We’ve been to 230+ coffee shops in the USA and we’ve compiled a list of our top 29 unique coffee shops in America. Each coffee shop brings something unique to the table and we’re sharing why each shop is special to us so keep reading.
If you’ve followed along with our adventures for a while now, you know we love coffee. Like loooove coffee. In fact, if you look at our Google Pins map you can see we’ve tried 230+ coffee shops in the country so far.
While we love coffee for the sake of taste alone, we love the coffee shop culture for the way it brings people together and helps cultivate community, offers a place to relax or work, and (in some cases) gives back to the local or international community. Coffee is its own little culture and one we’ve loved learning about and experiencing throughout our travels. It’s one of our regular budget splurges and we’re not even sorry. :)
While we’ve been to a lot of great shops, we know there are still a lot of other quality shops out there that we have yet to visit. Because we haven’t been to all the best shops, we can’t stake the claim that these are THE absolute best shops in America. Instead we’re saying these are OUR favorite coffee shops in America: 2020 edition.
Let’s get going.
How do we rate the Best coffee shops in America?
There are three main variables we consider when judging a coffee shop’s overall quality:
Quality and taste of the coffee itself
Atmosphere of the the shop
Are the baristas friendly/welcoming?
There are other factors such as wi-fi strength, parking situation, and noise level that we consider as digital nomads, but because not everyone reading this list is a digital nomad, we’re going to focus on judging these shops primarily based on the 3 values above.
Each coffee shop on this list is given it’s own superlative award. Keep in mind these rankings are all based on our personal opinions and values of what we think makes up unique coffee shops in America.
Do you have a unique coffee shops in America that we didn’t include on this list? Let us know in the comments at the bottom of this post!
Hands down our favorite roasters in the USA is PERC. I know that’s a big claim, but we keep coming back to this shop for their delicious coffee and hospitable environment. The folks who run this roasters are some of the kindest baristas we’ve ever met and they serve up fresh, flavorful coffee and espresso drinks in their coffee shop/roasters space. We spent our first 6 weeks of the covid-19 pandemic in Savannah, GA and we credit PERC’s to-go coffee beans and cold brew growlers for keeping us semi-sane and alive during those weird days.
Find them at: 1802 E Broad St, Savannah, GA 31401 // Google Maps
Favorite Mobile Coffee Shop // Minneapolis, Minnesota
What’s not to love about a coffee shop that’s pulled behind a bike? This shop makes delicious craft espresso drinks using only gluten free, vegan Oatly milk (which if you haven’t tried Oatly yet, you need to!!). If you stop by the Camden Farmers Market to grab some coffee from Bluestem, be sure to tell the owners Alex and Jess that Chris and Sara sent you. The combo of great coffee + bikes is what puts Blue Stem Coffee Bike on our list of unique coffee shops in America.
Find them at: Camden Farmers Market in north Minneapolis every Saturday between July 18-October 10 from 12:00-4:00pm.
Nicest Coffee Shop with No Wi-Fi // Portland, Maine
Most of the time when we roll into a coffee shop we’re looking for some caffeine to accompany a few hours of work. Take my word for it, Tandem isn’t the place to get work done though and you’ll be glad they don’t have w-fi for customers. This place is small and intimate with a few nice picnic tables outside. The coffee is incredible (especially the iced lattes!) and the baristas are always welcoming and friendly. While they don’t provide wi-fi, it’s not because they’re trying to get rid of you as fast as possible. They serve all drinks in real glasses/cups and provide a comfortable environment perfect for conversation so grab a drink and stay a while talking with friends face to face for a bit.
This is one of our absolute favorite spots in Portland, Maine and we can’t recommend it highly enough!
Find them at: 122 Anderson St, Portland, ME 04101 // Google Maps
Note: Tandem has two locations in Portland -- the roasters (referenced above) and a coffee shop + bakery not far away from the roasters. Both are great environments but the bakery tends to be very busy and much noisier since it’s the larger space.
Even if Goodman wasn’t in our hometown we still would have come up with a superlative award for them because we love their coffee. These guys just opened a second shop location (which is actually in the same space as the roasters) so obviously business is doing well. The coffee is great, the environment at both locations is welcoming, and everyone we’ve ever met working at the shops has been friendly and incredibly down to earth. If you find yourself in Chattanooga be sure to stop by their location in St. Elmo and enjoy an Iced Oat Milk Latte on their back patio.
Find them at: 3913 St Elmo Ave Suite B, Chattanooga, TN 37409 // Google Maps
Tucked in a little house, Little Lion is one of the most cheerful shops on this list. Love coffee? Love ice cream? This place is for you. With ½ coffee shop and ½ ice cream, this place is perfect for conversation or getting a little work done. We highly recommend trying an Americano or golden latte then following up with some ice cream while you’re there.
Find them at: 2721 E Central Ave, Wichita, KS 67214 // Google Maps
Most Kinfolk/Minimalist Vibes // San Diego, California
San Diego is already too cool for its own good and Moniker is one of the coolest spots in town to hang while sipping on a cup of coffee. This place makes you feel like you’ve just stepped inside the most beautiful minimalist style photoshoot with it’s white walls, wood accents, and pretty tile floors. The baristas at this shop are espresso pros who can make your latte dreams come true. Grab a drink and sit a while in their airy, beautiful space. Or take your drink to go and walk and explore the rest of Liberty Station.
Fine them at: 2860 Sims Rd, San Diego, CA 92106 // Google Maps
So Storyville isn't exactly a secret since they have four locations around the Seattle area, but this location down at Pike Place Market is (in my opinion) a hidden gem. Tucked away upstairs in a building overlooking the market this is the perfect place to hideout on a rainy Seattle day. Storyville roasts their own beans so they're fresh and full of flavor and make incredible espresso for lattes and Americanos. Grab a seat by the fireplace or by the window to people watch over Pike Place for the morning while you enjoy your drink in one of our favorite unique coffee shops in America.
Note: Storyville also holds the award for Best Chocolate Chip Cookie in our opinion so be sure to grab one of those while you're there, too!!
Find them at: 94 Pike Street, Top, floor Suite 34, Seattle, WA 98101 // Google Maps
Most Instagram Worthy Coffee Shop // Tampa, Florida
This one is a little bit confusing because it’s really sort of two in one. Buddy Brew is a local coffee shop with a few different locations in the western Florida area. Each of their individual shops are super fun and serve up delicious drinks. But their location inside Oxford Exchange in Tampa is really another level. Oxford Exchange is a restaurant + coffee shop that is one of the most beautiful café spaces we’ve ever experienced. If you find yourself anywhere nearby, do yourself a favor and stop for at least a cup of coffee (but we’d recommend staying for brunch, too).
Find them at: 420 W Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL 33606 // Google Maps
Best Iced Coffee for a Hot Summer Day // St. Petersburg, Florida
BANDIT located in St. Petersburg, Florida is a shop we return to again and again. Chris and I both agree their iced lattes are some of the best we’ve ever had at any of the unique coffee shops in America on this list. The shop itself is minimalist and pleasantly hipster, but we typically prefer grabbing our drinks to go to sit on the bench out front or take them straight to the beach.
Find them at: 2662 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33712 // Google Maps
Denver, Colorado is home to lots of amazing coffee shops including Huckleberry Roasters and Sweet Bloom Coffee which typically attract the most attention, but our favorite that we’ve visited so far is Sapor Coffee. This is one of those places that we never would have discovered if it weren’t for the recommendation of one of our friends local in the Denver area. Our friend knows her coffee well and this place came highly recommended by her. We weren’t at all disappointed when we stopped by and were greeted by friendly baristas and flavorful cortados in their bright, beautiful space.
Find them at: 2795 Speer Blvd UNIT 17, Denver, CO 80211 // Google Maps
Best Coffee Shop with a Cause // Seattle, Washington
Ah, Seattle. There are so many shops to choose from in this one city alone. Out of all of the dozens of shops we’ve visited in Seattle, Miir ranks the highest (in our opinion) and we make an effort to visit here at least once every time we’re back in the Emerald City. Located in the popular and trendy neighborhood of Fremont, this Seattle shop ranks high as one of our all time favorite coffee shops.
Miir serves up Olympia Coffee (which we love!) but it’s the mission behind their shop and products that standout most to us. A percentage of their profits go to funding clean water projects around the world. When you buy one of their mugs or thermoses you are given a code where you can see what project your purchase has helped fund. This shop prioritizes transparency and cares not just for the planet but for the people the planet is home to.
Find them at: 3400 Stone Way N, Seattle, WA 98103 // Google Maps
Happiest coffee shop might seem like an off award, but trust me, the second you walk in the doors of this shop you’ll get it. The bright yellow walls in a Scandinavian inspired shop design is incredibly cheerful and the perfect match for those hot, sunny summer days or the perfect contrast for those dull, dark winter days.
This shop serves up the high quality Counter Culture Coffee (which is from just down the street in Durham, North Carolina) and even has delicious biscuits on the menu. I’ve ordered everything here from drip coffee to cortados and everything has always tasted incredible and often includes beautiful latte art. I’ll admit this coffee shop holds a lot of sentimental value for us as this is where Chris and I used to go all the time when we were dating and living in Raleigh but it’s definitely worth the stop for anyone who finds themselves in the Research Triangle area.
Because this shop is located right next to the North Carolina State University college campus it can get pretty busy. Go knowing you might not be able to snag a table.
Find them at: 2100 Hillsborough St, Raleigh, NC 27607 // Google Maps
Note: Jubala has two locations in the Raleigh area but we definitely recommend visiting the Hillsborough Street shop.
Best Coffee Shop for a Saturday Morning // Bozeman, Montana
Alright, Bozeman as a whole is already an incredible town and this coffee shop was definitely the highlight for us when we spent a few weeks in Bozeman during the summer of 2019. One of my favorite memories from that whole summer was the mornings we spent sitting in the Adirondack chairs on their front lawn sipping on our coffee.
It’s not just the shop vibes we love about this place though! Treeline is a roastery, too and their coffee is absolutely wonderful! Truthfully we ordered plain drip coffee almost every time we were there because we loved their coffee roasts so much.
Find them at: 624 N Wallace Ave, Bozeman, MT 59715 // Google Maps
Best Low Key Neighborhood Shop // Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is the southern version of Los Angeles. Everyone is trying to “make it” and pursue their dreams. The result? Nashville tends to feel a bit snooty and stuffy these days. The Nashville I grew up knowing is slowly vanishing. While Humphrey’s isn’t an old timer of the coffee scene, it feels like it’s a small time shop with a strong neighborhood vibe, something Nashville is losing so quickly as more and more people are relocating to Music City. Located in an old house, this shop serves up delicious espresso drinks with a smile in a cozy setting.
The whole place felt familiar the first time we ever walked in. It instantly became one of those places I wanted to return to again and again to slip into a seat by the window and just read a book for a while. Its neighborhood familiar feel is what earned Humphrey's its spot on our list of unique coffee shops in America.
Find them at: 424 Humphreys St, Nashville, TN 37203 // Google Maps
Portland, Oregon is openly pretentious when it comes to coffee (and for good reason!). This city is home to numerous incredible roasters and there seems to be a coffee shop on every corner. At the top of almost every “best coffee in Portland” list you’ll find Coava. These guys roast and brew incredible coffee (and they know it). While they are unashamedly pretentious, they sort of deserve the right to be. I had the most incredible iced latte of my entire life when we stopped at Coava during the summer of 2019. I know, I know... that’s a claim I make a couple of other times in this blog post but bear with me-- choosing “best latte” is an incredible tough competition.
Find them at: 1171 SW Jefferson St, Portland, OR 97201 // Google Maps Note: They have four different locations around Portland, this is just the one we typically visit.
Coziest Coffee Shop for a Cold Fall Day // Rockport, Maine
This is one of those shops that we just happened to stumble upon one day while driving from Portland, Maine to Camden, Maine. We saw this little place on the way and just had to stop. To this day it remains one of my favorite little coffee shops in the country! First off, the town of Rockport is picture perfect and the coffee shop is set right down in the middle of this little town.
With a cozy shop environment and a beautiful back porch with a view overlooking the water I could have stayed there for days. We grabbed a seat by the window to enjoy our morning coffee and score and it was perfect. While we did get a little work done on our computers while we were there I’d recommend this place more for relaxing than working because it’s one of those truly quaint, special environments that has all the New England feels.
Find them at: 22 Central St, Rockport, ME 04856 // Google Maps
Note: While many shops and restaurants in this area close during the winter, Seafolk stays open with modified hours.
If you're like me, you don't know too much about Arkansas past Hot Springs National Park and that it's the home of Bill Clinton and Walmart. However, one of our favorite coffees in the country is from Arkansas: Onyx Coffee Lab! With three locations in the state (Fayetteville, two locations in , and the HQ in Rogers), you'll be well caffeinated when visiting Arkansas. Fun fact: they just started serving Onyx at our favorite bakery (Neidlov's) in our home town of Chattanooga, TN. So if you're passing through our town, stop there to give them a try, or try our favorite coffee shop in Chattanooga, Goodman's.
This one is a little different than the other shops on the list but we felt it definitely warranted a mention here for that very reason. While Versailles Cuban Bakery does have a restaurant with seating, right next door is a walkup window where you can order fresh baked goods and delicious cuban espresso drinks. It’s authentic, quick, and soooo good! I had never had Cuban coffee until we visited here and now I’d say I’m hooked. The walkup window is all part of the experience too so don’t let the lack of seating discourage you from visiting! It was really fun seeing the locals grab their morning shot of coffee at the window, exchange a few words with the other regulars then continue on their way to work.
Find them at: 3501 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33135 // Google Maps
Coffee, beer, and tacos. What’s not to love? Add some live music in there (which they have, too!) and it’s everything we love about Austin. (Okay, Austonians, don’t hate us-- we know there’s more to your city than this but we’re still pretty focused on your number of taco trucks.) With loads of outside seating and indoor seating this place can get pretty busy. The general mood of the place in the morning is pretty different from what you get in the evening when the bar is in full swing and there’s music playing outside. If we lived in Austin we’d probably be here with friends all the time! We really love visiting this place when we’re in town because it’s the perfect place to grab some breakfast or lunch with our coffee and get a little bit of work done on the patio with our pup, Kramer.
Find them at: 4204 Manchaca Rd, Austin, TX 78704 // Google Maps
Alright, this might be one of the most biased shops on the list since it’s local to my college town: Athens, Georgia (GO DAWGS!). But seriously, this coffee shop + roasters is pretty incredible and serves up some of the highest quality single origin roasts we’ve ever had. Their shop is beautiful and bright, but if you plan on enjoying your drink inside the shop I’d recommend getting there early since you’ll be racing the other 35,000+ college students in town for a seat. While you’re there be sure to grab a bag (or two) of coffee to go to enjoy at home throughout the week.
Find them at: 510 N Thomas St, Athens, GA 30601 // Google Maps
Coffee Shop for a Coffee Date // Salt Lake City, Utah
Truthfully I knew this shop needed to be on the list because we’ve visited several times now and have loved it everytime. I thought “best coffee shop for a coffee date” seemed like the best superlative to give it since 1) it’s not very work friendly, and 2) it’s pretty. Most people in the shop are busy talking rather than working (how refreshing, right?!). This is the perfect place to enjoy a casual conversation over a cup of coffee while sitting by one of the many giant windows that keep the space so well naturally lit and airy. This is not only one of the prettiest coffee shops we've ever been to but it's one of the most unique coffee shops in America.
Find them at: 502 3rd Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84103 // Google Maps
Note: They have two locations in town but this is the one we always visit.
Perfect To-Go Coffee (because you’ll never get a seat) // Minneapolis, Minnesota
I love Spyhouse, and apparently so does everyone else in Minneapolis. I’ve been to this shop at least a dozen times now and I can only ever remember snagging a seat once. But, don’t let that discourage you from visiting! This place is one of the best in the midwest for quality coffee in a fun environment. With 6 locations around Minneapolis, you’ll never be far from a good cup of coffee. Seeing as Minneapolis is an incredibly bike friendly city, I’d recommend grabbing a cold brew to go and biking around town…. Unless it’s the winter in Minnesota in which case I’d highly recommend an extra hot latte inside one of their cozy shops.
Find them at: 2451 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404 // Google Maps
Note: Like I already mentioned, Spyhouse has 6 locations in Minneapolis, this is just the location we most frequently stop in at and love!
Cozy Gem of a Coffee Shop in a Cold, Busy City // Washington D.C.
Okay, I don’t mean Washington D.C.’s actual temperatures are cold (I mean, their winters are actually relatively moderate), I mean the city of D.C. is incredibly serious and all business and politics. Yes, there are incredible parks and miles and mile of cycling trails, but overall this city is hardly laid back. Nestled right next door to Union Station is the wonderful little warm and welcoming coffee shop. Serving high quality espresso drinks, this place is the perfect place to retreat for a little rest and relaxation when looking for a caffeine jolt.
Find them at: 201 F St NE, Washington, DC 20002 // Google Maps
Technically this place is more chocolate factory than it is coffee shop. But that’s not going to stop me from including it on the list unique coffee shops in America. In the front of the factory is a coffee shop serving up the most amazing mocha drinks you’ve ever tasted! Videri uses Black and White Roasters for their coffee drinks and chocolate made in shop for their mocha.
Full disclosure here: when I was fresh out of college and making next to nothing at my office job I worked at this little chocolate shop on the weekends to make ends meet. I actually loved working here and I’m not only a coffee snob but also a chocolate snob. I highly recommend stopping by this place to get some free chocolate samples and an iced mocha (trust me, it’s THE BEST in Raleigh).
Find them at: 327 W Davie St, Raleigh, NC 27601 // Google Maps
Ideal Escape from a Busy City // Brooklyn, NYC, NY
I love New York City. I want to move to NYC one day, even for just a year to experience it in every season. Just because I love the business of the city doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a quiet safe haven amidst the chaos. We stumbled into the Brooklyn location of Devociéon a few years back and have since returned to this special little brightly lit spot full of warm leather, wood, and brick accents and plenty of plant babies lining the walls. For a city that never sleeps, this shop provides the coffee to keep you awake for you long days + a place to relax before you get back out there. The coffee is top notch and a freshly roasted which you can taste no matter what you order.
Find them at: 69 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11249 // Google Maps
Note: The address is for their Williamsburg location. But they have multiple locations throughout the city including a couple in Manhattan.
Typically we’re pretty boring with it comes to our coffee shop drinks of choice. Half the time we order plain, old drip coffee. (Boring, I know.) Every now and then we’ll order some special, seasonal drink when we see something extra special on the menu. Scout and Co. O.N.E. is one of those shops where both times we stopped through town I had to try one of their seasonal latte. I believe the first time we stopped I had a Campfire Latte complete with a toasted marshmallow floating around on top. Not only was it fall in a cup, it was so cute and so so good!
Find them at: 237 North Ave, Burlington, VT 05401 // Google Maps
the customer service we receive at a coffee shop can really make or break the visit for us. We’re not hard on the employees with crazy requests, we just appreciate being greeted with a smile. Maybe even some small talk with the baristas if we grab a seat at the counter. To us it’s a great way to get to know the locals and hear about what’s good in town. Coeur d’Alene Coffee Co. was one of those shops where we instantly felt welcome! From the moment we walked into their warm and well lit shop, we knew we would come back here over and over again. The baristas weren’t just friendly though. Their freshly roasted in house coffee drinks were delicious and I believe we stayed so long we ordered second drinks.
Find them at: 418 E Lakeside Ave, Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814 // Google Maps
Most Fun Coffee Shop Environment for Hanging Out Anytime of Day // Bend, Oregon
Gosh, I love Bend, Oregon. And so does just about every other person who stumbles through the town. Spoken Moto is one of those places that just instantly makes you feel like you’re home. While the shop itself is pretty large, their patio outside surrounded by multiple regular food truck vendors is what makes it a place to hangout no matter the time of day! Looking to get some work done? Sit at a quiet table inside! Meeting a friend for brunch? Sit on the patio! I wish so badly our hometown had something like Spoken Moto. It’s hard to find this good of coffee in a space that’s this fun. Spoken Moto is high on our list of favorite unique coffee shops in America.
Find them at: 310 SW Industrial Way, Bend, OR 97702 // Google Maps
18th Street Coffee House
Best Coffee Shop for Conversation (and Screen Plays) // Santa Monica, CA
This is one of those places that if you just drove by you wouldn’t think anything of it. We actually saw online that Bob Dillion owned a coffee shop in Santa Monica. Naturally were all too curious to see what kind of a place he had created. Turns out it’s awesome! They don’t have wi-fi in the shop, but they have a great patio and the whole space feels very vintage rock. I can’t really put my finger on what gives it this vibe, but when you go, you’ll get it. When we visited almost every single person was working on a screenplay. It was probably the most Los Angeles thing I’ve ever been a part of. Oh, and the coffee.
I know this post is all about coffee shops, but this is one of the few where truthfully the coffee didn’t standout to me. In fact, I can’t remember it at all. I don’t remember it being bad so at worst it’s mediocre. I know that’s not a raving review, but it’s still worth visiting to experience this unique coffee shops in America for yourself.
Find them at: 1725 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90404 // Google Maps
Ever wanted to grab coffee and brunch with a round of bowling between the two? No? Well now you can anyway. A few of these bowling social spaces have popped up around the country but Pinewood is the O.G. This space doesn’t just serve up delicious coffee from a kiosk type stand by Crema in the front. You also have the option to grab a meal, sign up for a round of bowling, and if you stay through the evening you can grab a drink at their full service bar. This place sort of does it all. I’m not totally sure this one qualifies as a coffee shop. But it’s pretty unique so I thought it warranted a place on the list of unique coffee shops in America.
Find them at: 33 Peabody St, Nashville, TN 37210 // Google Maps
Chris and I stumbled upon this shop back in the summer of 2014 when we were biking across America. We ended up here one night on tour and since then we’ve driven out of our way to grab coffee here. It’s cozy, welcoming, and the giant piano below the pick up window is super cool (be sure to look for this when you go!). But more than its especially good work environment is the combination of the wonderful, quality coffee best enjoyed tucked back in the back of the shop. This shop holds sentimental value for us which is the main reason it made the list. But it truly is a special spot that deserves a spot on our unique coffee shops in America list.
Find them at: 100 Northwestern Ave, West Lafayette, IN 47906 // Google Maps
Final Thoughts about unique coffee shops in America
We by no means have visited all of the wonderful coffee shops in this country. But we’ve certainly made pretty good progress checking them off one by one. :) As we discover more special places and think they’re worthy to be on this list we’ll be sure to add them.
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We're Chris and Sara
A creative husband and wife duo from a small-town in Tennessee with passion for all things travel. Checkout the links below to join us on our past, present, and future adventures!