Long-time readers will know how much I enjoy a good cup of coffee. Also my fierce loyalty and lengths I will go to to find a good cup and the manner in which I prepare for trips, well life really, to ensure I know where my next cup is going to come from. This year I have moved to the States and now live in San Francisco – yes I did coffee research before committing to the relocation! My work here for Xero has taken me to 7 cities in 7 States in the last 4 months and I enjoyed good coffee in all of them so for a bit of fun I thought I would share my recommendations.
Where to find good coffee in:
A lush green city known for its great water, beer, coffee and perhaps lesser well known facts, excellent pigeon population control and home to the word’s smallest park (Mill Ends Park)! No shortage of great independent roasters in this city.
My favorite was Public Domain – check out these machines and the gloss on that cappuccino!
San Francisco, California
My new home. I have a coffee app for that and I’m slowly working my way around the independent roasters here. Top of my list is Blue Bottle. They have a series of cafes and kiosks around town but my happy place is at their cafe in the Ferry Building, where I also get my weekly supply of beans.
I have to say, San Francisco has the longest lines for coffee in the world – all the big names here like Blue Bottle, Four Barrel, Ritual Roasters have lines that go out the door and you need to get used to building a 30 minute wait for coffee into your day. I’d say this is high demand for independent coffee … new cafe anyone?
Luckily most visitors to Washington DC are goggling at the White House or are in very important Government meetings so the local independent roasters slide somewhat under the radar, well, not mine! If you’re slightly out of the main crowded areas, Chinatown Coffee Co has a great space for coffee and a catch-up.
Also, M E Swing Coffee House, closer to the White House.
New York, New York
Definitely a Starbucks (shudder) on every corner in Manhattan but also loads of great independent cafes if you know where to look. My absolute favorite is Ninth Street Espresso, and in particular the one in Chelsea Market.
There are so many others – I can personally vouch for most of the cafes on this New York Times list – what can I say? I’m a girl on a mission! Try Saturdays Surf for a location with a difference or Rize if you’re caught in Midtown or Culture Espresso if you’re partial to an Australian accent or want to try a flat white (popular coffee order in New Zealand and Australia)!
Las Vegas, Nevada
Forget it. If you’re there for a conference and confined to the hotel and Strip there’s nothing. I did find one cafe in our hotel that didn’t seem to be a big chain outlet but even with 2 extra shots in the bucket-o-searing milk (at $2 per shot) I couldn’t drink much more than the 1st sip and at $8.50 for that coffee you’d think I’d force it down!
However, that same cafe over the course of my 4 days there, when I wasn’t searching out urns of hot water at buffet tables, did supply me with a cup of hot water at no charge so I could make my own coffee. Yes ladies and gentlemen I was forewarned by conference vendor veterans that the only way to get decent coffee in Las Vegas was to take your own – they might’ve meant a travel tin of Nescafe but I went all out.
My kit contains the only TSA-approved grinder – a thing of metal and ceramic beauty.
People were SO jealous when conference delegates were in session and I mixed up a brew … although the nature of my addiction was called into question … it’s just bad exposure, not white knuckles of desperation in this photo …
In the land of orange Long Horns t-shirts, big trucks, drive-thru banks and streets melted by the summer heat it is possible to get great coffee. Thanks to a Kiwi colleague who used to live in Austin I had a head start. Try Caffe Medici for somewhere reasonably central with lots of room to sit and meet.
Mostly barbecue, and I wasn’t prepared at all to drink their coffee so I had my trusty travel kit with me, however a bit of research uncovered a coffee-drinking hipster meeting point a 10 minute bus ride from our conference. Broadway Cafe.
An up and comer showing promise is Parisi’s new cafe in Union Station.
Are there any cafes in your town that I shouldn’t miss if I find myself there?
P.S. In the States, I recommend you order cappuccino at independent cafes for the best espresso-based-coffee-with-milk experience.