“Coffee is a lot more than just a drink,” Gertrude Stein said. “It’s something happening.” You don’t just chug a coffee back like a glass of water or Gatorade. You drink it as part of a routine; it creates space to think, to hatch a plan for a successful day while the caffeine slips into your bloodstream, providing the fuel to get it all done. It’s not too much to say that for most of us, mornings revolve around a cup of coffee.

And America’s coffee culture has changed in the last 15-odd years. With the third wave of coffee, consumers moved on from fast coffee from Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and Caribou Coffee. They want a coffee with a story. They want to know where the beans were sourced from, how they’re farmed, where they’re roasted and how they’re brewed. The modern coffee consumer doesn’t mind paying a few dollars more and waiting a few extra minutes for a cup of coffee made with quality beans and attention to detail — and there’s no shortage of coffee shops up to the task.

Admittedly, there are too many specialty coffeehouses, cafes and roasteries in the US that are worthy of praise for us to make a definitive “best of” list. But these are the coffee spots that we at GP have visited and where we have consumed our fair share of coffee. If you’re in the neighborhood, we suggest you stop in and do the same.

Criteria for Inclusion: Choosing the “best” of anything that requires a subjective assessment of quality will always lead to debate. The coffee shops on this list are ones that we either have frequented personally (at some point) or are inspired to, thanks to their roasting methods, sourcing philosophies, ambience and, most of all, the artisanal coffee that comes with a story.
GP’s 25 Favorite Coffee Shops Across America

Addiction Coffee House – New Orleans, LA
Angry Catfish Bicycle Shop and Coffee Bar – Minneapolis, MN
Anthology Coffee – Detroit, MI
Black Tap Coffee – Charleston, SC
Blue Copper Coffee Room – Salt Lake City, UT
Boxcar Coffee Roasters – Boulder, CO
Cartel Coffee Lab – Tempe, AZ
Catalina Coffee Shop – Houston, TX
The Coffee Fox – Savannah, GA
Crema – Nashville, TN
Cultivar Coffee – Dallas, TX
Dirt Cowboy Cafe – Hanover, NH
Espresso Vivace – Seattle, WA
Heart Roasters Eastside Cafe – Portland, OR
Kickapoo Coffee Roasters – Milwaukee, WI
Madcap Coffee – Grand Rapids, MI
Ozo Coffee Company – Boulder, CO
Panther Coffee – Miami, FL
Peregrine Espresso – Washington, D.C.
Sightglass Coffee – San Francisco, CA
Speckled Ax – Portland, ME
Third Rail Coffee – Manhattan, NY
Uncommon Grounds Coffee and Tea – Burlington, VT
Verve Coffee Roasters – Santa Cruz, CA
1369 Coffee House – Cambridge, MA

Reader’s Choice Coffee Shops:
We asked for your input on what shops you love that didn’t land on our picks. So far, we’ve had some solid picks from readers, and we’ve compiled the list below. If you have a suggestion for great shop, send us a note at: tips@gearpatrol.com.

Sump Coffee – St. Louis, MO | Glenn Z.
Bird Rock, James Coffee Co., Dark Horse, Modern Times – San Diego, CA | Josh H.
Rising Star – Cleveland, OH | Andrew E.
High Five Coffee, Asheville, NC | Michael T.
Lux Central – Phoenix, AZ | Jesse B.
Menotti’s Coffee Stop – Venice, CA | Alex U.
Intelligentsia – Multiple Locations | David V.
Slate, Elm – Seattle, WA | Samuel K.
Corvus, Stowaway, Crema, Amethyst, Novo – Denver, CO | Tom K.
Steam Espresso, Blackeye – Denver, CO | Kris P.
Perq Coffee Bar – Sarasota, FL | Chilly C.
Neat Coffee – Westport, CT | Rob P.
ReAnimator, Ultimo, Rival Bros., Menagerie – Philadelphia, PA | Steve F.
Bull Run – Minneapolis, MN | Steve F.
Anelace Coffee – Minneapolis, MN | Michael B.
Bradbury’s – Madison, WI | Steve F.
La Colombe – Multiple Locations | Steve F.
Glanville & Babinski – Los Angeles, CA | William H.
Noble Coffee – Ashland, OR | Linda W.
Small World – Princeton, NJ | Joseph Y.
Rojo’s Roastery – Lambertville, NJ | Wangden K.
Philz Coffee – San Francisco, CA | Dario B.

Now, On to the Coffee Shops…

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