In celebration of National Coffee Day, we’re paying tribute some of the nation’s most celebrated cafés. So grab your cup and join us as we explain why people just cant get enough of these shops.
What makes some coffee shops so special?
Let’s face it, you can get a cup of joe at pretty much any gas station in the country. And then there are the fast-food joints and coffee chains that have their obvious appeal among the masses. So why are Americans so willing to pay a premium for their caffeine fix every morning?
Each consumer has his or her own reasons, of course, but it generally comes down to a combination of the following factors:
- Quality — However trendy your neighborhood café might be, one thing is clear: No establishment serving substandard grounds will remain popular for long.
- Ambiance — There’s an undefinable quality to most of our favorite coffee shops. They just seem to invite you to spend more time there.
- Service — Baristas are vital to the experience, of course. Whether they know you by name or just make it right every time, they make it clear that you’re important.
- Variety — There are more ways to enjoy a cup of coffee than ever before, and the most popular coffee shops in the country can keep up with the pace.
There are countless ways to get a morning buzz or a quick pastry, and the coffee shops below understand that. On National Coffee Day and any other time, you can count on these businesses to lead the industry. A fresh cup, a friendly face and a fun atmosphere are always on the menu at these popular places.
1. Café Du Monde, New Orleans
You don’t serve coffee for more than 150 years without acquiring quite a reputation, and that’s why we started our list in New Orleans. Café Du Monde is an institution in the Big Easy. Locals and visitors alike keep it bustling throughout the year. Prepare for a wait, but the ambiance at this delightful coffee shop makes even waiting an enjoyable experience. Pair your chicory coffee with a fresh beignet and soak in the local scenery with a satisfied smile.
2. Seattle Coffee Works, Seattle
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It takes a lot for a coffee shop to stand out in Seattle. Seemingly countless cafés across the city live in the shadows of Starbucks, the corporate giant that originated there. But Seattle Coffee Works has effectively created its own niche, and scores of fans swear by its brews. That probably has something to do with the fact that the coffee shop serves beans roasted in house.
3. Four Barrel Coffee, San Francisco
A popular café in the Mission District of San Francisco, Four Barrels offers fans a lot to keep them coming back. There’s a separate pour-over coffee bar that has become as famous as the shop itself. Plus, the welcoming environment evokes far more than a simple cup of coffee for many faithful patrons. Beautiful, interesting artwork adorns the interior. Skillful baristas serve up your favorite cup or some of the city’s tastiest pastries. It’s no wonder one online reviewer described it as a “spiritual place.”
4. La Colombe Coffee Roasters, New York City
It takes a special cup of coffee to catch a New Yorker’s attention, and La Colombe has done that for years. Loyal customers say the coffee is a staple due to the combination of flavor and strength. A cozy, welcoming interior might make you decide to sit back and celebrate a leisurely National Coffee Day. If that’s the case, be sure to try one of the fresh pastries that fans say always pair great with a coffee.
5. 85C Bakery Cafe, Irvine, California
If you’re looking for a wide variety and bold flavors, check out one of Irvine, California’s busiest cafés. Sea salt coffee is among the most popular offerings, as are any number of freshly baked pastries. Baristas are also on hand to whip up some refreshing and tasty smoothies. Of course, you’ll need to be prepared to wait in line, and you’ll pay a little more than some of the chain coffee shops. But those are obviously not deterrents to the scores of loyal customers who crowd this business daily.
6. Onyx Coffee Lab, Bentonville, Arkansas
This Arkansas chain has locations in several cities, and each of them has loyal fans who pour in every day as baristas pour out fresh cups of coffee. Its founders were dedicated to bringing only the sweetest green coffee beans. After securing the distribution of just the right blend, they built a business around it. Although this café specializes in one type of bean, you can still count on variety. However you like your coffee, the pros at these shops will set National Coffee Day off right.
7. G&B Coffee, Los Angeles
This California coffee shop was the brainchild of Kyle Glanville and Charles Babinski. Using their initials and the methods they learned working for fine coffee roasters, they set up shop. Over the past several years, they have seen their initial investment turn into a blooming business. On National Coffee Day or any other time of the year, you will find fans of their roasts lining up. LA locals and visitors alike know its famous coffees and teas. You can tell how much respect this shop gets by its extensive list of awards.
8. Publik Coffee Roasters, Salt Lake City
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Sure, fans of this Utah coffee shop rush in for a great cup of coffee, but many stick around for a sense of community. Publik’s owners planned it that way. Not only do they say they are committed to providing the best roasts possible, they also want to stoke relationships. “We believe that coffee breeds community and coffee houses are the anchors that ground them,” the company’s website says.
9. Barista Parlor, Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville natives have been piling into Barista Parlor locations since the first one opened in 2011. The experts on hand are trained to create the perfect taste and aesthetically pleasing cups. If you’re looking for a latte or espresso to share on Instagram, this might be the place. You can also find Barista Parlor in places outside of its coffee shops. A number of local entrepreneurs, including bakers and artists, have partnered for interesting projects.
10. Lamplighter Coffee Roasters, Richmond, Virginia
Virginia is for lovers, and the coffee at Lamplighter locations across Richmond has plenty of them. Locals line up every day for a cup of the addicting brew. It might be known as a local hipster hangout, but everybody is welcome here. And if you’re hungry on National Coffee Day, Lamplighter can satisfy both cravings. Even folks who aren’t there for a caffeine kick enjoy the fresh pastries and sandwiches. It can get a little crowded inside at times, but if you’re there on one of the region’s many beautiful days, the outdoor area is inviting and comfortable.
11. Lux Central, Phoenix
If you’re looking for an upscale environment for National Coffee Day, Lux Central in Phoenix fits the bill. This is an establishment heralded for its menu as much as its coffee selection, but both get rave reviews from locals who frequent the café. Not only can you get full meals all day long, you can even relax with an alcoholic beverage. Whether you want to relax or perk up, this is a destination that aims to please.
12. Devoción, New York City
Another New York City favorite, this one has two locations in Brooklyn. An emphasis on nature is apparent as soon as you enter. Plants on the walls and plenty of sunlight bring the outdoors in for a refreshing atmosphere, and specialties including Devoción’s cold brew coffee keep fans coming back for more. It can be hard to find a seat during the busier hours, but if you search for a great environment for enjoying a perfect cup, this is a place worth checking out.
13. Peixoto Coffee, Chandler, Arizona
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Here’s another popular Arizona coffee shop, building on a century-long family history of bean growing. This is a great place to celebrate National Coffee Day. These specialists grow, roast and brew what they serve, and the attention to detail is clear to those who see it as a cut above the rest.
14. Compass Coffee, Washington, D.C.
If you prefer to celebrate National Coffee Day with a simple cup of coffee in the nation’s capital, check out Compass. This place has a simple motto: “Real Good Coffee.” Its baristas live up to that mission statement every day. Don’t expect the latest trendy beverages and imported brews. They’ll make just about anything you can request, but it’s all rooted in a straightforward approach to a simple beverage.
15. Heart Roasters, Portland, Oregon
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Heart Roasters brings its specifically sourced beans to the West Coast. If you’re looking for the perfect cup in Portland, you might just find it here. Owners promise to put quality before everything else. With beans from Africa, Central and South America and elsewhere, many locals find their favorite brew here.
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