Special Report

The Best (and Worst) Cities to Buy a Cup of Coffee

Coffee is the most popular beverage in the U.S. – more so than bottled water, soda, or beer. Americans drink about 656 million cups a day, according to a new report released by the National Coffee Association. Although the pandemic consigned many people to making coffee at home, out-of-home coffee consumption rates are once again on the rise and may soon reach pre-pandemic levels. (It won’t fight the coronavirus, but here are 18 reasons to drink coffee for your health.)

There are over 37,000 coffee shops in the United States. From the nearest corner Starbucks to the French patisserie, coffee lovers have loads of coffee vendors to choose from; but the price of a cup of coffee can vary widely from shop to shop, and from city to city. (These are the best independent coffee shops in America.)

To determine America’s best (and worst) cities for coffee-lovers, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the report The Best Coffee Cities in America: 2022 Data from Clever Real Estate, a realtor matching service. 

The nation’s 50 most populous metro areas were ranked on criteria including the average reported price of a cappuccino, the number of coffee shops per 100,000 residents, and the price of a daily cappuccino as a percentage of average income. The number of coffee shops per square mile and the Google Trends search volume for several coffee-related terms in each city were also considered. (Population and income data came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey for 2019.)

Click here to see the best and worst US cities for coffee-lovers, ranked from worst to best

The results show that many of the worst cities to buy a cup of coffee are in the South, while the West Coast, Great Lakes, and New England are home to some of the best coffee cities in the nation. Cities on the bottom of the list generally have fewer places to get coffee, and the coffee is more expensive. In the 10 lowest ranked cities, the average cost of buying one cup of coffee every weekday equals 2% or more of the average annual income, as opposed to 1.8% or less in the top 10 best cities to buy a coffee.

Of the best coffee cities, Milwaukee had the cheapest prices (and scored highest overall), Portland (Oregon) had the most coffee shops per capita, and San Francisco had the best prices as compared to annual income.

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