Best Coffee Shops in America
Being a great coffee shop isn’t just about the quality of your espresso or the ratio of baristas generally interested in your day compared to condescending coffee snobs. It’s about those special touches that weave a humble purveyor of warm beverages into the fabric of a community’s everyday life. Like free Wi-Fi.
Since nearly every community has at least one caffeine hotspot that serves as a “third place” for people who “can’t get work done at home,” compiling a list of the 21 best was not an easy task. So to separate the gold from grounds we polled our nationwide staff of city editors as well as some of the biggest names in the coffee world.
THE FRENCH PRESS
SANTA BARBARA, CA
Equal parts coffee roaster, bakery, and a community center, the French Press is such a large part of Santa Barbara that they actually hold a farmer’s market in the parking lot. And even though they’ve got one of the top baristas in the world behind the bar, they still pride themselves on customer service over coffee knowledge.
The guy from Ristretto literally wrote the book on home brewing (How to Make Coffee Before You’ve Had Coffee: Ristretto Roasters’ Spectacularly Simple Guide to Brewing at Home), but while he prescribes a wide range of at-home options, the star of his three shops are their Steampunk brewing systems. The most Portland-sounding machine ever, the Steampunk is a variation of syphon brewing that results in a faster and more consistent product than most any other single-cup system. Ristretto also roasts in-house, allowing them to tune-in their flavors to specifically complement the experimental brewing method. (View the full lists here)