Whether you’re looking for single-origin beans, personalized pour-overs, or carbonated iced coffee, T+L readers have toasted the most caffeinated cities in America.
No. 1 Portland, OR
America's Best Coffee Cities
No. 1 Portland, OR
The Northwest city known for its latte-friendly (read: misty) weather won the coffee contest again this year—and not just for Stumptown Coffee Roasters, which continues to expand beyond Oregon. Two lesser-known local favorites are in the city’s Central Eastside. One is Coava, a single-origin roaster whose beans are regulars at the Northwest Regional Barista Competition, and whose Zen-feeling Brew Bar shares space with a sustainable bamboo company. The other, micro-roaster Water Avenue Coffee, offers such barrel-aged coffees as Oak and Pinot Noir; one of the most popular menu items is a $1 sidecar shot of espresso.
When they took a train trip along the West Coast a few years ago, Stephanie Mantello and her husband got off at Portland on a mission.
It was for coffee.
“We sprinted off the train with only a 45-minute stop to get a coffee at Stumptown,” says the Sydney-based travel blogger. “It was well worth the potential of missing the train.”
Like many travelers, Mantello loves to try local java in a new place. And no surprise, Portland, OR—home of famed roaster Stumptown—was yet again in the running this year for the top city for coffee among Travel + Leisure readers. In the America’s Favorite Places survey, readers voted on the most magnetic features of major metro areas, from the quality of local coffee to the live-music scene.
Among the top-rated coffee cities, it’s easy to explore the growing trend toward highly customized—and often very creative—cups of joe. In Nashville, you can take short classes to discern the differences between a cup made by a pour-over or AeroPress. In Providence, you can learn to appreciate the finer points of coffee milk, Rhode Island’s official state drink. And in Atlanta, one of the most popular iced coffees blends espresso with another traditional local drink—Coca-Cola.
Such nuances in the coffee experience means that coffee lovers can savor their Slayer-brewed espresso the way wine lovers might sniff and swirl a Cabernet. Jeremy Applebaum, a real estate broker from Overland, KS, admits to being a purist when he samples coffee. “I find that if a black coffee is stellar—sans milk or sugar—then it’s truly a great place for coffee.” And, he adds, “you know it’s a great cup of coffee when you think about it all day.”
Find out where to get your fix in the best coffee cities across the country—and make your opinions heard by voting in the America’s Favorite Places survey.