Plus, at least one runner-up for every choice.
There's never been a better time to be a coffee drinker here in the United States. After decades of sporadic gains, the years surrounding the turn of the century saw this country enter into something like a Golden Age of caffeine consumption. Today, the effects of this seismic transformation are being felt not only in each of the 50 states, but around the globe, as well. And we're not done yet. With the elder statesmen of the bean-fueled revolution now all but household brands, and with the idea of a true American café culture no longer limited to a select handful of fortunate cities, the marketplace appears hungry for further exploration and experimentation. We are, once again, ready for the next level.
On a now wonderfully crowded playing field, who are the top scorers? We set out to take a close look at the scene in each of the 50 states, sampling a lifetime's worth of espresso and coming up with some incredible finds—best believe we're always on the hunt for more. In the meantime, go forth and get buzzed.
Alabama: Prevail Union, Montgomery
A double shot of modernity for the capital city's handsome but still sleepy downtown, this up-to-speed café from Auburn's Prevail Coffee Roasters plants a flag for the future, just down Dexter Avenue from the seat of state government. Housed in temporary digs just now, the café will ultimately land inside an impressive (and almost completed) mixed-use complex just over Court Square, carved from Montgomery's iconic Kress building.
Also try Two UA grads who learned the craft in Nashville returned to Tuscaloosa to open Monarch Espresso, while in Birmingham, the extremely pro-bike Woodlawn Cycle Café vibes coffee shop, but functions more like an all-day café (a very good-looking one, at that).
Alaska: Steamdot, Anchorage
In a state of fiercely committed coffee drinkers (just you try surviving winter without the stuff), loyalties to now-classic local brands are fierce and unwavering; this relatively recent entry blends that passion with a more modern setup. Pourovers aren't always worth the wait—here, they absolutely are.
Also try Fans of classic Northwest coffee houses will flip for the vintage vibe (and the quality of the shots pulled) at Side Street Espresso, something of a treasure in downtown Anchorage.
Arizona: Presta Coffee Roasters, Tucson
One of those towns that got lucky, relatively early on, Arizona's second city still knows coffee best, at least around these parts. Right now, the city is all about this super-mod operation, featuring two high-design hangouts—one at Presta's roasting plant, the other inside the quite chic Mercado San Agustin, these days one of Tucson's favorite gathering places, and for good reason.
Arkansas: Onyx Coffee Lab, Fayetteville
By now, the reputation of this roaster—with its collection of four standout cafes—reaches far beyond Northwest Arkansas (yes, home of Walmart), and while the expertly-sourced beans tend to do most of the talking here, the precision with which you'll typically find an Onyx barista working is most impressive, almost as if they had masses of competition waiting to steal away their customers, out the front door. (They don't. Not for miles.)
Also try First you'll fall in love with Little Rock's nearly idyllic Hillcrest neighborhood, then you'll walk into Mylo Coffee Co., a popular local hangout. Sure, you can move here. Bet they'd be happy to have you.
California: Andytown Coffee Roasters, San Francisco
Belfast native Michael McCrory met Lauren Crabbe behind an espresso machine in San Diego, her hometown. A move up north for school brought the pair to the relatively quiet Outer Sunset section of the city, to the opening of this café, to considerable success (and acclaim) on the roasting front, and then another café, just up the road. All of this good fortune aside, the cafes maintain the feeling of a treasured neighborhood hangout—that is, on days when lines aren't out the door.
Also try The recent transformation of Los Angeles café culture has been an absolute pleasure to observe—from the just-right Civil Coffee in Highland Park to the cutting-edge Coffee Hall in Chinatown (look for local roaster Compelling Coffee in the rotation) to local legend Tyler Wells' downtown kiosk, Nice Coffee, to the initially controversial (but really, very good) Weird Wave Coffee in Boyle Heights, for the most exciting developments, look east.
Colorado: Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters, Lakewood
Wrapping your head around just how many roasters are doing good work in booming Denver right now could take a while—there's Middle State, Corvus, Huckleberry, Commonwealth; Boulder's got Ozo, and Boxcar, too. Andy Sprenger's operation, however, an unlikely gem in the relatively unglamorous suburb of Lakewood, feels like the truest find, right now—Sprenger traveled the world, did time with Ceremony Coffee in Annapolis, and snagged his share of industry awards before returning home to start the business. Besides being a sought-after roaster, Sweet Bloom's café serves as a much-welcomed third place for the neighborhood.
Also try Colorado Springs takes its share of heat for lagging behind trends, but there's nothing not terrific about Loyal Coffee, a skilled operation that also happens to be a cooperative between the six founding baristas.
Connecticut: Story & Soil Coffee, Hartford
A trio of talented locals, passionate in equal measures about coffee and their city, joined up last year to create one of New England's most modern multi-roaster cafes, on an appealing block at the heart of Connecticut's struggling state capital. Success was far from assured, and the sailing hasn't always been entirely smooth, but at least in this corner of town, things are looking up.
Delaware: Brandywine Coffee Roasters, Wilmington
You could always get a nice cup of coffee at Brew HaHa!, Delaware's best-known mini-chain, but with the launch of Brandywine Coffee Roasters a few years back, founder Alisa Morkides, ever passionate about sourcing, took things in-house, and also to a brilliant new place. Quickly garnering heaps of national attention, Brandywine supplies the nine Brew HaHa! stores from its roasting operation in Wilmington's Trolley Square neighborhood, fronted by a visually arresting flagship café, one that feels more like the lobby of a hip (but also fun) hotel, than just another coffee shop.
Also try Over in Newark, Little Goat Coffee Roasting is a relatively new operation, drawing a great deal of local attention—more competition is surely a good thing.
Florida: Panther Coffee, Miami
The Sunshine State has its share of interesting new cafes, but this extremely good roaster transcends not only its peers, but also bests the top offerings in many other states in the Southeast, and perhaps beyond. And here we are, still just talking about the coffee—the energy of Panther's cafes, which function as life hubs in a growing number of neighborhoods, from Coconut Grove to Little Haiti, is typically something approaching electric, and never to be missed. Don’t start a South Florida day without a visit to Panther.
Also try Orlando's sleepy but cool East End is home to the terrific Lineage Coffee Roasters, while over in Tampa, acclaimed roaster King State is preparing to open its first café, in historic Ybor City. Up in Jacksonville, the utterly charming Vagabond Coffee Co. is helping to perk up the sleepy Murray Hill neighborhood.
Georgia: East Pole Coffee Co., Atlanta
Jared Karr's dream of becoming an FBI agent ended up with him living in Indonesia (long story, ask him), where he developed a fascination with coffee, as you do. These days, Karr is back home, busily growing one of the Southeast's most promising roasters—East Pole's bright and light café in the Armour Yards development is all but brand new, but this already feels like one of Atlanta's great coffee shops.
Also try Limited opening hours at Radio Roasters' Atlanta facility give hardcore fans a view to the inner workings of this skilled operation, while over in Athens, the highly-regarded 1000 Faces has opened a new flagship roaster/café.
Hawaii: Kona Coffee Purveyors, Honolulu
Familiarity breeds contempt—for proof, look no further than the way Hawaii treats one of its most prized exports. Not too kindly, that's for sure. Not that you can't find a proper cup of the local coffee here—you just have to be a little bit careful. A pleasant morning stroll from most Waikiki hotels, this sparkling, relatively recent entry doubles as an outpost of San Francisco's stellar b. Patisserie, home of some of the most gorgeous kouign amann you will find outside of Brittany.
Also try Sneaking away from Waikiki into the lush Manoa Valley for a day starter at Morning Glass Café will be a highlight of any coffee lover's Honolulu jaunt; just be sure to skip past the flown-in roasts and avail yourself of the rotating Hawaiian offerings.
Idaho: Form & Function, Boise
Saying that Boise is the next anything (maybe don't say Portland, at least not out loud) might sound like a joke to the uninitiated; drop by Kate and Scott Seward's brand new, multi-level café doing its own small-batch roasting, however, right here on the ground floor of a sleek new mid-rise apartment building with rents starting in the four digits, and you'll get it—this town is changing.
Also try In nearby Garden City, the skate-centric (and dog friendly) Push and Pour offers great coffee and a great location along the Boise River Greenbelt, while way up north in Sandpoint, Evans Brothers Coffee is responsible for some of the best roasts in the state.
Illinois: Metric Coffee, Chicago
Seattle got most of the attention, but the '90's were very good to the Windy City, coffee-wise—let's start with Intelligentsia, beginning life as a relatively modest café and roastery in the Lakeview section of town, back in 1995. Like Seattle today, Chicago's scene is wonderfully layered, offering up everything from the unabashedly traditional to the cutting-edge. For the best of the latter, look way, way west—steps from where the notorious Horner projects stood crumbling thirty years ago—to a block shared with another celebrated coffee roaster (Sparrow) and a very good brandy distillery (Rhine Hall). Metric, something of a power partnership between the owner of a popular local café and a talented Intelligentsia vet, roasts its prized beans on a restored 1961 Probat, keeping relatively limited hours in an on-site café and tasting room, where public cuppings are held every Friday morning.
Also try As you might expect in a city that’s been at it for some time now, coffee is for everyone in Chicago, not just the cool kids. Back of the Yards Coffeehouse, for example, is a true oasis in a tough neighborhood, while down in impoverished Englewood, the non-profit Kusanya Café & Roastery has been holding down the fort since 2013. Up on the North Side, the still-scarred (but fast-gentrifying) Uptown neighborhood has Everybody's Coffee, a passion project from a group of fun-loving coffee snobs, living in a local commune. (Author disclosure: These same coffee snobs got me addicted to the stuff, back in the mid-'90's.)
Indiana: Conjure Coffee, Fort Wayne
Unless you're a total geek, keeping up with the very latest in coffee tech can be a bit difficult, but we can't talk about Fort Wayne—perhaps the last place you were expecting to be talking about, right now—without talking about the fact that the city, better known as the birthplace of the Frigidaire, is also home of the Modbar, currently one of the hottest names in espresso extraction—so hot, in fact, that the company managed to attract La Marzocco as an investor and distribution partner. These days, Modbar founding partner Corey Waldron has gone back to his barista roots with this roaster/café operation, located just above the confluence of the three rivers that meet here at the heart of the city. (It's not just a thing that happens in Pittsburgh, you know.)
Also try Sensitively shoehorned into the foyer of the impressive Athenaeum Theatre in Indianapolis, Coat Check Coffee has quickly managed to become a top stop in a city that wasn't exactly desperate for new coffee options.
Iowa: Horizon Line Coffee, Des Moines
Iowa's capital ranked as the fastest growing city in the Midwest last year, a trend being driven by the likes of Brad Penna and Nam Ho, young Southern Californians who moved here in search of a lower cost of living and a different pace of life. Their ambitious roaster/café, opened just last summer around the corner from the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, is shaking up the city's coffee culture, and the locals—new and old—appear to be loving it. We certainly are.
Also try Just a couple of months old, and already giving Cedar Rapids something to talk about, Dash Coffee is a promising roaster with an excellent, all-day café.
Kansas: PT's Coffee Roasting Co., Topeka
The deity-level status of a coffee roaster hailing from Kansas' snoozy capital used to take the less-informed by surprise; nowadays, it seems less unusual that an operation as world-class as this should be found in such a place. No brash upstart, this—direct trading, single origin-loving PT's has been around since the early 1990's, and is still considered one of the finest source-erers in the land, last year snapping up another roaster with a similar reputation for quality, San Diego's Bird Rock Coffee. Lately, the company has given its retail operation a modern makeover, adding more modern shops in the college town of Lawrence, as well as Kansas City, Missouri.
Also try Maybe don't call them the PT's of Wichita, but Reverie Coffee definitely steals the show in this particular town—they've also upgraded recently, adding a second (very nice) storefront.
Kentucky: Quills Coffee, Louisville
You are in a town that loves coffee, and it is everywhere, has been for a long time now, with the most successful operations long ago spun out into regional mini-chains, of sorts. May we (ever so gently) suggest that you begin your explorings at this relatively new addition—and by new, we mean they've been around for roughly a decade, already—now featuring five cafes, three of them right here in town.
Also try The folks at Louisville's Good Folks Coffee prefer to spend their days behind the roaster, and that's fine, because they're doing great work back there—look for their beans at Please & Thank You, a very popular café, bakery and record shop combo with three locations. Up near Cincinnati, in the very old city of Newport, Carabello Coffee is a highlight—check out their Analog Bar, a reservation-only spot for guided coffee tasting.
Louisiana: Congregation Coffee, New Orleans
Early on one of the best places in the country for a really good cup of coffee, New Orleans enjoyed a nice, long rest on its laurels, but that's all over now—today, the city is well served by new shops and roasters, some of them quite good. The opening of this Algiers Point roaster/café, however, feels like a real leveling-up for the local scene—a joint effort between local boy Ian Barrileaux and Seattle native Eliot Guthrie, the two met while working at Donald Link's Cochon Butcher. (They now supply all of Donald Link's restaurants.)
Also try Another town that spent a long time fairly certain it had everything all figured out, Lafayette now has the forward-looking Rêve Coffee Roasters, while up in Monroe, roeLA Roaster is an excellent reminder that there's more to Louisiana food and drink than the cities we typically talk about.
Maine: 44 North Coffee, Deer Isle
Tucked into one of Maine's most idyllic coastal destinations, Melissa Raftery and Megan Wood's sophisticated, certified organic roasting operation has brought them acclaim far beyond Deer Isle—not a bad day's work for what was originally dreamed up as a straightforward coffee shop. Self-funding their way in, the woman-powered operation now includes two very good cafes, one seasonal, one year-round, both turning out some of the most memorable coffee in the state.
Also try Portland is all about the bean, and roaster Tandem Coffee rests rather comfortably toward the top of the pile. Blue Bottle-trained, their two shops (with excellent baked goods) are among New England's finest, if a little snobbish about it. For something a little different, stop by Speckled Ax, which brews up its own wood-roasted organic coffees.
Maryland: Vigilante Coffee, Hyattsville
Back before the nation's capital had a whole lot going on in the way of local coffee, Chris Vigilante was roasting for local restaurants in the basement of a District row home. These days, his product is a firm D.C. favorite, even if home base is a somewhat sprawling roastery, café and social hub, just over the line in Prince George's County. The company's adopted home seems to be agreeing with them—a second, also rather impressive space has now opened doors near the University of Maryland campus in College Park.
Also try Baltimore's Dovecote Café is so much more than just another coffee bar—this appealing space is creating community in the city's evolving Reservoir Hill neighborhood.
Massachusetts: Little Wolf Coffee Roasters, Ipswich
Home roaster and New England native Chris Gatti moved back from Seattle with the goal of turning his hobby into a full-time job. Fast-forward a couple of years, and here you have one of the most worthy additions to an already sizeable regional scene. Operating out of an elegantly minimal space, Gatti's micro-roasting operation and café adds quite handsomely to the area's culinary cred—the other thing Ipswich is famous for is fried clams.
Also try Legendary roaster George Howell has a shimmering new flagship at Boston's Godfrey Hotel, Broadsheet is an exciting micro-roaster with a great café to match across the river in Cambridge; way out in the town of Ayer, Union Coffee Roaster is almost destination-worthy.
Michigan: Populace Coffee, Bay City
Once a self-described stoner kid who did a stint with Intelligentsia in Los Angeles, Andrew Heppner came home to open what's quietly become one of the state's most compelling roasters, one that's only recently made the decisive move into the retail game, after an early (and failed) attempt at opening their own shop. That's in the past, now—not only have they made it work with a fine cafe in Bay City, Populace also joins the much-hyped collection of outlets now opening along with Detroit's hotly-anticipated Siren Hotel.
Also try Think Grand Rapids and you're probably thinking of Madcap Coffee, by now nearly a household name, and it's absolutely worth stopping by their newest location, an open-concept bar inside the city's gleaming public market. Don't miss, however, the city's other very good roaster, Rowster Coffee, with two great shops in town.
Minnesota: Wesley Andrews, Minneapolis
With all of that indoor weather, and one of the country's top coffee importers right in town, the depth and breadth of Twin Cities café culture will come as no surprise, but in a town where so many spots—right on up to the best ones—are either too stiff or too much into the business of bells and whistles, this recent entry from two talents in their early twenties, a small-batch roasting operation stripped down to the essentials, is an enthusiastic vote for simplicity, not to mention good customer service, and it feels like a winner.
Also try No more packing in your own supply on those trips to Lake Superior's North Shore—found in the charming vacation town of Lutsen, Fika Coffee is a rare find in this rather wild part of the state.
Mississippi: BeanFruit Coffee Company, Pearl
Paul Bonds was never a big coffee drinker—he didn't even like the stuff all that much, and Mississippi, rich in other areas, is just about the final frontier on the American coffee front. None of these disadvantages have held him back from doing incredible work, apparently—BeanFruit has received some very good notices, in the relatively short time since its founding. Apart from public cuppings on Wednesdays at the plant in suburban Jackson, you'll need to look for the product elsewhere, but you'll have no trouble finding it around town—for a sure thing, start at Sneaky Beans, one of Jackson's best coffee shops.
Also try Cappuccinos on the beach? Yes, please. Directly over the road from the Gulf of Mexico, the sleek Cat Island Coffeehouse in Pass Christian offers big views and great espresso drinks; it's a firm favorite with the New Orleans families that keep weekend homes in the area.
Missouri: Messenger Coffee, Kansas City
Years in the making, this inspired (and inspiring) flagship location for an established local roaster features an in-house bakery (Ibis, their own), a roasting plant, along with three levels of hangout space, including a rooftop deck. Kansas City coffee is pretty top drawer, and has been for a while now (Thou Mayest, Quay, Magnolia, Oddly Correct), but this happy spot in the city's Crossroads district has pretty much blown the doors off. Nobody's complaining.
Also try Everwhere you go in Missouri these days, it seems like good coffee is being roasted and brewed—look for new kid (well, new-ish) Blueprint in St. Louis, the satisfyingly simple Shortwave in Columbia, and down in Springfield, the commendable Brick & Mortar.
Montana: Black Coffee Roasting Co., Missoula
Occupying a vintage Quonset hut on an out-of-the-way block in the state's coolest town right now, this all-organic, sustainable, small-batch setup brings a lot of passion to the table; Montana has more than a couple of great roasters (see below) and an outsized number of destinations for a great cup coffee, but coming up on nearly a decade in business, this is the place that feels like the whole package, the all-in-one.
Also try Not far from Missoula, don't miss out on Hamilton's Big Creek Coffee Roasters, a top-shelf operation with the awards to prove it; over in Billings, the coffee scene is kind of on fire, right now—start with a visit to moAV Coffee.
Nebraska: Archetype Coffee, Omaha
Nebraska's most impressive roaster at the moment occupies a deceptively simple (but also pleasingly modern) storefront on a block shared with a brewery, a wine bar and Omaha's most talked about ice cream shop—it's clearly a new day for the once-forlorn Blackstone District. There's a lot of this sort of positive change happening around Omaha lately, some of it down to young and talented entrepreneurs like Isaiah Sheese, who moved here to roast coffee, just a few years ago. Things appear to be working out okay—Archetype is now opening a second shop, in another up-and-coming area of town.
Also try In the university town of Lincoln, also the state capital, look for Cultiva Coffee, which operates two cafes and an open-to-the-public Roasting Lab, featuring an espresso bar and their in-house, bean-to-bar chocolate operation (first in the state).
Nevada: Vesta Coffee Roasters, Las Vegas
Finding good coffee in this part of the world has become less of a chore in recent years, but with the addition of former DJ Jerad Howard's roaster/café (he's done other things, but that's the most fun part of his resume), one can't help but feel as if the Las Vegas scene has turned that all-important corner toward greatness.
Also try In a particularly charming corner of Reno (they exist, honest), right along the Truckee River but away from the neon glow, Hub Coffee Roasters is a pleasant reminder that you're not all that far away from Northern California, and that generations-old coffee scene.
New Hampshire: Wayfarer Coffee Roasters, Laconia
Lake Winnipesaukee might be next door, but the historic center of Laconia, an old mill town, isn't exactly a thriving tourist destination—at least not yet. This cheerful micro-roaster and café, across from the shuttered (apparently, not forever) Colonial Theatre, is one in a small group of businesses—including a proper butcher shop, just next door—helping to invigorate the old town center.
Also try Just across the Merrimack River from Manchester, Bedford's Flight Coffee Co. has pulled some top-shelf awards for its roasts; a lab setup (open to the public, with somewhat limited hours) is complemented by a full-on café in nearby Dover.
New Jersey: OQ Coffee Co., Highland Park
Ben and Jessica Schellack bootstrapped their way to building one of the best roasting operations in the state, this year bringing home a Good Food Award—not their first, either. That's quite the climb from their early days in the rented basement of a New Brunswick non-profit. Today, a lively café, just across the river from Rutgers' Old Queens campus, hence the name, is a hub of creativity.
Also try Long content with convenience coffee (rhymes with Schmunkin up north, and Schwawa down south), New Jersey is suddenly fascinated with the good stuff. In downtown Newark, friendly Black Swan Espresso is just one of many new arrivals along once-blighted Halsey Street, while in the rough-and-tumble state capital, micro-roaster Trenton Coffee House & Records began life as a coffee bike. The product here is thoroughly modern, but the vibe is nearly mid-1990's punk. (Don't miss this place.)
New Mexico: Cutbow Coffee, Albuquerque
After roughly thirty years of experience in the business—this is a guy who roasted something like 70 million pounds of coffee for Peet's, which is a lot—Paul Gallegos is back home and in business for himself with this much-anticipated roaster/café in Albuquerque's atmospheric Old Town. Expect this to be a complete game changer in a town that's been waiting for someone to take things to the next level for quite some time now.
Also try Santa Fe, another town that's been slow to move forward, has seen some changes of late—most promising is the sparkling Sky Coffee, a smart, multi-roaster operation that's well worth a look.
New York: Parlor Coffee, Brooklyn
Relatively late to the good coffee game, it's hard to tell just where New York excels most—convincing the world it knows what it's doing when it comes to coffee, or actually setting a damn trend. Amid so much noise and a whole lot of colonization, here is a very good roaster, created by a Blue Bottle and Stumptown grad. (Remember when those beardy West Coasters had to come to town to teach us how coffee was done, just a few short years ago? We sure do.) Not the newest game in town, and slightly off the beaten path, over near Brooklyn's Navy Yard, Parlor, which began life as a pop-up bar in the back of a Williamsburg barber shop, is in every way a gem, and it knows it—their tasting room keeps catch-them-if-you-can, Sunday-only opening hours.
Also try One of New York's (we're talking about the state now) closely guarded secrets: its less sought-after cities can be pretty great, and certainly for coffee. The gorgeous Tipico would be the envy of any town, but it belongs to an up-and-coming Buffalo neighborhood; in Rochester, the pop-up gone brick and mortar Ugly Duck is just one bright star on that city's long-running scene. Meanwhile, in Utica, perhaps the last place you'd expect to find something so up to date, Character Coffee is a multi-roasting outfit with a whole lot of appeal.
North Carolina: Counter Culture, Durham
Having one of the East Coast's best roasters representing your state is very nice, and we're super happy for North Carolina and everything, but it's fascinating to see that decades on, Counter Culture, now every bit a national brand, still pretty much dominates the regional scene. Apart from Friday cuppings—always open to the public—at training centers in Durham and Asheville, you won't find Counter Culture coffee bars, which is okay, because it turns out that some of the state's top shops—for instance, the twin locations of Jubala Coffee, next door in Raleigh—act as terrific brand ambassadors.
Also try In Raleigh-adjacent Garner, Full Bloom Coffee—one of the state's more talked about roasters—has opened Full Bloom Coffee & Craft, a coffee and beer bar; down in Charlotte, a growing scene includes a few must-stops, but start with HEX Espresso Bar, a roaster café that began life as a pop-up.
North Dakota: Young Blood Coffee, Fargo
When Four Barrel veterans Tim & Elisha Griffin opted out of San Francisco, they landed in Fargo, where their small shop (handed over from a previous owner) quickly rose through the ranks in a city already mindful of the benefits of a solid cup of coffee. Right now, they're working with Heart, out of Portland, but rumor has it they'll be roasting their own soon, not to mention moving to a larger location in Fargo's happening downtown.
Also try Turn your Fargo stop into a coffee crawl—around the way from Young Blood, Twenty Below Coffee Co. is a regional standout.
Ohio: Press Coffee, Dayton
Industry vet Brett Barker launched this near-perfect spot in Dayton's historic Oregon neighborhood as a showcase for his favorite roasters, eventually bringing things in-house, with the founding of Wood Burl Coffee. The switchover made a terrific café a proper destination—one of the most studiously attentive to detail you will find in the state.
Also try For the best Ohio morning ever, in any weather, stop at Heartwood Coffee Roastery in Cleveland-adjacent Hudson, then disappear onto the trails of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, next door. As if you needed more proof that incredible coffee can happen anywhere, nowadays, Branch Street Coffee Roasters, in a strip mall outside of hardscrabble Youngstown, offers more. Down in Columbus, seek out the sleek, twin locations of Fox in the Snow, while in Cincinnati, Ferrari Bros. Barber & Coffee is a vintage family business, now being nudged (ever so sensitively) into the present day.
Oklahoma: Cirque Coffee, Tulsa
A focal point for the city's ascendant Pearl district, this roaster café is geek heaven, featuring Oklahoma's first Slayer machine and enough brew methods to choose from it'll make your head spin. Two things you'll find here that are so often missing from these very serious operations—a sense of humor, and a commitment to good customer service.
Also try Topeca Coffee is a Tulsa-based roaster with a great reputation in the industry, and a handful of local retail outlets. Exploring vastly underrated Oklahoma City? Elemental is an essential stop.
Oregon: Noble Coffee Roasters, Ashland
A relatively sunny town standing sentry on the divide between California and the Pacific Northwest, artistically-inclined Ashland isn't quite so well-known as certain other cities in Oregon, but when it comes to coffee, Ashland has become something of a giant, thanks in part to this oft-awarded roasting operation, the first notable to crop up here, about a decade ago.
Also try The Portland hype may be leveling off (now it's just expensive, like everywhere else), but the coffee remains some of the best on the continent—if you haven't yet, make tracks for Coava, which managed to impress noted stickler Jerry Seinfeld, who filmed an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee here. Over in Old Town, meanwhile, there's something utterly appealing about the self-described "snob free" ethic behind the very good Deadstock, opened by a former designer at Nike.
Pennsylvania: Passenger Coffee, Lancaster
The not-so-big city at the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Lancaster already had Square One Roasters—apparently, there's room for yet another great. Founded by a Blue Bottle/Parlor vet with local roots, this roaster's sensitively-mod retail operation sits just off Penn Square, across a very charming alleyway from the city's historic market hall. Carefully sourced coffees are fascinating, sometimes quite unusual, service can be downright gracious—this is one of those places everyone ought to come to take notes, to see how it's done.
Also try Award-winning roasts and a great café from the Backyard Beans Coffee Company are a draw to unlikely Lansdale, not far from Philadelphia; they're about to open a second spot in Bethlehem.
Rhode Island: Bolt Coffee, Providence
A weekend morning, or at least part of one, spent in the lobby of the Dean Hotel, which is where you will find the very best coffee shop in the coolest big city in New England right now, is always time well spent. Look for these guys at the RISD Museum, too, where they've recently partnered with the school on the excellent Café Pearl. Easily one of the most memorable multi-roaster operations between New York and Boston.
Also try Coffee syrup—crucial to the creation of coffee milk, Rhode Island's homegrown elixir—gets the artisanal treatment at Dave's Coffee, with shops in Charlestown and Providence.
South Carolina: Indah Coffee, Columbia
Stuck between limelight-stealing Charleston and now-fashionable Greenville, it appears there's little love left to lavish on South Carolina's relatively staid state capital. This accomplished roaster, however, which not too long ago opened a handsome shop in the city's historic Cottontown section, is doing great work for the local coffee cred.
Also try Speaking of Greenville, if you're here, you must look up the meticulous (and super on-trend) Methodical Coffee, while way down in Charleston, much of the buzz currently lands on the very good Black Tap Coffee, just a short stroll away from the old City Market.
South Dakota: Coffea Roasterie, Sioux Falls
A talented roaster first, but also on top of their café game (their in-house baker does some very good work), look for one of three beautiful shops scattered around South Dakota's largest city to sustain you through those long, Upper Great Plains winters. Fun fact—head roaster Andrew Fritz started out as a curious customer, slowly working his way up through the ranks at this relatively underrated operation.
Also try Way out in the Black Hills, Pure Bean is a smart anchor to Rapid City's appealing downtown district.
Tennessee: Steadfast Coffee, Nashville
The successful, too-elusive combining of expertise and service is what sets this roaster apart from Nashville's impressive pack. A knack for experimentation doesn't hurt, either; these fellows were early adopters, for example, of the flash-chilling method for cold brew. One thing they've opted out of is over-retailing; right now, you'll find just the one café, over in downtown-adjacent Germantown. It's a good one, though, functioning almost as an all-day hang, with proper food and an evening happy hour. (Often, this sort of thing doesn't work. Here, it does.)
Also try The world travelers—and experienced industry hands—behind Mad Priest Coffee Roasters aren't just doing great limited releases, they're also partnering with a local non-profit to train and hire displaced persons resettled to the Chattanooga area.
Texas: Noble Coyote Coffee Roasters, Dallas
The Big D is just full of surprises, lately, one of them being a preponderance of local roasters gaining considerable national attention for their efforts. One of the most exciting is this micro-op hiding in plain sight at the foot of the historic Fair Park Esplanade; a drop-in lab with a limited menu also hosts scheduled public cuppings.
Also try Texas overfloweth with worthy coffee roasters and shops right now, from Amarillo, way up in the Panhandle (Palace, Evocation) to Longview (Silver Grizzly Espresso) to San Antonio (Local) to McAllen (Reserva) way the heck down in the Rio Grande Valley, and you will typically find them taking the craft as seriously as you might expect in a state that perfected the art of, say, barbecue, or the breakfast taco. (Road trip, anyone?)
Utah: La Barba, Salt Lake City
Who would have guessed that one of the most impressive coffee roasters in the West would have come up in the land of hot drinks abstainers? No doubt the pioneering team behind this single estate-only operation were slightly surprised, too—at a time when Salt Lake had very little good coffee to speak of, they took the plunge; now it's hard to imagine Utah's impressive artisan scene without them.
Also try Not just one of those paint-by-Instagram, Australian-style cafes that are so fashionable right now, but an actual, serious, roaster/café from Australia, Sydneysider Campos Coffee has opened—after a successful test run in Seattle—its first stateside location near the Park City Mountain lifts.
Vermont: Onyx Tonics, Burlington
After training under coffee royalty across the pond (at Colonna & Small's in Bath), local native Jason Gonzalez, along with British-born wife and business partner Tiffany, are giving Vermont's long-running scene a swift kick in the backside with this smart multi-roaster operation, a very-21st century shrine to one of the state's favorite beverages (after beer, of course).
Also try Not far from the slopes at Stratton, look for some of the best beans being roasted in the state at Ungrounded Coffee—you'll find them at the simply-named Coffee Bar, located in the village of Rawsonville.
Virginia: Blanchard's Coffee Roasting Company, Richmond
Here is the absolute best kind of roaster—relentlessly focused, but also accommodating to the curious public. Working from an industrial section of the city's northern fringe, one of the state's top operations offers Friday public cuppings, and tries to keep its door open as much as possible. Should you prefer more traditional café surroundings, that's fine—Blanchard's supplies shops around town, including a sparkling café counter in the lobby at Richmond's stylish new Quirk Hotel.
Also try Road tripping along the Blue Ridge Parkway? There are plenty of reasons to detour into funky Floyd, but we'll start with the world-class roasts at Red Rooster Coffee. Should you find yourself in Charlottesville and environs, Mudhouse Coffee is one of Virginia's best-known names for a reason.
Washington: Camber Coffee, Bellingham
Already no stranger to a good cup of coffee, Bellingham, a lively college town closer to Vancouver, BC than Seattle, reached top tier status with the addition of this very fine roaster, an extraordinary collective of expertise that has more than a few baristas and café owners around the country just a little bit excited. A very nearly elegant, all-day café—Camber's first foray on to the retail side—in downtown Bellingham is pilgrimage-worthy.
Also try Speaking of exciting growth outside of perennially incredible Seattle, Narrative Coffee brings a double dose of cool to the workaday town of Everett, while quiet giant Olympia Coffee Roasters is preparing to open a new café in Tacoma's lovely Proctor district.
West Virginia: TipTop Coffee, Thomas
Need further proof that great coffee can (and does) happen just about anywhere, nowadays? At least a couple of hours from the nearest big city and convenient mostly to nature—beautiful Blackwater Canyon, for example—this multi-roaster and unofficial community center anchors an array of independent businesses on an old coal town's handsome and very historic main drag.
Also try In quietly charming Charleston, Starlings Coffee & Provisions is a beloved, very casual neighborhood spot, just blocks from the state capitol complex.
Wisconsin: Ruby Coffee Roasters, Nelsonville
Another early top player in the coffee game—think Alterra, Ancora, others—Wisconsin had one hell of a head start, so it shouldn't be any surprise that one of the country's top roasters (Intelligentsia-trained) can be found in a village of 200 people way up in the mostly rural center of the state. Their tasting room keeps very limited hours, but it's worth the effort to get here. If that's out of the question, not to worry—you'll find them carried all over the state, not to mention well beyond.
Also try Founded in Wisconsin's dreamy Driftless region, Kickapoo Coffee Co. has grown to become another roasting force to be reckoned with—they've opened what's easily one of the most appealing shops in the country right now, clear across the state in Milwaukee's historic Third Ward.
Wyoming: Pine Coffee Supply, Pinedale
Known best for proximity to the Wind River Mountains, this small town about an hour and a half down the road from the rarified air of Jackson got lucky when a father and son team with Wyoming roots came home after accruing years of experience to open one of the most forward-looking multi-roaster operations in the state. Check out the shop's suddenly-must-have Mavam Espresso set-up.
Also try Just an hour and a half north of go-go Denver, Cheyenne is almost proudly retro; in the Paramount Café, however, the city has a terrific gathering place, housed inside a vintage theatre. Look here for beans from H+S Coffee Roasters, out of Laramie, among the finest in the state.