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. 2 Seattle
America's Best Coffee Cities
No. 2 Seattle
The city that gave the world Starbucks fell to No. 2 again—perhaps because some T+L readers think only of the coffee giant when they come here. But Seattle, which also ranked well for bookstores and boutiques, supports plenty of smaller coffee operations (some even dubbed “nana-roasters”) that roast their own beans. Consider Slate Coffee Roasters in Ballard, or Convoy Coffee, a bike-powered coffee cart that does pour-overs, AeroPress, and iced coffee. If you can’t come to Seattle without visiting the mother ship, check out the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room, a 15,000-square-foot flagship that will offer small-batch roasts when it opens December 2014 in Capitol Hill.
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.