Welcome to Eater's very first Coffee Heatmap, a guide to the hot coffeebars of the moment. Rather than feature the perennial favorites — we assume you know which shops sling Stumptown beans — this guide focuses on places that have opened or been significantly updated mostly in the last six months, a year at most.
A few trends emerge in this inaugural Heatmap: The action right now isn't in Seattle or Portland. (Though there are a few sure-to-be-hot places opening in those locales in the next year.) If a shop doesn't roast its own coffee — like even the pocket-square-sized Parlor, stuffed in the back of a Williamsburg barber shop — or furiously rotate between the best coffees from the best roasters all over the country — like both of LA's new joints G&B and Cognoscenti — it isn't hot.
And while for the most intensely focused shops, preparing food was seen as an anathema to perfect coffee, no more: St. Louis's Half & Half serves up fried chicken livers, pork-fat loaded burgers; Houston's Blacksmith features a Vietnamese steak & eggs and housemade yogurt; and while Chicago's Gaslight Coffee Roasters is a Serious Roaster, it deploys house-made syrups for its coffees, dispenses duck eggs in two different breakfast dishes and pickles its own veggies. Also flavored syrups — the Starbucksian kiss of death — are coming back in a big way, but now they're housemade, artsy, and artisanal.
Happy drinking, and as always, feel free to write in with new suggestions. (Many thanks to Sprudge's Jordan Michelman and local Eater editors for the help in putting this list together.)
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