It’s been more than two decades since Starbucks started serving designer lattes in Seattle, and America’s obsession with coffee continues to grow as a new wave of independent, boutique cafés opens across the country. The mark of a great café isn’t just about a well-poured cup. Coffee snobs might not adore the chicory-spiced coffee at Café du Monde in New Orleans, but the atmosphere and location of the open-air café overlooking Jackson Square—and the powdered-sugar-covered beignets—are incredible.

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