Best Cities For Coffee Drinkers
We’re all sick of that drive-thru garbage, so it’s time to take a trip around the world. Don’t worry; we won’t hold onto you for too long, just enough time to experience why these five cities have been rated, time and time again, as the best spots in the world for different types of coffees and experiences.
1. Boston, Massachusetts
If it’s dipping into the negative digits on the thermometer, best Boston natives will still be sipping on iced coffee, even with gloved hands and scarves on. There’s just something about the way iced coffee has been made for generations that keeps people coming back for more.
And to be frank, we’re not talking about going to Dunkin’ Donuts: head into Render Coffee, Gracenote or even Ogawa, and you’ll get a totally different palette and flavor every single time. If you like a bit of variety in your cup, and are tired of instant coffee, there’s nowhere better to get a fully fledged multicultural experience in the United States than Boston.
They’re known for being the pioneers behind much of the QSR style coffee we know today, but all that tells us is that copycats tried to do what Boston was known for, and came up subpar. There’s also the Capital One bank in Boston that serves Peet’s coffee in their cafe, and it’s a marvelous way to kill two birds with one stone.
You’ll be bombarded with a million different fast food options, but the diamonds aren’t hiding in the rough in Boston: there’s tons of local coffee shops that will give you a Central Perk vibe (we know it’s not NY, but come on, are there no Friends fans reading this?), and immerse you in the atmosphere. It can be cold, it can be mean, but the coffee is so good that you’ll be dreaming about it for months.
2. Rome, Italy
This is real deal coffee here, completely uninspired by the way the western world has adapted different coffee brewing methods, flavors and coffee recipes. Rome is where all the OG coffee shops are, and the atmosphere doesn’t hurt either. You know Rome is one of the most romanticized cities in the world, and for good reason: culture, history, beauty as far as the eye can see, but you’ll be remembering it for a luscious latte or a stellar shot of espresso.
Instead of using hotel’s coffee machine, you can head into the La Casa Del Caffe Tazza D’oro for a long line of rich lattes, or try Sant’ Eustachio II Caffe to get a taste of a darker roast that’ll keep you buzzed all the way back to the hotel. The point we’re trying to make is, Italian-made coffee and espresso is one of those things you just have to try to fully understand how powerful and delicious it can be.
Before you hop on that plane, we need to tell you how you know you’re getting real Italian coffee, and not just some chain that’s set up in Italy to take advantage of tourists. We’ve listed a couple really good local places, but know this: real Italian coffee is delicious, not pretentious. Understanding the difference, (such as understanding that it’s not going to take eight minutes for them to make a single latte), is going to save you from paying for overpriced muck in a cup.
Rome, of course, has some of the best sights in the world, but you won’t find many carry-out paper cups like you do in the states. Sit down in a bistro, enjoy your coffee, and get ready to experience one of the oldest cities in the world in its full splendor now that you’ve had your morning caffeine.
3. Lisbon, Portugal
Nobody ever talks about going to Portugal for vacation, and that’s good news for you: top notch coffee, minimal tourists and a taste of the local scene. Portugal enjoys real coffee, and the locals detest that drive-thru garbage that we’re all too used to in America. You can find a plethora of small shops and eateries, and the best thing is they don’t even have to advertise that their coffee is the best, you’ll just know when the cup touches your lips.
There’s no crazy marketing or neon signs that say Best Coffee in Town or anything like that: you get honest businesses with real experiences, and a fantastic time kicking your feet up to enjoy the view. Lisbon has some of the nicest beaches, and absolutely fantastic coffee shops, such as Copenhagen Coffee Lab, Fabrica Coffee Roasters, and Wish Slow Coffee House, just to name a few.
You might get a few looks if you overindulge in the coffee in an audible way, because in Portugal, that’s just how they have their coffee every single morning. You’ll feel like you’re being pampered by the blends of locally-sourced coffee and minimal chemical intervention. Countries outside the United States have far stricter regulations on what can and can’t be added to food, and their coffee is much less processed.
Lisbon is a great destination for far more than just their coffee, but you’ll find that after you get home, no cup of Joe is going to taste the same as during your vacation. Our recommendation? Get to those coffee houses we mentioned, and get some beans to go. You can bring them back through TSA customs without a problem, and bring home a little bit of that vacation to put in your cup the following morning. Just make sure you store the coffee beans correctly.
4. Bali, Indonesia
Bali has become one of the most popular destinations in recent years, and their local shops like Gangga Coffee and Monkey Cave Espresso Ubud are some of the reasons that tourists end up staying for the long haul. Once you get a taste, you won’t be able to get enough. Indonesian coffee is often hailed as some of the greatest coffee in the world, and their high-end shops are to thank.
It’s not just hyperbole either, there’s a reason behind Indonesia having some of the world’s best coffee. There’s something called Q Graders who constantly identify the differences between quality coffee and grocery store quality stuff, and as a result the demand for quality is extremely high. Not only that, but Indonesia hosts some of the most profitable and growing coffee bean farms in the world.
People back in the states will spend absurd amounts of money on coffee straight from Indonesia: it gives you less acidity thanks to the soil properties, has a cleaner taste, and there’s no expense spared on quality. There are plenty of beans that don’t make the cut, so it’s like you’re getting the VIP treatment in every single cup.
Go for the coffee, but stay for the view. Enjoy your espresso from the balconies of the many Bali coffee shops, taste the difference to the stuff you had on the plane, and understand one thing: there’s no going back once you’ve had a taste of what these local shops are about to offer you.
5. Strasbourg, France
You might think that Paris would be the go-to coffee spot in France for coffee, but the hidden gems are all located in Strasbourg. Some of our favorite shops here are Au 5, Cafe Bretelles Petite, and Oh My Goodness Cafe (yes, that’s really the name). Yes, you get a killer cup of coffee, and yes, the espresso is among the best in the world, but you’re also getting access to one of the most atmospheric coffee-loving cities in the world.
Sit back in any of the cafes on the main roads, sipping on your cappuccino, and tell us that it isn’t how you imagine spending your golden years. Beyond the flavors and aromas, you’ll get when you walk into any of those shops we mentioned, we’d be willing to wager that Strasbourg has far better pastries than France. There, we said it!
There’s no better companion to your coffee than handmade, expertly crafted pastries, instead of all this conveyor belt garbage they expect us to eat in the US. Find the small shops, the treasure troves of caffeinated delight, and you’ll be booking your next trip to Strasbourg before you know it. If you don’t get at least one macchiato while you’re there, then we’ll be upset with you. Total bucket list destination.
So What Makes These Places the Best?
They’re countries and continents apart, but they’re all representing some of the best natural coffee flavors, and celebrating multifaceted ways to come to that perfect cup. You’ll not only get to experience a different culture everywhere you go on this list, but an entirely different series of sourcing and added ingredients that you just can’t emulate back in the homeland. It’s time to get cultured on the best brews in the world, so what are you waiting for?