The Coolest Coffee Shops in the U.S.

Sey Coffee
Photo: Courtesy of Sey Coffee

Nothing says good morning like a great cup of coffee. And while there are coffee shops that can do the job on seemingly every corner, some are simply cooler to hang out in than others — and don't forget, studies suggest that drinking coffee (and alcohol) may help you live longer.

Ezra Baker, a certified Q Grader by the Coffee Quality Institute (basically a coffee sommelier), said he looks for a sense of "genuineness" and a cool aesthetic when choosing a coffee shop.

"Coffee shops are a place where you can be alone and not feel weird," said Baker, who was also the general manager of the Stumptown Coffee Roasters in New York City's Ace Hotel, adding that he looks for "friendly, but not overly friendly baristas."

From the unique pairing of coffee and tacos at Muchacho in Atlanta to decadent flavor combinations like peanut butter mousse and dark chocolate in latte form at The Wormhole Coffee in Chicago, coffee shops throughout the U.S. are delivering a high standard and welcoming guests to not only get their caffeine fix, but to luxuriate in the experience.

Baker is a professional coffee taster, so his opinion is grounded in a lot of research. Below are his picks for the best coffee shops around the country.

Black Fox Coffee Co - New York City, NY

Black Fox Coffee
Quentin Bacon

Try Black Fox Coffee Co.'s All Day blend (with hints of honey, toffee, and red apple), or a sesame chai latte, made with Oatly and Dona chai concentrate, at this airy Financial District coffee shop or its other locations — West 33rd Street (at the Pendry Hotel), East 45th Street, or Wall Street (reopening soon). Start your day off right with a Pain D'avignon almond croissant or a slice of Matcha (green tea) bundt cake.

Coffee Manufactory - Los Angeles, CA

Coffee Manufactory started in 2016 when it roasted two blends for Tartine Bakery, but has since expanded, opening up shops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seoul, South Korea. Sample the Africa coffee blend, with 100% Ethiopia Geta Bora (with notes of peach, tangerine, honey, and creme soda), or the dark roast, made with beans from Colombia and Honduras (with notes of red currant, roasted hazelnut, and Medjool dates) at the flagship roastery in LA.

Gimme Coffee - Ithaca, NY

Gimme! Coffee
Courtesy of Gimme! Coffee

The original location of this roaster opened in 2000 in Ithaca, New York. They've since opened four more shops in the area and tend to look for "worn spaces that call for a little revitalization." Try one of their single-origin roasts like Honduras Sagastume or Guatemala Guaya'b.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters - Portland, OR

Stumptown Coffee
Carly Diaz

Walk into a Stumptown Coffee Roasters cafe and you'll feel like you've fallen into a pool of freshly roasted beans (that's how good it smells). What started as a single coffee shop in Portland in 1999 has since grown into a mini coffee empire, but that doesn't make their well-rounded — almost creamy — Hair Bender blend or bottled cold brew any less delicious.

Sey Coffee - Brooklyn, NY

Sey Coffee
Courtesy of Sey Coffee

Relax beneath cascading plants and sip a meticulously thought-out latte in this East Williamsburg cafe. Sey Coffee takes their brews so seriously that they offer customers the chance to "sniff, slurp and discuss" the coffee inside the roastery once a month.

The Wormhole Coffee - Chicago, IL

Set in the heart of Chicago's funky Wicker Park neighborhood, The Wormhole Coffee offers everything from classic lattes to a brew called the Koopa-Troopa, a peanut butter mousse and dark chocolate latte, which sounds like heaven in a cup. With syrups and sauces all made in-house or sourced locally, Chicagoans are getting their caffeine fix and then some.

Madcap Coffee - Grand Rapids, MI

Madcap Coffee
Courtesy of Madcap Coffee

This Michigan-based coffee shop takes coffee really seriously — they taste about 3,000 coffees every year to find the best varieties to bring to their customers, as they have been since 2008. That painstaking decision-making process results in one amazing cup of coffee that's guaranteed to make the start to your morning great. Pair it with a spinach and feta croissant or yogurt sweetened with oats, pepitas, almonds, warming spices, and dried cherries.

Everyman Espresso - New York City, NY

With its relaxed neighborhood coffee shop vibes, Everyman Espresso feels like it was made for … well … every man (and woman). With two locations in New York City — in the East Village, Manhattan, and Park Slope, Brooklyn — grab a pastry and a cappuccino and sit by the window to watch the city pass you by.

Barista - Portland, OR

Barista Coffee
Getty Images

The cozy cafes of Barista perfectly channel the warmth of Portland, making it the perfect place to relax with a steaming-hot cup of single-origin coffee and a good book. Try it with Oregon hazelnut syrup or house vanilla for an extra sweet kick.

G&B Coffee - Los Angeles, CA

G&B Coffee
Courtesy of G & B Coffee

Set inside the historic Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles, G&B Coffee offers classics like filtered coffee and espresso but allows their creativity to show with options like Business and Pleasure — half double espresso and half almond macadamia cappuccino with espresso dusted on top with a cup of their fizzy hoppy tea as a palette cleanser. Try it with an English muffin and housemade jam or overnight oats for a great morning pick-me-up.

Spiller Park Coffee - Atlanta, GA

With a touch of nostalgia and whimsy (like their sign that almost ironically laments a time when coffee was only 5 cents), Spiller Park Coffee is the kind of cafe you want to while away the day in. Try a Shake, Shake, their version of an iced latte, or an iced Cola-Cocktail, made with espresso, Cola, coconut milk, star anise, and Assam syrup. Pair it with green tomato shakshuka or their cinnamon-sugar toast and you really won't ever have to leave.

Cherry Street Coffee House - Seattle, WA

Bagels and breakfast sandwiches at Cherry Street Coffee House in Seattle
Cherry Street Coffee House

Seattle is known for its rainy weather, and this Seattle-based mini coffee chain is the perfect place to spend a cozy afternoon when the climate isn't exactly cooperating. Settle in at a table and sip a dirty chai latte (chai tea with a double shot of espresso) or a Milkyway (mocha with caramel sauce). Their menu also has breakfast sandwiches — hello, egg and cheese with roasted herb-garlic butter — and a dizzying selection of sandwiches and salads.

Ritual - San Francisco, CA

Ritual Coffee
Courtesy of Ritual Coffee Roasters

The folks at Ritual Coffee Roasters put scrupulous thought into their coffee because, as they put it, "pretty much everybody who works here has had a moment where a really, really good cup of coffee changed their lives." Grab a black coffee or indulge in their Rainbow Falls or Sweet Tooth seasonal espresso. Their airy cafes channel the easygoing nature of San Francisco.

Muchacho - Atlanta, GA

You may not think of tacos and coffee as going together, but that's exactly what this Atlanta coffee shop is offering and patrons can't seem to get enough. Try the Baja fish, barbacoa, chicken mole, pork belly, or Al Pastor taco for a lunchtime kick. Pair it with an Americano or iced coffee for a funky combination that matches the almost-'70s style decor.

Andytown Coffee Roasters - San Francisco, CA

Andytown coffee roasters
Scott Lingner

When you walk into the original location of this San Francisco coffee shop, you're greeted by tons of natural light, clean lines, and a super fancy, retro-designed Kees van der Westen espresso machine. Try the Short Strand espresso, made to be sweet with notes of toffee and milk chocolate, or the Wind & Sea blend, which was inspired by a long Ocean Beach surf session and, according to Andytown, is best enjoyed on a foggy day — good thing San Francisco has no shortage of those.

Red Bay Coffee - Oakland, CA

Red Bay Coffee
Courtesy of Red Bay Coffee

Red Bay Coffee's motto is simple: Beautiful coffee to the people. It's in that vein that they not only offer high-quality coffee but also seek to be inclusive of those who they serve and hire, including "those who have traditionally been left out of the specialty coffee industry, especially people of color, the formerly incarcerated, women and people with disabilities." At their public roastery location in Oakland, they invite you to ask all your questions about brewing and see how the coffee is roasted.

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