the average cost, you certainly have a lot of options. You can select from the independent roasters, downtown coffee houses with a flare for ambiance or a local spot with alternatives to the “original” styles of coffee. Regardless of your preference, take a coffee tour around Denver, you never know what you may find.
There is not a deeper history for coffee, coffee shops or coffee culture than Boston’s coffee history. According to city records, John Sparry opened the first house allowed to sell coffee in 1676 but before then there is record of Dorothy Jones was licensed to sell coffee and cuchaletto. Dorothy’s license is the first written reference to coffee in the Massachusetts colony. Coffee and coffee houses remained in the history books for Massachusetts and Boston to this very day. No doubt there is plenty of history in Boston including historical coffeehouses but Boston has definitely progressed with the times. You should definitely try out some of their best coffee shops in the area!
Given that Hawaii is one of two states allowed to farm coffee for the purpose of selling, there is no way you can go here without getting some “farm to cup” Kona coffee. The Honolulu Coffee Experience Center serves Kona coffee from their own farm on the Big Island where the Kona Belt is located. Soak up the sun, enjoy the beach and don’t forget your Kona coffee before you leave the island.
Home of the alternative to Starbucks… Caribou Coffee was established in a small suburb outside of Minneapolis almost 30 years ago. This of course triggered the first coffee wave in Minneapolis. The city has grown since then with additional trending waves that really increase the coffee vibes of the city. You can find a variety of themed coffee shops and cafes in Minneapolis. There is even a coffee shop located in a Victorian-style house from 1877 that really creates an intimate vibe compared to the fast paced coffee shops. This would be a great city to check out the sites and grab some great coffee.
Chicago came in at 25 on the recent best cities list but made this list because not only do they have a large variety of coffee shops with local roasters but they also have a variety of coffee pros showcasing their drink-making skills. For example, on Lincoln Ave you will find Oromo Cafe with flavor options from Africa, India, and Turkey which is the start to some of the city’s unique coffee drinks. Take advantage of The Windy City’s best coffee experiences the next time you are in town!
A city full of history and according to WalletHub also one of the best cities for coffee lovers. The city is definitely beginning to grow into one of the most prolific coffee cities. There is a large amount of diversity in Washington DC when it comes to the style of coffee shops. From the Ethiopian inspired Sidamo Coffee and Tea to the more hip and artsy Killer E.S.P., this coffee city has a place to stop in and check out for everyone!
The history of coffee in New Orleans goes back to the eighteenth century as the first shipments of green coffee arrived from Cuba and other Caribbean Islands. The city is now one of the top coffee ports in the country and one of the world’s largest coffee roasting plants is located downriver from the French Quarter. When visiting this coffee city it is very popular and highly recommended to stop by Cafe du Monde for a delicious New Orleans style coffee and a beignet.
The coffee culture was a slow rise for Atlanta but it has grown substantially over the past 20 – 25 years. It all started with Bartdorf & Bronson Coffee as well as Starbuck expanding business to Atlanta in the same year. After this, local coffee shops began to follow suit and take a sip from the industry. Atlanta now has more than 30 independent coffee shops and over 50 chain coffee shops and it is constantly increasing each year with more coffee pros starting to brew and open up shop. The city has been ranked 10th by WalletHub so the growing coffee culture is definitely starting to get noticed.
You may not think about coffee when you think about visiting Orlando… but do not be fooled, the coffee culture in Orland is starting to get noticed. Not only was it ranked 12th for 2020’s Best Coffee Cities in America but it also tied for most coffee shops and cafes according to WalletHub. One of the most unique aspects of Orlando’s coffee scene is CREDO Coffee which is a donation-only shop featuring artists and musicians. Orlando has a large variety of local and unique coffee shops, don’t miss out!
The city of Austin is a great place to come and check out the local coffee businesses in the area, including independent roasters and local coffee shops. Austin locals are really going above and beyond to progress their coffee culture, they even have the Austin Coffee Culture group for those truly wanting to embrace the culture of coffee. The craft coffee movement has really started to trend over the past 5 years or so making Austin’s coffee scene experimental, fun and interesting. If you are planning a trip to Austin, make note of the recommended coffee shops or cafes and try some Austin style coffee.
So, what makes the best coffee city and where are you headed on your next coffee adventure?
From the type of coffee bean to the roast and on to the brew…there are so many great coffee blends, drinks and cultures available. The best coffee cities can really stand out based on their pricing, quality and culture. Next time you are travelling, try out the local coffee shops and cafes… you never know what city will impress you or be the next up-in-coming BEST coffee city!