10. Octane Coffee Bar & Lounge - Atlanta - In addition to the free Wi-Fi and exposed brick walls, this West Midtown spot brings in DJs and art shows for a hipper than hip vibe that makes the coffee taste that much better than bet. A fuel injection or a coffee coolant will get you where you need to go in the buzz department.
9. Caffe Trieste - San Francisco - Papa Gianni was inspired by old-school Italian espresso techniques when he came to America and opened Caffe Trieste in the '50s. The historical North Beach 'Beat' landmark was the first place to get espresso on the West Coast and the reputation has been solid ever since. If you can't make it to Trieste in person, you can buy their coffee online, but you know it won't taste the same, however, it should satisfy your fix.
8. Busboys & Poets - Washington, D.C. - The unique name (inspired by Langston Hughes) lives up to the unique offerings (coffee, food, films, books, activism) served up at this unofficial community center in D.C. Patrons are encouraged to engage in social discourses and B&P is a certified B Corporation™ meeting environmental and accountability standards. As far as coffee, try the Bid Daddy (raw sugar, steamed milk and three shots of espresso) for a quicker, picker-upper.
7. 7-Eleven - National - Convenience store coffee isn't normally at the top of "best of" lists, but it should be. The company takes coffee seriously providing several varieties each morning, four understandable sizes (small, medium, large and a 24oz. jumbo) and plenty of flavored syrups and creams for those so inclined. Plus, the prices are cheaper than the coffee chains and you can pick up snacks, cigarettes and condoms for those that are so inclined.
6. Espresso Vivace - Seattle - In a town known for coffee, Espresso Vivace uses science in order to form a more perfect cup of coffee. They've spent years on R&D exploring every aspect of in the process of bean to brew including a specialized roasting process. Science may not sound sexy, but the proof is in the cup.
5. Cafe du Monde - New Orleans - Literary romanticism is alive and well in the French Quarter at this legendary coffee stand. When you're tasting the unique, bold flavor of coffee cut with chicory, it's hard not to imagine what artistic endeavors have been inspired by the coffee cut with chicory, and of course the beignets.
4. Cafe Brazil - Dallas - The first Cafe Brazil opened with ten tables in 1991 and has grown to ten locations throughout the Metroplex keeping breakfasters and late-night post-partiers buzzed with delight. The Brazilian, Kenyan and Mexican coffee varieties are great, but it's the flavored roasts that put butts in the seats. Coffee snobs may scoff, but the Snickerdoo (vanilla, almonds, cinnamon) can make a hard man humble.
3. Stumptown Coffee Roasters - Portland - Devotees are turned on by the hand-crafted taste made possible by small-batch roasting, super-fresh beans and French pressing. Like Intelligentsia, Stumptown's way of life is based on sustainability not only on the farms but in their cafes. The hip surroundings at the cafe include a cupping room that can turn casual coffee drinkers into connoisseurs.
2. Intelligentsia - Chicago - Intelligentsia has been keeping Chicagoans responsibly caffeinated since 1995 and now have a store in LA (a second one coming very soon) to go with the three outlets in Chicago. Known for direct trade and sustainable policies as much as the lovely brews, your soul will be as satisfied as your taste buds with every cup.
1. Jack's Stir Brew - New York City - The not-so-secret to Jack's success in creating the best cup of coffee in America is the patented stir brewing. Owner Jack Mazzalo invented and patented a machine that stirs the coffee grinds during the brewing process and that is the road less traveled and it makes all the difference. Every time I walk into the claustrophobic space in the West Village, the anticipation of the coffee staves off the panic attacks that usually run rampant upon entering tiny spaces. The coffee is that good.
If I mattered I would vote THE SMELLY CAT in NODA AS #1!!!