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The 38 Essential Coffee Shops Across America

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The evolution of coffee from commodity to craft has come a long way in the last few decades. The Third Wave coffee movement has turned many a casual caffeine-seeker into full-blown coffee nerd, and with great reason. Coffee has emerged to encompass various forms, is brewed in increasingly complex and scientific ways and has become a feasible career path for a whole new generation.

Coffee can have a profile as complex as any wine. There's a story behind every cup and whether or not you want to hear it — to each their own — it's being told across the country. The goal of the inaugural Eater National Coffee 38 is to find coffee shops around the US telling those stories and creating a new narrative in the national coffee scene. And of course, they also serve a damn good cup of coffee.

The Coffee 38 Selection Process

Similar to the local Eater 38 lists, the goal here is to include the best of the best, but also make sure to include a fair amount of geographical diversity as well as diversity of style. As such, your favorite place in coffee-centric cities like Portland, Seattle and New York City may not have made the list, but there's always next time. The heaviest-weighted criteria was the quality of the actual coffee, though at times, atmosphere and bonuses (like good food menus) played small parts in selection.

Eater consulted with a panel of coffee lovers and experts across the country consisting of professionals in the field (importers, retailers of coffee equipment), writers with extensive knowledge of the subject, bloggers, the well-traveled, coffee-appreciating chefs, and book authors. There was a general consensus among many of them, though oftentimes there were polarizing opinions. That means that while the bulk of the list was approved by the whole panel, some panelists may disagree with some selections. C'est la vie.

In any case, each listing was reviewed thoroughly, researched and eventually decided upon, though the final say is up to you. Eater fully expects a spirited discourse in the comments for those that feel certain inclusions or exclusions were unwarranted.

As for our panelists, a very heartfelt thanks goes out to: Chérmelle Edwards, Erin Meister, Liz Clayton, Hugh Acheson, Mike Thelin, Matt Buchanan, Michael Gillispie, Karen Kazmierczak, Adam Goldberg, Oliver Strand and all current Eater editors and critics.

Here now, the inaugural Eater National Coffee 38. Entries are listed in alphabetical order. Please feel free to air your inevitable grievances in the comments below.


· All Coffee Coverage on Eater [-E-]
· All Eater 38 Coverage [-E-]

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Barista

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539 NW 13th Ave
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 274-1211
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Called a “revolutionary shop” by Feast Portland co-founder Mike Thelin, this trio of coffee shops not surprisingly also has some of the “best baristas around.” One of its biggest contributions to the third-wave coffee movement was the fact that it was “among the first to push the multi-roaster envelope,” says Erin Meister, coffee professional/freelance writer and editor. Meister adds that it’s “definitely one of the best spots to find out what's fresh and delicious on offer right now from the world's best roasters.” [Photo]

2. Barista Parlor

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519B Gallatin Ave
Nashville, TN 37206
(615) 712-9766
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Chef and coffee-lover Hugh Acheson is a fan of this “huge spot” in Nashville that uses beans from a variety of roasters in a variety of brewing methods, including pulled espressos from a Slayer machine, which is just as badass as it sounds. Accompanying the specialty coffees are plenty of eats like housemade biscuits, killer sandwiches and a bourbon buttermilk waffle. [Photo]

3. Bird Rock Coffee Roasters

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5627 La Jolla Blvd
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 551-1707
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Roast Magazine named this San Diego shop as 2012’s Micro Coffee Roaster of the Year, and with good reason. Throw any adjective their way, and chances are Bird Rock has adopted it as part of their mission: organic, fair trade, shade-grown, sustainable and more. While the highlight is their dedication to sourcing the best beans in the most ethical of ways, they also have a quaint shop in which to drink it. Preparations include specialty espresso pulled from a La Marzocco machine to a made-to-order cup from their pour over bar, using Hario, Beehouse or Chemex. A second Bird Rock is coming to San Diego’s Little Italy this summer.

4. Blacksmith

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1018 Westheimer
Houston, TX 77006
(832) 360-7470
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This coffeeshop in Houston’s eclectic Montrose neighborhood reads like a mashup of Houston restaurant, bar and coffee royalty. Behind the coffee itself is Ecky Prabanto and David Buehrer of Greenway Coffee (one of Houston’s most prolific and obsessed-over roasters), and in a more general sense, it’s part of the Clumsy Butcher restaurant group - which has hands in nationally recognized bars and restaurants like Anvil and Underbelly. Add to that the fluffy homemade biscuits, the Vietnamese steak and eggs, and plenty of parking and it’s pretty much the gold standard in Houston. [Photo]

5. Blue Bottle Coffee

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315 Linden St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 252-7535
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“There’s the feeling that you’ll always be filling in the blank of 'Blue Bottle is … ' with a descriptor surpassing the current cultural zeitgeist,” says Chérmelle Edwards, self-proclaimed coffeetographer and documentarian. Chef Hugh Acheson agrees that it’s one of the best, noting the “line is long, but the coffee is worth it.” He also gives “mega props to a growing empire” that’s taken off with the premise that all coffee will be sold at the peak of freshness, which is to say, no more than 48-hours old. The bi-coastal brew does not seemed to have suffered in quality due to massive expansions into NYC and the Bay Area since it opened the first kiosk in 2005, with more cafes planned for Los Angeles this summer. [Photo]

6. Boxcar Coffee Roasters

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1825 Pearl St
Boulder, CO
(303) 527-1300
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Feast Portland’s Mike Thelin “loves this little spot” that opened in Boulder in 2011 before expanding to Denver in 2013. Beans are roasted in small batches using a 1929 German-built roaster that resides in one of the Denver cafes. Combating the difficulties of their mountainous surroundings, Boxcar developed a special method of brewing called Boilermakr that takes the lower boiling points at high altitude into account. [Photo]

7. Cafe Grumpy

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193 Meserole Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(718) 349-7623
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Eater National associate editor Hillary Dixler gives a “strong endorsement” to Cafe Grumpy among the endless amount of options that exist in New York City. The coffee shop eventually grew to include several locations as well as an in­house roastery as of 2009 — plus its own role in HBO’s Girls — with thoughtfully sourced beans from a staff that includes three certified Q Graders (the coffee equivalent of a sommelier). The result is a cup that’s enough to make even the Cafe Grumpy mascot turn that frown upside down. [Photo]

8. Caffe Streets

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1750 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 278-2739
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Adam Goldberg of A Life Worth Eating praises this Chicago shop: “Excellent Chemex. Great vibe. Very serious. Very consistent.” In addition to those ringing endorsements are single­-origin espressos from a Synesso Hydra machine, pour overs, Syphon and Eva Solo­ prepared cups with various cold brew options that emerge from their multi­roaster format. [Photo]

9. Ceremony Coffee Roasters

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90 Russell St
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 626-0011
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The descriptions of coffees from Ceremony are more nuanced than any wine tasting notes using terms like “soft pear acidity” and “nougat aromatics” to convey the subtleties in each varietal. In part, it’s because they’re “very serious about sourcing and roasting the best coffee,” says Atlas Coffee Importers’ Karen Kazmierzcak. “Plus they offer many public education events and more advanced lab classes” which shows how committed to the craft they really are. The coffee is available in their coffeehouse as well as wholesale and can be found at places like Filter in D.C. [Photo]

10. Cognoscenti Coffee Bar

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6114 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 363-7325
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“The sleepy coffee hollow of Culver City is now awake,” says coffeetographer Chérmelle Edwards. And that it is after a visit to this modern, minimal space brought to life by a former architect that started building buzz after a series of caffeinated pop-ups. In addition to the uncluttered space are espressos and single-cup coffees made with beans sourced from a variety of high-quality roasters. [Photo]

11. Colectivo Coffee

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2999 N Humboldt Blvd
Milwaukee, WI 53212
(414) 292-3320
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The city of Milwaukee has always been known as a beer town, but after 20 years in the coffee business, Colectivo (formerly Alterra) has ensured it’s also known as a coffee town. The local roaster, with plenty of cafes scattered throughout the area, has been commended for their commitment to quality sourcing, environmentally friendly practices, and onsite roasting at their new headquarters which is part roastery and part cafe. According to Karen Kazmierzcak of Atlas Coffee Importers, it also embodies “real community spirit” that sets them apart. [Photo]

12. Cultivar Coffee

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1146 Peavy Rd
Dallas, TX 75218
(972) 677-7895
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“My favorite of all the new roasters in Dallas; and served by top restaurants like FT33. Plus, the shop itself is a great space. Definitely the best coffee spot in the Big D,” says Mike Thelin of Feast Portland. The owners are self-proclaimed “OCD” about the preparation of their carefully selected and roasted beans, making for plenty of single-origin coffees and consistently well-pulled espressos. [Photo]

13. Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits

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508 Austin Ave.
Waco, TX 76701

Dichotomy made an appearance on the Coffee Heatmap from January of this year and remained hot enough to make the Coffee 38. Sprudge calls it “nothing short of extraordinary,” noting its sophisticated multi-roaster format. It’s “the first shop in Texas to implement the Modbar Modular Espresso System,” resulting in “an almost 360-degree view of shot extraction.” The titular dichotomy comes in when the added elements of liquor, beer and wine enter the equation, making for a double throw down of excellent drinks. [Photo]

14. Dwelltime

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364 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 714-5536
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This coffee shop in Cambridge is owned and operated by local coffee roaster, Barismo. Beloved in its own right, Barismo (which is moving its current roasting facilities from inside their namesake roastery/cafe in Arlington to a space inside a Somerville brewery) focuses on small batches of sustainably sourced, directly traded coffees for both wholesale accounts as well as brewing in dwelltime. The coffee shop recently introduced “Analog Weekends” where laptops are not permitted at tables and guests are encouraged to unplug to stimulate actual face-to-face conversations. [Photo]

15. Elemental Coffee Roasters

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815 N Hudson Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
(405) 633-1703
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Coffee professional/freelance writer Erin Meister says “Elemental is a great, conscious, small roaster who has taken a long time to build a strong reputation as a wholesaler and now has a truly lovely roasting and retail facility.” In conjunction with their retail outlet is Elemental’s coffeeshop which serves the full array of espresso-based drinks made with their roasts, plus food and chocolate from local purveyors. [Photo]

16. Espresso Vivace

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532 Broadway E
Seattle, WA 98102
(206) 860-2722
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This 1988-established coffee legend is “sweet espresso perfection with the most beautiful foam,” according to Atlas Coffee Importers’ Karen Kazmierzcak. And the praise continues with coffee professional and writer, Erin Meister, noting: “There's all coffee everywhere else, and then there's Espresso Vivace: I doubt any barista worth her salt would be able to call this a ‘career’ if it weren't for David Schomer's endless tinkering, improving, experimenting, and plain old geeking out about espresso. If there was a coffee equivalent of the Vatican, this'd be it. Definitely worth a pilgrimage.” [Photo]

17. Everyman Espresso

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136 E 13th St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 533-0524
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Many panelists suggested Everyman as an essential coffee shop, and the name says it all. “I love this place,” says Top Chef judge Hugh Acheson, adding “They’re total pros. No BS. Just great coffee.” Serving Counter Culture roasts paired with local dairy, it’s a simple shop with simply great coffee. [Photo]

18. Filter Coffeehouse & Espresso Bar

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1726 20th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 234-5837
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Erin Meister, coffee professional/writer: “This shop feels like a best-kept secret in D.C. Stepping down into that little coffee cave feels like you're walking into your own private caffeine clubhouse, meeting up with other members and fellow travelers even if you don't know another soul in the place.” The intimate atmosphere, the roasted beans from Annapolis neighbors, Ceremony (who also makes an appearance on this list), and an array of preparations make it essential to the D.C. coffee scene. [Photo]

19. Four Barrel Coffee

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375 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 896-4289
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Feast Portland’s Mike Thelin counts this as his favorite among all the Bay Area coffee shops, while smdlr blogger Chérmelle Edwards says, “Connect the dots. They are all here.” The quality begins with Four Barrel’s commitment to sourcing beans from around the world in a sustainable, ethical manner and then roasting them with utmost care. It all comes to fruition in their cozy cafes, which are sans Wi-Fi, electrical outlets and soy milk. May the lactose intolerant beware.[Photo]

20. George Howell Coffee Co.

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311 Walnut St
Newtonville, MA 02460
(617) 332-6886
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“Anybody who doesn't look up to George Howell doesn't belong in specialty coffee,” says Erin Meister, coffee professional and freelance writer. “George Howell has been doing specialty coffee since before most of us were even allowed to get caffeinated. He has always sourced some of the most interesting beans and undertaken the most cutting-edge experiments in preparation, preservation, aging, processing, and coffee buying in the industry.” The highly revered coffee can be found at their fairly new (2012) cafe/coffee lab just outside of Boston and in fine establishments across the country, including Top Chef judge, Hugh Acheson’s Empire State South in Atlanta.[Photo]

21. Go Get Em Tiger

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230 N Larchmont Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90004

If you’d like to order your coffee like you order your cocktails, belly up to the bar at Go Get Em Tiger. Brought to LA by the folks behind the acclaimed G&B, this bar not only makes baristas more accessible with its open design, but also has a sense of fun when it comes to making drinks. Made with quality beans from roasters like Heart, 49th Parallel and George Howell, Eater LA reported that the shop spent half a day last Thanksgiving “recreating the drinks” made famous at Starbucks during the holidays (think pumpkin spice lattes and such), though instead using “real ingredients and the care of a competition barista.” [Photo]

22. Heart Coffee

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2211 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 206-6602
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“Essential!” is the single word Feast Portland’s Mike Thelin uses to express his thoughts on this Portland institution. Just as succinct, smdlr’s Chérmelle Edwards thinks the baristas pull “God shots” here. No matter how it’s described, this Portland roaster/duo of cafes is one by which many others are measured. Why is that? Their foundation is built not on fair trade — though they have some interesting thoughts on the matter — or organic or any other similarly labeled coffees, but a primary “focus on taste, quality, & clarity” where one-size-fits-all labels don’t apply. [Photo]

23. Houndstooth Coffee

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4200 N Lamar Blvd Ste 120
Austin, TX 78756
(512) 531-9417
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Though this Austin-headquartered outfit made their first foray into the world of roasting recently through Tweed Coffee [https://squareup.com/market/tweed-coffee-roasters], they’re still a shop that features a variety of roasters like Counter Culture, Madcap (also on this 38), Texas’ own Cuvee Coffee and more. Sprudge “humbly” considers Houndstooth to be among the “the best multiroaster cafes in the United States." Excellent baristas and great service round out the argument that all the fawning is warranted. [Photo]

24. Intelligentsia Coffee

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3123 N Broadway St
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 348-8058
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“Praise be given,” says chef Hugh Acheson of the godfathers of Third Wave coffee. And Mike Thelin of Feast Portland makes it clear that “no list is legit without them.” But perhaps coffee professional/writer Erin Meister said it best: “You don't have to be intelligent to love this coffee, but you definitely are intelligent if you do. They put out some of the best and most responsible coffees in the world, period. They also were among the first companies to really sharpen the language about and the focus on seasonality and freshness, which has been a game-changer for both other coffee pros and for coffee drinkers.” Add to that their cult-like status in cities outside of their hometown — Los Angeles for one — and there’s no choice but to add to that praise Acheson was advocating. [Photo]

25. Joule Coffee

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223 S Wilmington St
Raleigh, NC 27601
(919) 424-7422
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“Love me some Ashley C[hristensen],” says Top Chef judge Hugh Acheson. “When her heart is set on a business she rolls it out better than anyone in the world. I was there in week one and it was stellar. Great food and great coffee. Such attention to brewing.” That attention includes single-origin drip coffee, pour overs, iced pour overs, espresso and cold brew made with Counter Culture roasts. And it doesn’t hurt that the food menu is just as exciting as the coffee with poutine, roasted tomato BLTs and twice-cooked grits among the intriguing selections. The cocktail, wine and beer list ensures its well-roundedness. [Photo]

26. Madcap Coffee

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98 Monroe Ctr. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
(616) 242-9194
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Madcap is a big deal. The majority of their coffee focus is on roasting and fostering relationships with coffee growers around the world, which is done by visiting farms personally, no matter how remote. What isn’t remote is the cafe attached to the roastery in Grand Rapids, where the adoring public can get a very fresh cup straight from the source. In keeping with their passion for the craft, there’s also an offsite lab and training facility in Washington D.C. for fostering such pursuits. [Photo]

27. Milstead & Co.

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770 N 34th St
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 659-4814
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“They’re serious about extraction,” says Atlas Coffee Importers’ Karen Kazmierzcak. In those extractions are what Kazmierzcak thinks are the “best coffees from multiple roasters” that include familiar names found all over this list like George Howell, Coava, Stumptown and even as far away as Oslo, Norway’s Tim Wendelboe. Topping it off like the perfect crema on a well-pulled espresso is a “comfortable and beautiful shop with fantastic artwork” in which to drink it all. [Photo]

28. Octane Coffee

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1009 Marietta St NW
Atlanta, GA 30318
(404) 815-9886
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Top Chef judge Hugh Acheson loves this small chain of shops located in his home base of Atlanta, which also sports a “smart design and great coffee.” Their selections include the full array of espresso-based drinks - some of them sweetened with housemade chocolate, caramel and vanilla syrups, plus single-origin French press and pour overs. But wait, there’s more: their booze program is almost as equally revered and the Octane concept has been successfully expanded into the neighboring state of Alabama in recent months. [Photo]

29. Oddly Correct Coffee Bar

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3940 Main St
Kansas City, MO 64111
(816) 555-5555
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Michael Gillispie, senior managing partner at Cup and Brew: “Oddly Correct sources top quality coffee beans from various parts of the world; this is not your average Arabica. Each variety has its own unique taste and mouthfeel that is brought out through the staff’s superb roasting techniques. If you’re used to ordering mocha or adding a lot of foo-foo to your drink, then Oddly Correct is NOT for you. No sugar or creamer is available here and that is a good thing.” Also adorable to note they deliver fresh coffee of the week to subscribers via bicycle http://oddlycorrect.bigcartel.com/product/local-kansas-city-pick-up inside their hometown of Kansas City. [Photo]

30. Panther Coffee

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2390 NW 2nd Ave
Miami, FL 33127
(305) 677-3952
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Competition-level baristas — including Camila Ramos, who recently won first place in the Big Eastern SE Barista Competition — and great house-roasted coffees are hallmarks at this duo of Miami shops. According to the Miami New Times, it’s the sourcing that takes them “to an elite level” when it comes to the latter. [Photo]

31. Parlor Coffee

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84 Havemeyer St
Brooklyn, NY 11211

It’s a pop-up espresso-only bar in the back of a barbershop in Williamsburg, so yes, there’s that; but before your eyes roll too far back, consider the fact that Adam Goldberg of A Life Worth Eating finds it to be the “most promising micro-roaster in NYC” at the moment. Add to that their rapidly growing list of respectable wholesale clients, a permanent location on the horizon (near the Brooklyn Navy Yard) and the recent addition of Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Kochere to their line-up and you have one of New York’s strongest contenders. [Photo]

32. Peace Coffee Shop

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3262 Minnehaha Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55406
(612) 877-7760
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According to their parent organization’s website — the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) — Peace Coffee was “the country's first 100-percent certified organic and fair trade coffee company.” What started in 1996 as an import arm of the IATP has blossomed into a full blown roasting operation and coffeeshop also run by the non-profit organization. As for the actual coffee, the bar in Wonderland Park offers four black-brewed coffees, two signature brews on tap, espresso, cold brew, plus limited run beans extracted manually via Hario, Chemex or French Press at any given time. [Photo]

33. Ritual Coffee Roasters

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1026 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 641-1024
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“Ritual is to coffee as couplet to poetry,” says Chérmelle Edwards of smdlr. Writer and coffee professional Erin Meister adds, “These guys definitely ushered in a whole new generation of specialty coffee in San Francisco. Their focus on the beans rather than the roast or even necessarily the barista were a sort of turning-point for a lot of other coffee companies.” [Photo]

34. Spitfire Coffee

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627 St. Peter
New Orleans, LA 70116
(334) 444-0532

Sure there’s the classic chicory coffee from Cafe du Monde, but when it comes to specialty shops, New Orleans turns to Spitfire for their fix. Among those who’ve enjoyed an espresso here are Top Chef judge Hugh Acheson who was happy to find “really great coffee in a coffee desert.” Their location inside the French Quarter makes for a charming locale to enjoy a pour over from Orleans Coffee Exchange, Conundrum or Panther Coffee, or an equally satisfying espresso. [Photo]

35. Stumptown Coffee Roasters

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4525 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97206
(503) 230-7702
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“What coffee roaster/shop has had more impact nationally than Stumptown?” asks Feast Portland’s Mike Thelin. “The answer is none.” Top Chef judge Hugh Acheson refers to it as “ground zero,” and coffee professional and writer Erin Meister insists it “was definitely one of the leaders among roasters elevating the craft of coffee to a new level.” With locations that have crept into coffee-powerhouse cities like New York, Seattle and Los Angeles, they’ve become a national brand with instant recognition among even the most amateur of coffee enthusiasts. [Photo]

36. Ultimo Coffee @ Brew

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1900 S 15th St
Philadelphia, PA 19145
(215) 339-5177
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“This is hands-down one of my favorite coffee shops in the country,” says coffee professional/writer, Erin Meister. “The baristas are some of the best in the business, the espresso is always top-shelf-level, the hospitality is unbeatable, and at the original location, you can also score some awesome craft beer to take home to follow up all that caffeine. Aaron Ultimo's shop was definitely a turning-point in the Philly coffee scene; he helped this Brotherly Love coffee community grow up quick.” [Photo]

37. Verve Coffee Roasters

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104 Bronson St, #19
Santa Cruz, CA 95062
(831) 471-8469
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Verve is first and foremost a coffee roaster and secondly a trio of coffee bars in Santa Cruz, plus a pop-up in Los Angeles. The secret to their success isn’t much of a secret: Verve is known for sourcing some of the highest quality coffee beans from around the world and roasting them to coax the nuances out of each one. The roastery/cafe is where all the magic happens in their 1965 German-made Probat roaster, made all the merrier with fresh espresso and barista-made coffees onsite, though their roasts are available for retail and used at coffee shops around the nation. [Photo]

38. Victrola Cafe and Roastery

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310 E Pike St
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 624-1725
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Opening as a simple coffee bar in 2000, Victrola eventually expanded to include their own roasting operation three years later. Since then, Victrola’s mix of comfortable 1920s-inspired cafes and carefully roasted beans have proven a successful combination, with three locations around Seattle serving what Atlas Coffee Importers’ Karen Kazmierczak says is coffee that’s both “well sourced and prepared.” [Photo]

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1. Barista

539 NW 13th Ave, Portland, OR 97209

Called a “revolutionary shop” by Feast Portland co-founder Mike Thelin, this trio of coffee shops not surprisingly also has some of the “best baristas around.” One of its biggest contributions to the third-wave coffee movement was the fact that it was “among the first to push the multi-roaster envelope,” says Erin Meister, coffee professional/freelance writer and editor. Meister adds that it’s “definitely one of the best spots to find out what's fresh and delicious on offer right now from the world's best roasters.” [Photo]

539 NW 13th Ave
Portland, OR 97209

2. Barista Parlor

519B Gallatin Ave, Nashville, TN 37206

Chef and coffee-lover Hugh Acheson is a fan of this “huge spot” in Nashville that uses beans from a variety of roasters in a variety of brewing methods, including pulled espressos from a Slayer machine, which is just as badass as it sounds. Accompanying the specialty coffees are plenty of eats like housemade biscuits, killer sandwiches and a bourbon buttermilk waffle. [Photo]

519B Gallatin Ave
Nashville, TN 37206

3. Bird Rock Coffee Roasters

5627 La Jolla Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037

Roast Magazine named this San Diego shop as 2012’s Micro Coffee Roaster of the Year, and with good reason. Throw any adjective their way, and chances are Bird Rock has adopted it as part of their mission: organic, fair trade, shade-grown, sustainable and more. While the highlight is their dedication to sourcing the best beans in the most ethical of ways, they also have a quaint shop in which to drink it. Preparations include specialty espresso pulled from a La Marzocco machine to a made-to-order cup from their pour over bar, using Hario, Beehouse or Chemex. A second Bird Rock is coming to San Diego’s Little Italy this summer.

5627 La Jolla Blvd
La Jolla, CA 92037

4. Blacksmith

1018 Westheimer, Houston, TX 77006

This coffeeshop in Houston’s eclectic Montrose neighborhood reads like a mashup of Houston restaurant, bar and coffee royalty. Behind the coffee itself is Ecky Prabanto and David Buehrer of Greenway Coffee (one of Houston’s most prolific and obsessed-over roasters), and in a more general sense, it’s part of the Clumsy Butcher restaurant group - which has hands in nationally recognized bars and restaurants like Anvil and Underbelly. Add to that the fluffy homemade biscuits, the Vietnamese steak and eggs, and plenty of parking and it’s pretty much the gold standard in Houston. [Photo]

1018 Westheimer
Houston, TX 77006

5. Blue Bottle Coffee

315 Linden St, San Francisco, CA 94102

“There’s the feeling that you’ll always be filling in the blank of 'Blue Bottle is … ' with a descriptor surpassing the current cultural zeitgeist,” says Chérmelle Edwards, self-proclaimed coffeetographer and documentarian. Chef Hugh Acheson agrees that it’s one of the best, noting the “line is long, but the coffee is worth it.” He also gives “mega props to a growing empire” that’s taken off with the premise that all coffee will be sold at the peak of freshness, which is to say, no more than 48-hours old. The bi-coastal brew does not seemed to have suffered in quality due to massive expansions into NYC and the Bay Area since it opened the first kiosk in 2005, with more cafes planned for Los Angeles this summer. [Photo]

315 Linden St
San Francisco, CA 94102

6. Boxcar Coffee Roasters

1825 Pearl St, Boulder, CO