Even though Starbucks started the coffee revolution in this country, you will not find one on this list. We're paying homage to the mom-and-pop shops, the more revolutionary java joints. The places that serve simple espressos and uncomplicated lattes with a side of homemade jelly doughnuts and heart-warming nostalgia.
This essential French Quarter cafe has been a NOLA staple since it first opened its doors in 1862. Although the smell of freshly frying beignets will lure you into the open-air French-style market, the rich, slightly spicy roasted coffee will keep you there for hours. One of the coffee's main spices, chicory, roots back to the Civil War era, and gives each cup of joe at Cafe du Monde a rich and spicy yet slightly chocolaty flavor. Plus, you can't beat the people-watching this cafe provides during Mardi Gras.
Blue Bottle, which started as a small shop in Oakland, has become so popular with the hipsters and working crowd alike, they've opened 11 more shops across the country. The flagship bar in California is a must-go if you're a coffee aficionado. They only sell the freshest brew and use everything they make. In fact, the beans not sold in 48 hours are quickly put to use in the shop's handmade cups of joe. While you sip an organic cup, enjoy a fresh-made saffron snickerdoodle.
Grand Rapids is quickly becoming the go-to for not only craft beer, but for great coffee too! The Madcap Coffee Company, which started in 2008, has gained quite a few accolades in the city and across the country, like a coveted spot in Food & Wine's top coffee bar article. Not only is the coffee top rate, but the actual shop is full of natural light, exposed brick and cozy seating. Opt for a cup of their Six One Six blend, which is a fuller-bodied roast filled with comforting flavors.
For a coffee shop to make it in the Pacific Northwest, it needs to be amazing, and Stumptown Coffee Roasters in downtown Portland is nothing short of that. For many, Stumptown is what gave Portland the reputation as a serious coffee city. Now with five locations, it's winning the hearts of locals and tourists alike. If you love flavored coffee, grab a cup of the Hair Bender, which is a mix of milk chocolate, caramel, jasmine, Meyer lemon and pineapple. Or for something more original, have a cup of the house blend, made with a blend of African and Latin American coffee beans.
If you want coffee the way it should be, with no fancy syrups or flavors, Ninth Street Espresso in NYC's trendy Lower East Side neighborhood is the place to go. They serve only 10 different drink options, from regular espresso to simple brewed coffee. For an extra morning jolt, get the double short ristretto espresso. You also can't go wrong with the pure and delicious six-ounce espresso with milk either. The coffee they brew is from other top coffee shops, like Stumptown and Intelligentsia in Los Angeles, so you know your cup will be good.
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