When you crave an expertly brewed cup of coffee, what’s your choice? Do you carefully brew it yourself? Head to your local Starbucks? Buy an inexpensive mug at the nearest convenience store? If you’re like many of us, head to a local independent cafe instead, where the barista knows your name and usual order.
A good independent cafe is more than just a place to grab coffee and a pastry to take on the way to work. The best don’t just offer great coffee (with employees who are passionate about coffee and eager to share their expertise with you); they are comfortable and inviting places to meet friends or a date, get work or just sit with your thoughts and gaze out the window. (These are America’s best coffee towns.)
Many of the best coffees source their beans from the best producers in the world (and in many cases forge relationships with the producers themselves) and roast their own beans in-house. And for those who don’t roast their own beans, they buy theirs from reputable roasters. In some large cafes, where coffee lovers can taste a variety of freshly brewed single origin coffees, discovering the subtle nuances inherent in individual flavors and aromas. Other places get their coffee from a single source and transform it into a wide variety of drinks that go beyond what you’ll find at your local Starbucks. (If that ubiquitous chain is your thing, though, you’ll want to know Starbucks Capitals of America.)
To determine the best independent cafe in each state, 24/7 Tempo reviewed and extrapolated from articles and rankings on a wide range of websites, including Food and wine, Travel and leisure, Fodor, The cultural journey, Free time, Eater, Cheap, Voyage of the Big Seven, and Bark, as well as many lists of state and local cafes.
Click here to see the best independent cafe in each state