When you find yourself with a hankering for an expertly-made cup of coffee, what’s your go-to? Do you carefully brew it yourself? Head to your local Starbucks? Grab a cheap cup from the nearest convenience store? If you’re like many of us, instead you head over to a local independent coffee shop, where the barista knows your name and regular order.
A great independent coffee shop is a lot more than just a place to get a grab-and-go coffee and pastry on your way to work. The best don’t just offer great coffee (with employees who are passionate about coffee and willing to share their expertise with you); they’re comfortable and inviting places to meet with friends or a date, get some work done, or just sit with your thoughts and look out the window. (These are the best coffee cities in America.)
Many of the best coffee shops source their coffee beans from the world’s best producers (and in many cases forge relationships with the growers themselves) and roast their own beans in-house. And for those who don’t roast their own beans, they purchase theirs from well-regarded roasteries. At some great coffee shops, where coffee-lovers can sample a variety of fresh-brewed single-origin coffees, learning about the subtle nuances inherent in the flavors and aromas of each one. Other places get their coffee from a single source and turn them into a wide array of drinks that go above and beyond what you’ll find at your local Starbucks. (If that ubiquitous chain is your thing, though, you’ll want to know the Starbucks capitals of America.)
To determine the best independent coffee shop in every state, 24/7 Tempo reviewed and extrapolated from articles and rankings on a wide range of websites, including Food & Wine, Travel & Leisure, Fodors, The Culture Trip, Time Out, Eater, Cheapism, Big Seven Travel, and Yelp, as well as numerous state and local coffee shop listings.