Helpful ReplyHot!My Favorite Coffee Houses

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2010/02/21 15:25:26 (permalink)

My Favorite Coffee Houses

I had the opportunity to visit one of my favorite coffee houses recently during the recent annual Glee Club Event in Charleston.
As some of you know, I'm not necessarily a big breakfast person and prefer to find a local coffee house and hopefully relax over a good cuppa java especially considering that coffee at most Roadfood Restaurants taste like hot water with food coloring. I've had some hits and misses over the years, but have had more success over the last few years with yelp, and the citisearch and aol best of lists as well as best of lists in various local entertainment weeklies.

I've compiled a list of some of my favorite coffeehouses I've visited around the country. And here they are grouped regionally.


1. Coffee Exchange- Providence RI- definitely my favorite coffee house in New England

2. Chapterhouse Cafe and Gallery- Philadelphia PA- after visiting 4 coffeehouses in one day- this was my favorite

3. Daily Grind- Baltimore MD- After a breakfast at Jimmy's in Fells Point, skip the coffee there and go here.

4. So G Coffee Roasters- South Glastonbury CT- Recently opened by one of the employees of day break coffee roasters in Glastonbury. I   discovered this place while researching local coffee houses for a work meeting I had to attend. 
5 Mornings In Paris - Kennebunk ME-   They roast their own coffee and their super dark (noir) roast is quite captivating 
6. Main Street Coffee East Greenwich- My go to place for coffee 6 out of 7 days a week. Steve the owner is just a great, dedicated guy. Two words- French Roast . Also probably one of the most unique coffee houses in the country with an Italian Motif and a clientele of the Sopranos meets Good Fellas
7. Small World Coffee- Princeton NJ  A superb mellow tasting dark roast
8. Daybreak Coffee Roasters- Glastonbury CT A local favorite, busy at all hours. They roast their mellow dark roast and other roasts on the premises
9. Cool Beans International- Oradell NJ Using local Red House Roasters. Their dark roast was surprisingly rich and flavorful
10. Hot Chocolate Sparrow- Orleans MA  A gem on Cape Cod- Various rich dark roasts. Wonderful pastries and a variety of bagels and ice cream too
11. Tryst- Washington DC- In trendy Adams-Morgan- Big, crowded, a hodgpodge of furnishings, huge breakfast menu, and oh....the coffee is really good too!
12. The Blind Dog Cafe- Washington DC- Walking distance from both Florida Avenue Grill and Ben's Chili Bowl, this incredibly funky coffee house has some of the best coffee in the northeast and can compete with the best of the best in the Pacific Northwest.

The South

1. Kudu Coffee- Charleston SC-The Best Coffee I've had in the South- and great atmosphere with African motifs

2. Aurora Coffee- Atlanta GA- In the Virginia Highlands Neighborhood

3. Fido- Nashville TN- A short walk from the Pancake Pantry

4. Highland Coffee- Louisville KY- much better than the local Heine Brothers coffeehouse chain

5. Guillermo's Gourmet Grounds - Little Rock  AR- Voted the best in town
6. Mama Carmen's - Fayetteville AR- Surprisingly rich and flavorful for a medium roast
7. Drowsy  Poet Coffee Company- Pensacola FL- A wonderful cozy coffee house and roaster with a couple of unique rooms that set various moods. One room that looks like an old fashoned academic library.  They even have a player piano
8. Java Vino- Atlanta GA- In the same Virginia Highlands neighborhood as Aurora Coffee, however with a cozier atmosphere. A coffee house by morning and wine bar in the evening. They roast their own coffee  beans which the owners family produces in Nicaragua. They even close shop after 11am on Mondays just to roast.
9. Smelly Cat Coffee House- Charlotte NC-   If you've ever watched the old, classic sitcom "Friends" you'll get the pun. Very funky, expect the baristas to have tattoos, mohawks and dredlocks, and those are the women that I'm talking about. In the funky No-Da neighborhood, they roast their coffee, and offer both "drip" and "pourover"

10. Pasion Del Cielo - Coral Gables FL- Not only is the variety of roasts that they offer overwhelming but their unique per cup brewing process is similar to preparing espresso- The cubano is out of this world

11. Lamplighter Coffee Roasting Company- Richmond VA- What a tremendous improvement with my two visits in 2014 compared to my initial visit back in 2010. Lamplighter has graduated from the secondary list. And they roast their own coffee too



1. Phoenix Coffee- Cleveland- this was my saving grace during my three weeks of CAT duty in Cleveland. I would wake up an extra half hour early just to take the 8 mile round trip drive prior to long 12 hour days at work.

2. The Ugly Mug Cafe- Ypsilanti MI- An oasis in Metro Detroit just outside of Ann Arbor

3. Blue Line Coffee- Omaha NE- probably the dumpiest looking coffee house I ever visited- but what a great cuppa joe!

4. Kaldi's Coffee Roasting Company- St Louis MO- on my unsuccesful quest to find Gooey Butter Cake, I found this gem on
par with any west coast coffeehouse

5. Broadway Cafe- Kansas City MO- this coffeehouse in the trendy Westport neighborhood stood up to Starbucks which deliberately opened a branch next door.

6. Cup O' Joe- Columbus OH- Whoever thought you'd be able to find some good  coffee in Columbus OH out of all places. This mini chain delivers

7. The Coffee House on Cherry Street- Tulsa OK- A surprisingly rich dark roast with significant body.
8 . Zanzibar's Coffee Adventures- Des Moines IA-  Full bodied, dark and aventurous coffee
9. Alterra Coffee Roasters - MIlwaukee WI- A local mini chain with a brazilian blend that's out of this world.

10. Hubbard and Cravens Coffee Co.- Indianapolis IN - Yes, they're a local chain, yes the atmostphere is somewhat corporate but even their medium roast had great flavor and body

11. Coffee Emporium- Cincinnati OH- Local mini-chain offering good, strong coffee and delectable pastries.


The West

1. Common Grounds- Denver CO- Two Great Locations - Lo Do and Highland Park

2. Crave Espresso Bar- Tucson AZ-  An incredibly rich and dark roast- my favorite best new coffee house of 2012

3. Dawson Taylor Coffee Roasters- Boise ID- Simply Outstanding

4. Waldens Coffeehouse- Reno NV- very homey atmosphere and an extremely addicting dark roast

5. Bibo Coffee Company- Reno NV- quite the opposite of Walden's in terms of Atmosphere-  very cold/spare/warehouse
feel, but the coffee is just as good.

6. Millcreek Coffee Roasters- Salt Lake City UT- Found this by accident on my 2 mile walk from my motel to Downtown-

7. Stumptown Coffee Roasters- Portland OR- Portland's flagship coffeehouse. There's no surprise why I was greeted
with a long long when I entered the downtown location- This is what makes coffee in the Pacific NW so special.

8. Caffe Roma Coffee Roasting Co.- San Francisco CA- In the North Beach neighorhoodFound this place by accident after a visit to Mama's on Washington Square

9. Urth Caffe- West Hollywood CA- Very trend- the place to see and be seen - and amazingly good rich dark coffee too

10. Living Room Cafe- La Jolla CA/San Diego CA- Local Coffee Chain- The La Jolla and Point Loma locations are my favorites
11. Halcyon Coffee/Bar/Lounge- Austin TX- A coffee bar that contributes to keeping Austin wierd 

12. St James Espresso- Kirkland WA- Pacific NW Style Coffee-The medium roast bursts with an explosion of flavor
13. Zoka Coffee Roasters  & Tea Co. Kirkland WA- A local Seattle chain-their light roast has a woodsy/reedy  flavor
14. Cafe Rococco-Kirkland WA -  Classic pacific NW style coffee house offering a rich vibrant dark roast
15. Cafe Umbria- Seattle WA- Artisinal Italian Roasts in this classic Pioneer Square coffee house.
16. Cafe Vita- Seattle WA- Everything a classic Seattle Coffee House is meant to be. A tall big boned blonde barista of Scandinavian Stock who looks like Helga, totally mellow atmosphere and incredible coffee.
17. Espresso Vivace- Seattle W A- Truly the "Daddy of them all" no drip, no pourover just good ol' fashion espresso. The coffee house that all other coffee houses strive to be.
18. Michael Thomas Coffee Roasters- Albuquerque NM- They roast their own coffee- a true eye opener and clearly the best in Albuquerque

I decided to add a list of additional coffee houses I visited over the years. They're not the best on my bucket list
however are certainly above average in my book and:
-Make up for not having the best coffee, by having an excellent atmosphere
-Although I would probably do additional research to find better in the area (if there is better), each coffee house listed would warrant a return in a pinch...
1. Northeast
Muddy Waters-New London CT
Acoustic Java- Worcester MA
Massapequa Perk- Massapequa Park NY
Professor Java's Coffee Sanctuary- Colonie (Albany) NY
Boston Common's Coffee- Boston MA
Mocha Java- Dedham MA
Espresso Bueno- Barre VT
Spot Coffee- Buffalo (Williamsville) NY
White Electric Coffee- Providence RI
Coffee Depot- Warren RI
Zu Coffee- Annapolis MD
Uptown Coffee- Mt. Lebanon PA
Square One Coffee- Lancaster PA
Northern Lights Espresso Bar- Scranton PA  (decent coffee served with unmitigated attitude- you've been forwarned)
Cafe Sol- Niantic CT
Coffee Tree Roasters- Pittsburgh PA
Orbis Cafe - Mt Lebanon PA
Sip This- Valley Stream NY
Bellmore Bean- Bellmore NY
2 South
Dilworth Coffee - Charlotte NC
Mountain Island Coffee House- Charlotte NC
Fausto Coffee- Lincolnton NC
Biltmore Coffee Roasters- Asheville NC
Izzy's Coffee Den- Asheville NC
O'Henry's- Birmingham (Homewood) AL
Carpe Diem- Mobile AL
PJ's Coffee- New Orleans LA
Isle Bun Coffee- Minneapolis MN
Dunn Bros (A Regional Chain which began in St Paul MN)
Atomic Coffee- Fargo ND
Coffea Roasterie- Sioux Falls SD
Java Joe's- Des Moines IA 
Vagabond Cafe - Wichita KS
The Red Cup- Oklahoma City OK
Ruta Maya- Austin TX
Satellite Coffee- Albuquerque NM
Winnings Coffee Co. Albuquerque
Copper Star Coffee- Phoenix AZ
Flying M  Coffee- Boise ID
Fuel Coffee- Seattle WA 
Zeitgeist Coffee Roasters- Seattle WA
The Bindlestick- Snoqualmie WA
Better Living Through Coffee- Port Townsend, WA

post edited by wanderingjew - 2015/08/22 11:13:20
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