Swing by your favorite local coffee shop for a cup before settling in to read this story. You’ll be craving a cup of joe long before you reach number 10 on this list. Don’t settle for the stale sludge at the bottom of your communal office pot!
Equal Exchange Cafe, Boston: Like your coffee with a conscience? Grab a cup from Boston’s Equal Exchange Cafe, which offers fair-trade, locally roasted, organic coffee. You can top off your coffee with milk from local family dairy farmers. Plus, the cafe focuses on recycling and composting, and sometimes features educational presentations from farmers.
Bridgeport Coffeebar, Chicago: Reap the benefits of Bridgeport Coffee’s roasting operation at their cozy coffee bar. They’ve got a number of single origin roasts and artisanal blends on offer—get your beans of choice prepared pour-over for the best brew.
Lighthouse Roasters, Seattle: If a coffeehouse is going to survive in the caffeine capital of Seattle, it’s going to be good. Lighthouse Roasters stays ahead of the pack by hand roasting small batches of premium beans in vintage cast iron roasters every day.
Nook Bakery and Coffee Bar, Philadelphia: Come here if you want a good cup of coffee, but not if you’re in a particularly big rush; every single cup is made either via French press or hand-pour from local or regionally roasted beans.
Spunky Monkey House of Coffee, Portland: We know, we know. Sullying a cup of java with flavorings is coffee blasphemy to purists. But we think even the most die-hard black coffee drinker would be tempted by the flavor syrups available at Spunky Monkey House of Coffee (like the house-made caramel, organic maple, and honey-vanilla). Unconvinced? The house-roasted coffee will be just fine straight-up.
Walton Coffee House, Atlanta: Break from your routine of sullenly handing over $5 for a cup of Starbucks coffee and drinking it in rush-hour traffic. Head to this Secret Garden-esque location (it’s in a gated complex) where you can drink delicious brew on the banks of the Chattahoochee River. The shop is a Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Company shop (their motto: “Drink Coffee. Do Good.”), which pays a fair wage to the farmers of Rwanda for their beans.
Ninth Street Espresso, New York City: You won’t find any bug-laced frappuccinos here. In fact, Ninth Street Espresso offers only nine different drink options—an espresso, espresso with milk (in three, six, nine, or twelve ounces), or brewed coffee brewed in an urn, cold, or chemex.
Four Barrel Coffee, San Francisco: Enjoy a great cup of coffee, and maybe actually talk about it with the people around you at Four Barrel Coffee. There’s no Wi-Fi or computer plugs in this cafe, so the focus is all on the java. Limited on time? You can get a pour-over or single origin espresso of any coffee on the menu.
M.E. Swing Coffee House, Washington, D.C.: Swing’s have been in the roasting business since 1916, so you know they’re doing something right. Taste the fruits of their labor at their D.C. cafe.
White Rock Coffee, Dallas: Warm weather’s almost here, so keep White Rock Coffee in mind for your iced coffee fix. They use a cold brewed espresso for all iced coffee and blended drinks. Plus, their certified Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance Certified beans are roasted in-house.
With coffee shops on every corner in the U.S., it wasn’t easy to pick just 10. Tell us about your favorite place to grab a cup in the comments below!