This is a guest post, written by Melina over at Coffee and Fernweh. She writes about two of my favorite things: travel and coffee! I’m so excited to share this post with you guys about the best coffee shops in the U.S. Melina hand-picked each of these cafes based on her own travels around the country. So keep reading and don’t forget to check out Melina’s blog when you’re done.
For me, coffee is LIFE! I’ve managed a licensed coffee shop for 11 years now, and every day my love and passion for good coffee grows. My days off are usually spent exploring local coffee shops. When I travel, I try to visit and try as many local coffee shops as I can. Needless to say, I’ve visited my fair share of coffee shops and have had a lot of mochas, iced coffees and lattes. The coffee shops I’m sharing with you in this post are the best coffee shops in the U.S. that I’ve been to. Without further ado and in no particular order, let’s talk coffee!
10 Awesome Coffee Shops in the U.S.
Barista was my favorite coffee shop in Portland. That’s probably a bold statement to make considering there are a lot of fantastic coffee shops in the city. There are five Barista locations throughout Portland. The location I visited was in the Pearl District. This was the first location they opened (in 2009) and it’s also the smallest. This shop is meant to be a grab-and-go so you can continue to explore Portland. They do have some seating outside and in the hallway if you want to sit and enjoy your coffee. Barista uses only the highest quality beans from some of the world’s best roasters. Plus their baristas are exceptionally talented and it really shows!
What to order: Mocha
Why I love it: Everything about this drink was perfect. The mocha wasn’t too sweet, the milk was aerated perfectly with micro foam, and the espresso was well balanced and didn’t taste burnt. Plus the latte art was on point.
Address: 539 NW 13th Ave Portland, OR
Another Portland favorite, Heart has three locations across the city. I visited their Westside Cafe. I saw Heart as I was walking from Tasty N Alder to Blue Star Donuts and had to go in (don’t judge). The shop is small, simply decorated but was well maintained. There isn’t a lot of seating in this location and the shop gets busy fast. The menu is small with only ten drinks, but they have perfected the few drinks they have. Heart only buys high quality green coffee from Africa, South America and Central America. They roast it themselves so it’s exactly the way they want it.
What to order: Mocha
Why I love it: The mocha is made with dark chocolate, it wasn’t overly sweet due to the chocolate choice, well balanced and smooth.
Address: 537 SW 12th Ave. Portland, OR
Aloha Roastery is hands down the best coffee shop on Kauai. Owned and operated by twin brothers, Aloha Roastery is located in Old Kōloa Town. When I was there in January 2018, they had only been open for eight months, but I expect they will be around for years to come. It’s a tiny shop, simply decorated, with a small retail whole bean section and two separate beautiful wood bars to sit at if you want to stay a while. There is a glass window in the shop that beautifully displays their coffee roaster that is located in a separate room. The brothers do roast small batches of their coffee in the shop. Their drinks are amazing, you can tell the twins pay close attention to details. If you’re visiting Kauai don’t waste your time on any other shops just come here and thank me later.
What to order: Mocha or iced coconut latte
Why I love it: Pure PERFECTION. The drinks were perfect, well balanced, smooth, not overly sweet, latte art was on point, perfect micro foam, I could go on and on about why I love this coffee shop.
Address: 5356 Koloa Rd. Koloa, HI
Island Vintage Coffee
Island Vintage Coffee has numerous locations on Oahu and one coffee shop on Maui. The Maui location is in Whaler’s Village and that is the shop I’ve been to numerous times. They have a fairly decent sized drink and food menu. The shop is a good size, they have plenty of seating inside and there is also a lot of seating outside the shop. They have quite the merchandise selection; they sell everything from mugs, stainless steel flasks, to honey and chocolate covered coffee beans. IVC has been open since 1996. They only use 100% Kona Coffee which is roasted daily, to ensure freshness. All of IVC’s products, from coffee to food to merchandise, comes from local farmers and artisans which is why I love this shop so much.
What to order: Coconut Kona Mocha
Why I love it: This blended drink puts all other blended drinks to shame! Freshly ground Kona coffee, coconut, and mocha blended together to make the perfect drink on a warm day on the island.
Address: 2435 Kaanapali Pkwy Unit L5 Lahaina,HI
Akamai Coffee has two locations, one in Kihei and one in Kahului. I visited the one in Kahului, it’s located in the far end of the Home Depot parking lot closer to the gas station. It’s the cutest little coffee shop EVER! It’s drive-thru only but they take drive-ups on both sides of the building. They serve 100% Maui Coffees, which are obviously locally grown. They have a small pastry selection and the baristas are some of the friendliest I’ve ever encountered.
What to order: Iced Mocha with mac nut syrup
Why I love it: It has a subtle mocha taste with a strong mac nut taste which I was totally into!
Address: 100 Pakaula St Kahului, HI
Goddess and The Baker
Goddess and the Bake is my go-to coffee shop in Chicago. Goddess has two locations in the city and another coming soon to Brookfield, WI. Goddess offers a rotating selection of beans from their favorite third wave roasters. They serve pour-over and drip coffee, cold brew on Nitro tap (which I’ve had, it’s amazing), and handcrafted espresso drinks made on their custom La Marzocco espresso machine. They have the largest pastry selection I’ve ever seen! The shop I visited is on Wabash Street. They have a decent amount of seating inside and some tables outside as well. Goddess is your one stop shop, they offer a variety of options for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. It’s also important to note that they are cashless!
What to order: Mocha
Why I love it: They use a mocha sauce, they actually put the cup on a food scale and weighed it out to get the perfect amount. The espresso was perfect, the milk was aerated perfectly and it had just the right amount of sweetness from the mocha.
Address: 33 S. Wabash Avenue, Chicago,IL
Chino Hills, California
Dripp has two locations in Southern California: one in Fullerton, one in Chino Hills. I’ve been to the Chino Hills location so many times, I’ve lost count. The shop is really cute, with old time coffee grinders lining the front window. Dripp offers a good sized pastry selection along with having an ice cream bar. There is plenty of seating inside, it has two levels, and there is a large patio area as well with plenty of seating. All the baristas I’ve encountered have been very friendly and helpful. They do have a small retail section as well. I love the vibe inside this shop, it’s vintage but modern and very hipster. I’ve been working my way through the menu, every drink I’ve tried has been fantastic.
What to order: Submarine Shake with a homemade strawberry pop tart
Why I love it: The Submarine Shake is cold brew, with coffee ice cream blended together to make the perfect summer time drink! The homemade pop tart is to die for! It has a nice flaky pie crust with a delicious strawberry filling.
Address: 13855 City Center Dr #3015 Chino Hills, CA
Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room
The original Starbucks Reserve Roastery is located in Seattle, which is appropriate considering Seattle is the birthplace of Starbucks. This is basically Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for coffee lovers. Say what you want about Starbucks, one thing they know how to do well is coffee. When you walk in, all your senses come alive. There is so much to look at, experience, and smell. The retail here is one-of-a-kind and can only be found at Reserve Roastery & Tasting Rooms. The drinks served here aren’t your typical Starbucks drinks. You can’t get a frappuccino here but you can get a cold brew ice cream float, and that is so much better. They have two roasters for their reserve coffees and you can watch master roasters at work daily. They have a small library, and you can even do coffee flights! They paid close attention to every detail in this store and it shows.
Since this location opened in 2014, they have opened another in Shanghai. They also have plans to open a Roastery & Tasting room in: Tokyo, New York City (2018), Chicago (2019), and Milan.
What to order: Coffee Flight
Why I love it: They have a few to choose from, I’ve done two and loved them both. It’s a great way to experience coffee a different way
Address: 1124 Pike Street Seattle, WA
Enchanted Coffee Bar
La Mirada, California
Enchanted Coffee Bar is a cute little coffee shop in La Mirada, California. The shop is trendy and simply decorated. They have plenty of seating inside and outside. Enchanted has a small pastry selection, I’ve had the chocolate chip cookie and the chocolate scone, and I’d get both again. They serve coffee from some of my favorite Portland Roasters: Heart Roasters, Copa Vida and Forty-Ninth Parallel. The staff is friendly and helpful. They didn’t seem to mind me asking a ton of questions.
What to order: Alchemy Shake
Why I love it: Vanilla ice cream with a double shot of espresso and crushed coffee beans blended together. It’s my favorite drink here.
Address: 13391 S Beach Blvd, Ste A La Mirada,CA
Located on famous Whittier Blvd, this new little shop actually specializes in Boba and other specialty teas. They do have a small espresso drink selection that I am currently working my way through. The shop is simple, they have a small retail section that has a variety of tea cups and tea pots. There is plenty of seating inside. What brought me to this shop to begin with is their macaron ice cream sandwiches, which come in the following flavors: coffee, vanilla, green tea, strawberry and mango. They also have a small pastry selection, mostly consisting of croissants that are made fresh in house daily. Brianna is the only barista I’ve seen, she is so sweet and helpful. I’ve had five different drinks, three different croissants and the macaron ice cream sandwich, so far. Everything I’ve gotten has been amazing.
What to order: Iced white mocha and the guava cheese strudel
Why I love it: Usually white mocha is overly sweet but not this one! First thing you taste is espresso with hints of sweetness at the end, it’s so good, I’ve gotten it twice already. The guava cheese strudel is flaky, soft, moist and full of big guava flavor.
Address: 14838 Whittier Blvd., Whittier, CA
Thanks so much to Melina for writing this post for Travel Daze. I’ve been to both Barista and Heart in Portland, and I agree that they are some really great cafes. I’m definitely adding the rest of these coffee shops to my list of places to try!
All photos in this post belong to Melina.
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If you’d like to contribute a guest post to Travel Daze, send an email introducing yourself and tell me what you want to write about! courtney @ traveldaze.co
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