I’m guilty of both a caffeine addiction and a picky palate, so easily tracking down coffee spots is fairly critical to my enjoyment of a city. It’s not rocket science abroad, where quality shakeratos and Nesfrappes are the lay of the land, but domestically, we’re still getting our sea legs when it comes to a good cup of Joe. That’s where the Best Coffee city guides come into play: the collection of iPhone, Android, and iPad apps points travelers in the direction of reputable cafes, provides tips on what to order at each spot, and—for the uber geeky among us—denotes the types of beans, grinders, and machines employed there.
While the iPad version offers the option to share recommendations on Facebook and Twitter, the mobile platform carries over every other feature, and seems more suited to the apps’ on-the-go nature. The apps are still in their infant phases, and have plenty of room to grow: given that coffee lovers (myself included) are beyond vocal about their preferences, I’d love to see the 5-star rating system expand to include user-generated comments. And for those times when I’d like a beautiful pastry to go with my perfectly-crafted espresso (read: always), I’d personally be curious to see the app include specs on food, or expand their selection of cafes to include restaurants and bakeries with respectable coffee programs.
All that said, there’s an amazing amount of information in these apps just waiting to be explored, be it their list of the top 25 cafes in a city, the area’s locally employed roasters (Queens-based Dallis Bros. Coffee in NYC; Blue Bottle in San Francisco, for example), or maps offering options by proximity. Editions exist for London, NYC, San Francisco, and most recently, Los Angeles—and we hear Tokyo is coming soon.
Nikki Ekstein is an editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.