America’s Top 20 Coffee Shops

America’s Top 20 Coffee Shops June 15, 2014

You can see the list at this link, but what do you think is the top coffee shop? I say, either Intelligentsia or Hansa or Chestnut Hill or Double Shot.

Coffee people, speak up!

What is it about the perfect cup of coffee that gets us out of our homes and into our favorite local coffee shop? Is it the artisanal, hand-roasted beans? Perfectly balanced lattes prepared by trained professionals? Maybe it’s just the comfy atmosphere of a great coffee shop that keeps us coming back for more.

A truly great coffee shop has to feel special: some are like a cozy home away from home; others ideally sparse, like a clean blank slate in which you can revitalize. A place to recharge with a good book and a steaming drink or to chat up a friend over that perfect pastry you’re definitely going to stop eating after one more bite. The best spots have a bit of magic to them: ambiance with no pretense, friendly baristas, and of course, delicious coffee. Choosing your perfect shop takes time and patience, but once you’ve found it, you’re set for life.

Luckily, The Daily Meal has done some of the legwork for you with our latest list of the top spots for coffee in America in 2014. Working off of last year’s America’s Best Coffee Shops of 2013, we scoured the nation from Portland to Florida looking for truly remarkable spots to pop into for a little cup of heaven. We measured the spots based on a wide range of criteria. First off, of course, we evaluated the coffee. The shops on this list use high-quality beans and have close relationships with their roasters — or are the roasters themselves. Next, we evaluated the culture of the shop. What’s the point of going out for coffee if the space is dreadful? The shops on our list have created great coffee cultures, and even if they have multiple locations, each one feels like a unique, tight-knit community space.

We also took the baristas into consideration. Preparing and serving complicated coffee concoctions is an art form, and on our list, we’ve included some of the best-trained, most knowledgeable baristas around. Don’t worry, we didn’t forget the food! Although we didn’t weight the food as heavily as the coffee, we certainly paid attention to it.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Tara Beth Leach

    I used to be a die hard Intelligensia fan, but then I tried Metropolis. There is no coffee like Metropolis. Period. End of story. Try it and you’ll “rise up and call me blessed.”
    Click here for the world’s greatest coffee——>

  • scotmcknight

    I’ve had Metropolis, TB, but it’s a little sharper in taste — I like the smoother, cocoa-ish tasting coffee.

  • Patrick Coleman

    Slightly on a tangent, what about best academic/seminary coffee shops? I’ll nominate Coffee by the Books at Fuller Pasadena. Small in size but the coffee is excellent.

  • scotmcknight

    Is that one owned by Fuller?

  • Phillip

    The Well, a nonprofit coffeehouse in Nashville. Good coffee. Profits go to digging wells in Africa.

  • Chris Giammona

    Portola Coffee Lab in So Cal –

  • Patrick Coleman

    I think it’s a concession, but I’m not sure.

  • Shane Scott

    Now that we are in Florida we have found a great new place in Plant City called Krazy Kup. If you are ever in the Tampa area Kristi and I will treat you!

  • Nick Jackson

    I wouldn’t say it’s the best coffee shop experience (not the greatest hospitality), but by far my favorite coffee: Ritual in SF.

  • Nick Jackson

    Oh, and saw Heart on the list. Make me wish I lived in Portland.

  • mkmangold

    Alterra, Milwaukee

  • Rory Tyer

    Nothing from Chicago on that list! Huge oversight – the city and the surrounding burbs have some real gems.

  • attytjj466

    Sunergos in Louisville is indeed excellent! I am a regular.

  • patriciamc

    The Well is fantastic! Best coffee.