In Brief: This Seattle-based coffee shop specializes in espresso. The owner David Schomer has written a book on the subject (Espresso Coffee: Professional Techniques). The shop brews two signature espressos: the Espresso Vita, which has strong notes of caramel, and the Espresso Dolce, which has chocolate and floral notes. Stop in and try both.
The Beans: Espresso Vivace uses Arabica beans, roasted in a Northern Italian style, which allows them to caramelize and produce a sweeter-tasting espresso.
532 Broadway Avenue East, Seattle, WA 98102 ⇱ | (206) 860-2722 | espressovivace.com
Heart Roasters Eastside Cafe
In Brief: Portland is home to two Heart coffee shops; both are located on either side of the Willamette River. Their Eastside location is small and quaint, offering top-quality cappuccinos, espressos and lattes. Bring the newspaper, order a coffee and relax in Portland’s overcast weather.
The Beans: Their beans are sourced from Kenya, Ethiopia, Guatemala and Colombia.
2211 East Burnside Street, Portland OR 97205 ⇱ | (503) 206-6602 | heartroasters.com
Kickapoo Coffee Roasters Coffee Shop
In Brief: For years, Kickapoo Coffee Roasters sold their high-quality and Fair Trade coffee beans to the many restaurants and stores in the greater Milwaukee area, and this past December, they opened their first cafe. Their coffee selection is decidedly immense. Stop in to try one of their numerous single-origin coffees, like an Organic Peru Huabal with citrus and maple flavors, or a blend (we suggest The Rooster Organic Blend).
The Beans: Kickapoo’s coffee beans are sourced from Colombia, Peru, Nicaragua, Congo and Ecuador.
232 E. Erie Street, Milwaukee, WI 53202 ⇱ | (608) 637-2399 (Roasters phone #) | kickapoocoffee.com
Grand Rapids, Michigan
In Brief: Madcap Coffee’s cafe and roastery are both located in Grand Rapids. (They also just opened a second cafe attached to their roastery.) The two co-founders, Trevor Corlett (who is also serving as the current past chair for the Barista Guild of America) and Ryan Knapp (who is also a lead instructor of the Specialty Coffee Association of America), are committed to buying and roasting “sustainable” coffee beans.
The Beans: Their coffee beans are sourced from Kenya, Guatemala, Colombia, El Salvador, Rwanda and Ethiopia. All are roasted at their Fulton Street Roastery.
98 Monroe Center NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 ⇱ | (888) 866-9091 | madcapcoffee.com
Ozo Coffee Company
In Brief: Ozo Coffee Company has firm roots in Boulder, with three cafes and a roastery and tasting lab (which is SCAA certified). Their flagship cafe on Arapahoe Avenue has friendly service, a large coffee selection and, despite its growing popularity, never seems to be too crowded.
The Beans: They sell a variety of single origins and blends that are sourced from around the world.
5340 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder, CO 80303 ⇱ | (303) 440.0233 | ozocoffee.com
In Brief: Panther Coffee started as just a bike cart selling cold-brew coffees. Now they’ve been written about by The New York Times and won a Good Food Award for their Kenya Kirura coffee. Yes, their small-batch coffee is excellent, so go for that. But if you stop in, grab a cold brew (it’s Miami afterall). And make sure to also check out the local artwork that surrounds the place.
The Beans: Brazil, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Nicaragua. Click here to see their current offerings.
2390 NW 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33127 ⇱ | no phone | panthercoffee.com
In Brief: When exploring America’s capital make sure to hit one of Peregrine Espresso’s three locations. Since the first of these D.C.-based coffeehouses opened in 2008, the company has quickly garnered acclaim, being named one of America’s Best Coffee Bars by Food & Wine and one of the 10 Best Boutique Coffee Shops by Bon Appétit. They are best known for their batch-brewed single origins and by-the-cup pour-over coffees.
The Beans: Their beans, which are supplied by Counter Culture Coffee, come from Ethiopia, Colombia, Rwanda and Papua New Guinea.
660 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Washington, D.C. 20003 ⇱ | (202) 629-4381 | peregrineespresso.com
San Francisco, California
In Brief: Sightglass Coffee has four locations (soon to be six) — all in the Bay Area. Throughout the year, Sightglass sources small batches of coffee beans from all around the world; it’s what they call “a seasonal fruit.” All the beans are roasted at their roaster, which is also in San Francisco. If you want to taste a unique espresso, order their Owl’s Howl. The blend boasts notes of honey, ripe berries, chocolate and lemon.
The Beans: Their beans are sourced from Latin America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua), Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda) and the Pacific Islands (Indonesia, Papua New Guinea).
270 Seventh Street, San Francisco, CA 94103 ⇱ | (415) 861-1313 | sightglasscoffee.com | Photo: Michael O’Neal
In Brief: Since opening in 2012, this inconspicuous little coffee spot has become one of Portland‘s hidden gems. They specialize in wood-roasted organic coffee, brewed one cup at a time.
The Beans: Their beans are sourced from Guatemala, El Salvador, Ethiopia and Colombia.
Third Rail Coffee
Manhattan, New York
In Brief: The only two Third Rail Coffee locations are in Manhattan — one in Greenwich Village, and another in the East Village. Along with the usual caffeinated drinks, both spots offer a wide range of espresso options. Their beans come from all around the world and, for added variety, they also host various guest coffees from other roasters every month or so.
The Beans: Third Rail’s beans are sourced from Counter Culture Coffee, whose beans come from all over: South America (Colombia), Central America (El Salvador), Africa (Rwanda, Ethiopia) and Papua New Guinea.
240 Sullivan Street, New York, NY 10012 ⇱ | no phone | thirdrailcoffee.com
Uncommon Grounds Coffee and Tea
In Brief: This family-run coffee joint has been in the same spot, in the center of downtown Burlington, for over 20 years. All their coffee is roasted in their Probat L12 roaster and served fresh. Make sure to stop in when heading up to Smugglers’ Notch, or before starting the long drive back home.
The Beans: They source their coffee beans from around the globe, including Costa Rica, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia.
42 Church Street, Burlington, VT 05464 ⇱ | (802) 865-6227 | ugvermont.com
Verve Coffee Roasters
Santa Cruz, California
In Brief: Verve has six locations spread between Santa Cruz, West Hollywood and Los Angeles. They’re also reportedly about to open a San Francisco location as well. The company is committed to serving high-quality coffee, sourced from around the globe, that also adheres to their “Farmlevel Initiative,” which supports their coffee farmers through direct-trade practices.
The Beans: Most of their beans come from Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia) and Central America (Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama).
1540 Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 ⇱ | (831) 600-7784 | vervecoffeeroasters.com
1369 Coffee House
In Brief: Some of Boston’s best coffee shops are, ironically, not in Boston. Just outside the city limits are Bloc 11 (Somerville), Diesel Cafe (Somerville) and Cafe Fix (Brookline), all of which serve Grade-A specialty coffees. However the best of the bunch (arguably) is the 1369 Coffee House, which lies across the Charles River in Cambridge. They’ve been in the same location (1369 Cambridge Street) since 1993, and serve a range of roasts, “from a full city light mahogany roast to a dark Italian roast.” Also, if your kids are with you, they make delicious homemade hot chocolate and hot cider.
The Beans: They source their beans from Africa (Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya), Central and South America (Mexico, Brazil), and Sumatra in Indonesia. The beans are roasted locally.