By Dan Gentile
These days, you can get a great cup of coffee in almost any American city, but despite the ubiquity of quality coffee beans, some grounds are more hallowed than others.
When comparing the coffee cultures in different cities, there are a lot of elements to consider. Historical significance, industry influence, progressiveness of micro-roasters, number of quality cafes, and how snobby the baristas are all come into play, as well as an overall, totally nebulous sense of city identity.
It's impossible to take a scientific approach with so many factors involved, but to have the best grasp on the national coffee landscape we consulted a distinguished group of coffee roasters, baristas, writers, and industry leaders to get their opinions on which cities are currently leading the pack. These are the eight best cities for coffee lovers. No cream or sugar required.
8. Kansas City, KS/MO
Outside of small roasters, the Midwest isn't usually considered a hotbed of java, but Kansas City rounds out our list thanks to a surprisingly rich coffee culture dating back to early '90s trailblazer PT's, which now cranks out 100 tons of beans a year, but hasn't sacrificed quality despite its juggernaut status (the beanery ranked #5 on our list of best roasters).
But one great company does not a coffee city make. KC's roasting ranks are bolstered by the likes of The Roasterie (which has been at it even longer than PT's), cult favorites like Oddly Correct, and shops with a meticulous mind for brewing like Quay and Second Best, which have to keep their shots on point in case Specialty Coffee Association of America president and hometown hero Tracy Allen happens to stop by.
Dan Gentile is a staff writer at Thrillist. He lives in Austin, TX, and yes that makes him a little biased.