10 cities with up-and-coming coffee cultures

  • Written by MarketWatch
  • Published in Economics

Ah, coffee. It’s just about the only thing that’s good about a Monday morning ... or really any morning. We all know that the West Coast cities Portland and Seattle and San Francisco are headliners in our nation’s coffee culture, but there are other coffee hot spots around the country that might surprise you. 

To find them, Livability looked at the number of coffee shops in the city, average prices for a cup of joe, the number of roasters in the area and, of course, the overall quality of life (Livability has to be true to its name, right?) to bring you this list of unexpected cities with awesome coffee scenes.

Portland, Maine

Population: 66,490

The “other” Portland is becoming quite a hot spot for caffeinated beverages. Known for its awesome restaurants, a growing need for quality coffee has prompted several indie coffee joints to join the local food scene. And the price is right, with the average cappuccino in Portland, Maine, only setting you back $3.60. Folks are doing coffee a little differently here, and the Speckled Ax in the Arts District uses the unique process of wood roasting its organic beans for exceptional flavor profiles. Yordprom Coffee Co. is your go-to place for some really good Vietnamese coffee or Thai ice tea in a cozy environment.

Foodies, take note: Portland, Maine, boasts more restaurants per capita than any other city in the country. Along with its safe neighborhoods, year-round recreation and sweeping ocean views, Portland is a family-friendly city and is rated a top place to live.

Coolest coffee shop: Tandem Coffee gets the cool points as one of the first in-house roasters to open up shop in 2012. It has served up fantastic, no-frills, artisanal coffee ever since.

Providence, R.I.

Population: 178,680

Coffee milk is Rhode Island’s state drink, so it’s no wonder that the capital city is considered one of America’s best coffee cities. According to Travel + Leisure, Rhode Island ranked as the state with the best baked goods, and what goes better with a perfect pastry than amazing coffee? The city’s large artist population and university students means the city has a high percentage of coffee connoisseurs streaming to local favorites like the Shop for its familiar vibe and the Coffee Exchange for its beans roasted in small batches.

With nearby beaches and a wealth of history as one of America’s oldest cities, Providence is recognized for a great deal more than java. It’s a city with an under-the-radar arts scene that shouldn’t be missed. Every summer, the WaterFire installation lights up the rivers with bonfires and public art displays, and the Rhode Island School of Design’s noteworthy museum is a gem for art admirers.

Coolest coffee shop: Dave’s Coffee gets our nod as the coolest, thanks to its relaxed atmosphere and homage to the sweet coffee milk drink that every Rhode Islander grew up drinking. Plus, Dave’s sells its coffee syrups so you can make your favorite drinks at home.  

Jersey City, N.J.

Population: 259,651

As one of the Livability Top 10 Cities for Recent College...

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