Brian Aliffi, senior manager of coffee sourcing at national coffee retailer Caribou Coffee, headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has traveled the country sourcing and sampling to find the best coffee beans. He shares his pick of where to get the best cup.
You might know Atlanta for its famous Southern comfort food, but Aliffi tells us the city is now offering visitors and locals alike a dynamic coffeehouse scene. If you're in Atlanta and craving a cup, head to Octane Coffee Bar or Dancing Goats Coffee Bar in Decatur. "These shops blend perfectly with the foodie revolution, while delivering some of the finest single-origin offerings."
Austin has great music, great bars and it also boasts a thriving coffee culture. "Cuvee Coffee is a great example of a coffeehouse that infectiously permeates the landscape just like the music that the city is known for," says Aliffi. Cuvee Coffee even offers tours to the public if you want to learn more about what's in your cup and how it got there.
Portland is consistently named as a great place for coffee lovers — with good reason. "Home to many experienced baristas and coffee roasters, there's no surprise that the city is a must-visit for coffee lovers and connoisseurs," affirms Aliffi. "Stumptown Coffee Roasters serves as the siren and has raised the bar that many are aspiring to clear. Coava Coffee Roasters demonstrates barista excellence regularly and is keeping the craft movement fresh."
New York, New York
In between trying all of the must-eats in the foodie city of New York, make time for coffee. "A relative latecomer, despite the iconic Anthora cup design, most of the major third-wave roasters have at least one shop on Manhattan," says Aliffi. He suggests heading to Gimme! Coffee or Café Grumpy while in the Big Apple.
San Francisco, California
There's a lot to love about San Francisco and whether you're just visiting or you live there, you can add coffee to that list of what to love. Aliffi name checks a few hot spots for your caffeine kick, including Blue Bottle Coffee, Four Barrel Coffee and Peet's Coffee & Tea.
Seattle, the home of Starbucks and where many say American coffee culture was born, is also home to a host of other must-try coffee shops. Aliffi suggests trying Zoka Coffee and Victrola Coffee Roasters, both of which take their craft seriously and make customers feel like they're part of one big caffeinated family.
Kansas City, Missouri
Take a trip to Kansas City to see the city's evolving coffee culture firsthand. "The Roasterie delivers a full spectrum of roasts and blends catering to your whims and desires. While PT's Coffee Roasters is a short trip to Topeka, Kansas, it represents the hard work of their buyer and their dedication to unique origin flavor," says Aliffi.
The numerous independent coffeehouses in the area offer plenty of choices when it comes to delicious coffee, notes Aliffi. "Crema Coffee House, named after the delicious foam that makes a cappuccino, rotates its coffee beans from the best roasters around the country."
Not only is Minneapolis a great coffee city, but it's also Caribou Coffee's hometown. Both the company's headquarters and state-of-the-art roasting facility can be found here. If you're looking for another stop on your Minneapolis coffee tour, Aliffi suggests Dogwood Coffee, which he says captures the vibe of uptown with an open-air café and individually prepared cups of coffee.
The Windy City boasts a seemingly endless array of coffee shops, making it an ideal spot on any coffee lover's mission to sip something delicious. Aliffi calls out the must-try Café 57, located near the University of Chicago's campus. "This local spot is bike-friendly. The cyclist co-owner of this shop not only serves up delicious coffee, but also sells patch kits and bike tools for repairs on the road."
For the adventurous coffee connoisseur, Aliffi offers his picks for two spots to grab a great cup that are a bit further afield. "Kenya boasts the finest coffee in the world, and Dormans has a reputation for delivering the best of the best," he tells us. "Their cafés in Nairobi, Kenya offer a chance for sampling Kenyan coffee as an espresso or drip brewed — all while enjoying café style food while you wait."
Aliffi also notes San Salvador, El Salvador as a coffee-focused city, especially must-visit cafe Viva Espresso. "While at this special coffeehouse, you can soak up the atmosphere in an open-air café and learn about the growing regions and processing methods that have made El Salvador a top contender at the World Barista Championship."
Which is your favorite city to get a great cup of coffee? Share in the comments below!
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