Revealed: The best cities in the USA for coffee lovers
US cities famous for their coffee culture include Seattle, Portland and Austin. But how did their numbers stack up in our index of the best coffee cities in the US?
In modern America, coffee has become the fuel to sustain our hectic schedules. But coffee lovers across the country are slowing down to enjoy the array of delectable coffee options available. They're turning away from big-chain coffee in favor of lovingly selected, locally roasted beans.
The best coffee shops in America are the small-batch roasters who work hard to deliver an exceptional coffee experience. They live, breathe and love their beans and value every customer. These independent, family-run or small-chain operators offer the best-tasting coffee along with amazing service and hospitality.
So if you're a coffee connoisseur you'll be dying to know where the best US coffee cities are and how your hometown fared. Let's find out.
How we found the best coffee cities in the US
The data doesn't lie. We analyzed independent reviews, prices and availability in compiling this list of where to find the best coffee cities in America.
- First, we built a list of independent and small-chain coffee shops from the 200 largest US cities.
- Next, we gathered customer reviews from various online sources to determine an average customer satisfaction rating per city.
- We then calculated the average price of a medium latte in each city. This established an affordability ranking.
- From there, we looked at the number of coffee shops per person to analyze choice and availability.
- Finally, we created indexes to highlight the 100 best US cities for coffee lovers. Let's check them out.
Highest-rated independent coffee cities in the US
Based on customer reviews, Kansas City ranked as the best independent coffee city in the USA.
We gathered customer ratings from several popular online sites to find which cities ranked highest.
Kansas City, MO
Coffee culture is a serious business in the midwest, so earning positive customer reviews is no walk in the park. Getting the highest customer ratings in the US is a significant achievement for Kansas City and a well-deserved result.
Try one of the best independent coffee shops in Kansas City
An espresso-centric slow bar located in the Waldo neighborhood of South Kansas City. They brew by the cup using clever drippers or as shots through Kansas City's first Slayer espresso machine.
Lavender Honey Soy Latte
Where?: Their main location is 328 W. 85th St, KCMO 64114, or you can also find them trailside at 9918B Holmes, KCMO 64131
Portland has a diverse yet intimate coffee scene. Often the person making your coffee is the same person who owns the coffee shop and roasts the beans. With highly regarded baristas meticulously roasting small-batch coffee, it's no wonder the customers are raving.
Try one of the best independent coffee shops in Portland
A dedicated multi-roaster, supplying a rotating menu of coffees from some of the best roasters across the country. Enjoy your favorite cup of joe, or try their seasonal specials.
Flapjack latte with a mocha in the background
Where?: South Waterfront, 3875 SW Bond Ave, Portland, OR 97239
Fort Wayne, IN
Visitors and locals revel in the up-and-coming art culture, river activities and Midwestern charms in Fort Wayne, which is the second-largest city in Indiana. It also boasts an exceptional coffee scene, with the third-highest customer review score in the country.
Try one of the best independent coffee shops in Fort Wayne
Ophelia's is a women-owned and operated all-day cafe serving craft coffee, elevated comfort food and creative cocktails on the Wells Street Corridor. Customers love the food and drinks but also rave about the decor, the staff and the vibe. Remember to book ahead, it's a popular local hangout and space is at a premium.
Citrus peel cortado
Where?: 603 North Wells Street, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46808
|City||State||Average % of reviewers giving a rating of excellent|
Best value city for coffee lovers in the US
Louisville KY came out on top as the best-value coffee city in the US.
We calculated the average price of a medium latte to find out which American cities offer the best value for money for coffee lovers.
When you think of Louisville, your first thought might not be coffee. Perhaps the Kentucky Derby or Muhammad Ali springs to mind. But customers In Louisville are lucky enough to enjoy the lowest coffee price of anywhere in the country.
A European-style coffee shop with a trio of special lattes named for owner Leo's grandchildren. Try the Luke Latte (salted caramel mocha with whip and caramel drizzle), the Lucy Latte (rose-flavored) and the Lilly Latte (honey, lavender and vanilla).
Campfire mocha and a chocolate chip scones
Where?: 2501 Grinstead Dr, Louisville, KY 40206
San Francisco, CA
Coffee has always been important in San Fran. It's where Folgers and Hills Brothers started, and the city has had a love affair with coffee ever since. With so many superb coffee shops on every street corner, customers are spoiled for choice, and prices are the second-lowest in America.
Try one of the best independent coffee shops in San FranciscoThe Coffee Movement
Serving beans from a wide variety of specialty roasters, this cafe aims to bring a communal vibe and celebratory nature to its coffee experience. Their classics delight as much as their imaginative seasonal drinks.
Coffee cream soda/p>
Where?: 1030 Washington Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
Tuscon is famous for the awe-inspiring Sonoran Desert and starry nights, and it was also the first US city designated by UNESCO as a 'City of Gastronomy.' Their independent coffee scene is booming, with people swapping their prickly pear sun teas for macchiatos and flocking to a growing number of boutique coffee shops that offer exceptional value for money.
Try one of the best independent coffee shops in Tucson
Black Crown Coffee Co is serious about its coffee, roasting around 70 pounds of coffee every two days. They only use beans harvested at peak ripeness, scouring the global coffee market for the finest organic, fair-trade, green beans available.
'White Pony' and 'Black Widow', both off of the specialty menu
Where?: 4024 E Speedway Blvd Tucson, AZ 85712
|City||State||Average cost of a medium latte|
Cities with the greatest choice of independent coffee shops in the US
Pittsburgh has the best coffee shop variety and choice for coffee lovers in America.
We compared the number of independent coffee shops with the population data to find out which cities offered the most choice for coffee lovers. Coffee paradise Portland was pipped at the post by some intense competition, coming in at a respectable 4th place.
Much more famous as 'The Steel City' than 'Coffee Central,' it's great to see Pittsburgh's coffee scene recognized on the national stage. Emerging from its working-class roots, Pittsburgh now has more variety of independent coffee shops for coffee lovers than anywhere in the country.
Try one of the best independent coffee shops in Pittsburgh
Tonic offers a delightful coffee experience with a strong focus on taste and presentation. They use light-roasted beans from SEY, a micro-roaster based in Brooklyn. Their distinctive menu of classic pours and coffee mocktails is creative, balanced and delicious.
Where?: 3410 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15201
New Orleans, LA
The history of New Orleans is inextricably linked with coffee. It was one of the most important coffee ports in the country in the 1700s and remains a key link in the coffee supply chain today. So it's no surprise that New Orleans had the second-best independent coffee shop availability of all US cities.
Try one of the best independent coffee shops in New Orleans
A hip espresso bar located in the historic Factors Row. Pour-over purists and latte lovers alike love their quality brews. Like most customers, you won't be able to resist pairing your coffee with their luscious pastries sourced from local bakeries.
Where?: 822 Perdido Street, Suite E, New Orleans, LA, 70112
Anchorage is better known for glaciers, outdoor adventures and stunning scenery than for coffee culture, but this may be about to change. Locals love the single-origin air-roasted beans available in a dazzling array of coffee huts, carts and shops popping up across the city.
Try one of the best independent coffee shops in Anchorage
Sip offers some of Anchorage's best local beverages and handcrafted food. They proudly serve coffee from famed local roasters Kaladi Brothers and Black Cup. Try their exquisite and creative coffee flights, which change each month.
Caramel apple butter chai, pumpkin spice con panna and a cookie butter breve.
Where?: 510 West Tudor Road, Anchorage, AK 99503
|City||State||People per independent coffee shop|
America's very best cities for coffee lovers
These cities are the cream of the crop. They've ticked every box with the highest combined ranking of customer reviews, value for money and availability.
When we combined all our metrics and looked for our overall winner, Seattle topped the list. We had some surprising entrants in the top 10, with Tempe, AZ, coming in at 3rd and Omaha, NE, at number 8.
A fabulous result for Louisville, crowned as the best US city for coffee lovers. The secret to their success was strong results (and strong coffee) across the board. They ranked 1st for best value coffee, 4th for best customer reviews and 11th for best choice and availability, giving them the highest combined rating of all.
Try one of the best independent coffee shops in Louisville
Quills is a favorite of locals and was established in 2007 by two coffee-loving brothers. It was born to create a space where the people of Louisville could fuel their coffee passion and find community. The baristas know their beans and consider each pour a piece of art.
Cappuccino and coconut scon
Where?: Several Louisville locations including 802 E Main St Louisville, KY 40206
Kansas City, MO
After securing America's highest coffee shop customer ratings, Kansas City also joins the winner's circle with its overall ranking. The midwestern city achieved an enviable second place in our list of the best US coffee cities.
Try one of the best independent coffee shops in Kansas City
Messenger Coffee Co taste hundreds of flavors each season to bring customers new flavors to enjoy. They partner closely with global farmers to develop their businesses ethically and sustainably. In their Crossroads store on Grand Boulevard, you can see their roastery and coffee lab, and enjoy great views with your coffee.
Cortado pick me up
Where?: Three locations including 1624 Grand Blvd Kansas City, MO 64108
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco has achieved a top 3 place in the best coffee cities in the US. Often thought of as the cultural center of the west, San Fran secured 2nd place for value. Solid rankings in the other categories earned them a podium finish in the combined rating.
Try one of the best independent coffee shops in San Francisco
At the Mill, they downplay the effort they go to in creating their divine coffee blends. Their website says 'We brewed some coffee for you,' before letting on that this involves spending months of each year with coffee growers in East Africa and millers in Latin America then hand-roasting the beans in a vintage roaster.
Where?: 736 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117
By combining the different elements we looked at in this study we can reveal the best place in the US for coffee.
The table below shows you the combined ranking score, the elements of which are:
This ranks how much choice there is in each city by looking at the number of independent coffee shops per head of population.
This ranks the average cost of a coffee in cities across the US.
This ranks the average online review rating of coffee shops in each city.
|City||State||Choice index||Cost index||Rating index||Combined overall rank|