You can tell a lot about a place from its coffee shops. Yes, coffee is a necessity; but the vibe of a city is in its coffee, whether it’s café con leche or a simple cup given during an elaborate coffee ceremony. A café where people rush in, order and hurry out speaks of a hyperactive culture, while an eatery where single origin pour is the must-have drink signals the baristas know the beans.
Serious coffee drinkers know there are many variables involved in making a cup of coffee. They also know a great cup is one you dream about. Find out where to get your fix and plan your next vacation in the process. From the United States to South America, these are the 10 best cities for coffee.
Australia’s artsy city takes its coffee seriously. Each of the city’s villages has their own vibe, and the coffee shops in each reflect that. If you want hipster coffee, head to Brunswick. For traditional Turkish java, you want to visit Coburg. There’s even a café culture walking tour run by Hidden Secrets Tours. Order a milky coffee drink or the piccolo latte (made with less milk so the espresso tastes stronger).
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Next on the list of best cities for coffee is this cosmopolitan South American city. Buenos Aires’ oldest café dates back to 1858; but it’s only been within the past few years that the city’s coffee has come in to its own. A new generation of baristas import, roast and grind their own beans. Order the local favorite café con leche (milky coffee) or lagrima (hot frothy milk with a teardrop of coffee) and sip. Coffee is a drink you savor in Argentina.
Try: Café Tortoni, the oldest café shop in Buenos Aires.
Multiple coffee shops on each block make Vancouver another one of the best cities for coffee. There’s a coffee for every type of drinker in the British Columbia city. Yes, there’s Starbucks, imported from that coffee-loving city to the south. There’s also a wide selection of artisan shops roasting, grinding and brewing beans directly from the source. You’ll find more sustainable, fair trade green coffee in this city than any place else in the world, homage to the green initiatives you’ll find throughout Vancouver.
Breakfast, lunch or dinner, there’s never a wrong time for coffee in Havana. Café cubano — a shot of dark roasted espresso brewed directly onto sugar — is the drink du jour, especially in the afternoons. Coffee is drank almost as much as water in this city. And with direct flights now from most US cities, it’s only a leap, hop, skip and jump away until you’re indulging too.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Thailand’s often-overlooked Northern city is the heart of the country’s coffee culture. The city is full of cafes, where you’ll often find expat digital nomads working, as baristas whip up drinks made as close to bean to cup as you can get. Most of the beans brewing in the coffee houses are grown in the countryside just outside of the city, making this another one of the best cities for coffee.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Widely regarded as the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia has a long and rich coffee culture. With an estimated 15 million people in the country relying on the plant for their livelihood, it should come as no surprise the capital city is full of coffee shops. But what really makes Addis Ababa a must-visit for coffee lovers is the traditional coffee ceremony. The ceremony is a sign of friendship and respect and consists of hours of roasting, grinding, brewing, and of course drinking of coffee.
Oslo will make even the most serious dark roast coffee drinker fall in love with light. Baristas in the country’s southern coastal city import, roast and grind coffee beans. Don’t let the light roast fool you though. The coffee is bright, acidic and with enough of a punch to make you wonder why anyone would ever prefer dark roasts.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do…drink coffee. Heralded as the birthplace of the cappuccino, Romans drink coffee as much as they do water and wine. The local cafes are more than just a place to get a java fix. They are where locals go to get news and swap neighborhood gossip. Just remember when you’re chatting away, milky coffees like that cappuccino should only be drunk in the morning.
Providence, Rhode Island
The tiny city in the United States’ smallest state has a bustling coffee scene. Here, you’ll be drinking sweet coffee milk. It’s the state drink, a blend of espresso-based coffee syrup added to a glass of milk. It’ll give you enough of a buzz to explore the city’s art and tech scenes. You’ll also find plenty of up-and-coming indie shops and traditional Italian on the North side of the city.
Seattle should be on every coffee lover’s bucket list. Known around the globe as the birthplace of Starbucks (you can visit the original in Pike Place), Seattle created the US coffee culture we know today. It has paved the way for artisan coffee places to sprout up around the country. Starbucks aside, the city has plenty of its own indie shops. This is definitely one of the best cities for coffee. Order a local favorite single origin pour.