Nowadays, Montreal offers a host of chouette little cafes with roasters from across the continent (though they're almost all using the same espresso machine!), establishing this already renowned dining city as one with a taste for sophisticated coffee, too.
'coffee guides' on Serious Eats
Vancouver. It's like the Canadian Seattle, only with better mountain views and more new, tacky high-rise architecture. We sought out the finest of this coffee-drenched landscape and selected a few of our favo(u)rites.
Once upon a time, the mitten-shaped state known as Michigan was not known for its coffee. Its bizarrely named "Coney Island" hot dogs and diners, its square-shaped pizzas, its death of industry...sure. But artisanal coffee? Not until recently did this pleasant peninsula begin to stand out, and cities across the state have begun to offer some of the best coffees roasted in the nation—and the mitten itself—at truly lovely cafes. Here are our very favorites.
It's the Starbucks Capital of the USA, the birthplace of specialty coffee in America and the only place you can reliably get a cappuccino at the laundromat—so why aren't there more truly exceptional coffee places in Seattle? We've got our hunches—it's a city steeped in a certain tradition of coffee, and one where there's plenty of coffee that's at least very good—so digging the most special cafes out of the throngs of "specialty cafes" can be a toughie. And though any rundown of the top of the tops in the Emerald City is sure to incite minor street riots, we're pleased to point you toward the truly best stops on the Seattle Coffee Tour, as we see it.
Atlanta has long evolved beyond the (already perfect) basic format of meat-n-three Southern cuisine. Following on the heels of one of the most dynamic food scenes in the south is an expanding oasis of great coffee. Already full of contenders like local roaster Batdorf & Bronson, and having even played host to the 2009 World Barista Championship, Atlanta's been long poised to watch its scene like, totally explode, man. And things appear to be firing up hot right now.
Washington, DC has in recent years birthed a competitive, thriving contemporary coffee community. From regular barista throwdowns (including grudge-match competitions against other cities like the similarly coffee-blossoming Philly) to a regular infusion of delicious, challenging coffees from roasters nationwide, you no longer have to be a coffee diplomat to get something exotic in this town. Here are a few of the best places to explore.
Just because you only have the time to walk five short blocks for lunch or coffee shouldn't leave Midtownites stranded, and though it's a part of Gotham slow to embrace, say, a lengthy Chemex brew, it shouldn't be so hard to find a great cup of carefully crafted, thoughtfully sourced, beautifully roasted coffee in the heart of Midtown New York City, right? Well...maybe. We'll let the economy catch up for a bit and cross our fingers for a flood of newcomers in months and years to come (we're looking at you, future Blue Bottle Rockefeller Center) and in the meantime point out a few truly great oases in a blighted landscape of chains and delis.
A city that's dark as much as Reykjavík may find it needs a little extra shove in the morning some of the year—luckily for Icelanders and the visitors they host, a good cup of coffee is never far away in the capital city. Whether it's in a museum, a bookstore or on an unmarked neighborhood corner, the progressive coffee ideals of Scandinavia encircle Iceland as well as a place to rely on a more enlightened cup—even at the chain stores.
The capital of the province of Ontario in the Great White North, Toronto came slower to coffee than its West Coast kin. But from the first gasps in late 2006 to today's wild proliferation of artisanal shops (many of which are now onto their second, third or fourth location) there's no questioning the boom has hit—and hard. New local roasters like Detour, Te Aro, and Social are flanked by cadres of upscale coffee-gear-purveyors and friendly baristas slinging capps from Roncesvalles practically to Pape. Here are six of the top shops in Toronto to get your Canadian coffee tour underway.
At long last, we can call it the city of coffee-ly-love: Philadelphia, long lingering in that spot where a great food city waits for great coffee to chase its heels, has come into its foamy own. Here's a little tour of what's new and brewing.