The Best Cities for Coffee in America

Admittedly, we're more caffeine junkies than coffee snobs, but java is an integral part of our daily lives. And yes, a good cup brings us more joy than a basket of kittens. So, bring on the beans, and let's talk about the best cities to get a fix.

Where are the best cities for coffee in America?

The best cities for coffee have an impressive number of independent coffee shops. While the big chains will always have their place, we're looking for the good stuff, from single-origin artisan brew to third-wave specialty coffee.

Care to venture a guess at which cities made the top 10? You're probably not far off. Suffice it to say the top four cities for coffee in America are located in the upper left-ish corner of our fine country. But beyond that, all bets are off. Grab a cup and buckle up for some unexpected surprises.

10. Saint Louis, MO

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Our top 10 starts near the middle of the country along the Mighty Mississippi River. And when it comes to good coffee, The Gateway to the West demands to be taken seriously. From Sump Coffee, which roasts its own beans, to the expert baristas at Blueprint Coffee, the city is full of beloved coffee shops and cafés. Like Fiddlehead Fern Café, where you can listen to live music in a cozy former gas station while you sip a horchata latte.

Beyond the coffee quality, the other great thing about living in Saint Louis is its affordability. Only one spot in our top 10 has cheaper rent (ahem, No. 9). These days, finding a two-bedroom for under $2,000 feels like a feat, and here in Saint Louis, you'll pay just $1,961.

9. Saint Paul, MN

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Do you know what goes great with rain, snow and wind? Yep. This is why coffee is a way of life here in the capital of Minnesota. The mellow counterpart to its twin city (Minneapolis), Saint Paul is home to gems like cute Claddagh Coffee and Highland Park's Quixotic Coffee with its nitro cold brew.

As we may have mentioned a few sentences ago, Saint Paul boasts the cheapest rent of any city to crack our top 10. When you're paying just $1,733 for a two-bedroom, you can afford your pricey daily pour-over habit.

8. Denver, CO

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Is it just us, or does caffeine pack an extra punch at high altitude? We'll take it. Come to the Mile High City for the microbrews, but stay for the craft coffee. From Queen City Collective Coffee in historic Baker to the wildly popular Corvus Coffee Roasters, Denver is home to all the indie roasters and third-wave vibes that you can possibly handle.

It's safe to say that the secret is out about Colorado's biggest city and state capital. The ideal city-meets-outdoors balance is bringing in droves of relocators. Which may explain the rising cost of living in Denver. A two-bedroom isn't exactly cheap at $3,448, but it could be worse (looking at you, California).

7. Tacoma, WA

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Everyone knows about Seattle's coffee culture, but … Tacoma? Yes, Tacoma. Nestled on the banks of Puget Sound, this urban port city has a stellar coffee scene of its own. Sure, it's slightly less buzzy (pun intended), but Tacoma's unique coffee shops more than hold their own. Sip an Americano at one of the Anthem Coffee and Tea locations or belly up to a cup of locally sourced and roasted brew at Bluebeard Coffee Roasters.

If Western Washington feels like a good fit, your dollar will go a lot farther in Tacoma than it will at its northern neighbor, Seattle. A two-bedroom apartment will cost you nearly a thousand dollars less per month 34 miles south of the big city, coming in around $2,505.

6. Minneapolis, MN

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Though you'll find the same ideal coffee weather here (rain/snow/wind), Minneapolis gets a slight edge up the rankings from twin city, Saint Paul. In comparison, Minneapolis tends to be younger and livelier, with more restaurants, bars, clubs — and coffee shops. Here in Minneapolis, outstanding coffee often comes with a side of tempting treats. Turkish coffee is best enjoyed with a gorgeous pastry at Café Ceres, while a creamy cappuccino at Black Walnut Bakery deserves a decadent kouign-amann on the side.

And while Minneapolis is slightly pricier than its sister city, rent is still relatively affordable. A two-bedroom apartment here will cost you around $2,006 per month, making this the third most affordable city among our top 10 for a two-bedroom.

5. Miami, FL

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South Florida is serious about its coffee. Stroll down Calle Ocho, the heart of Cuban culture in Miami, to get your fill at one of many vibrant bars, restaurants and cafés. You can't talk about coffee in Miami without mentioning Panther Coffee, the shop that many say ushered in South Florida's new coffee wave. While you have seven outposts to choose from, diehards will steer you to the original in Wynwood, which doubles as an artist enclave.

Living in Miami isn't exactly inexpensive, but consider that you're moving to a bonafide vacation destination. Budget around $3,368 per month in rent for a two-bedroom. Think South Florida may be for you? Read up on everything you need to know about moving to Miami, then check the status of your swimsuit collection.

4. Oakland, CA

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The top four spots on our coffee-loving list bring us firmly to the West Coast, and from here, we're only heading north up the coast. We'll start in Oakland, San Francisco's hip cousin across the bay. Expect an array of cafés as diverse as the neighborhoods, along with community-minded roasters and coffee aficionados. Dive into the coffee scene at downtown's Modern Coffee, billed as the city's premium coffee taproom. Or, cozy up at local favorite, Timeless Coffee, for an espresso and a sweet treat.

Full disclosure: You're going to pay a lot to live in Oakland, trumped only by the cost of living in San Francisco among our top 10. How much, you ask? Expect to fork over a fairly painful $4,523 per month for a two-bedroom.

3. Portland, OR

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Home of Stumptown Coffee Roasters, which single-handedly ushered in coffee's third wave, Portland is chock full of micro-roasters and indie cafes. If you're a fan of quality roasts, you can't do much better than Portland. Beyond Stumptown, the city is home to fine roasters including Coffeehouse Northwest, Coava, Extracto Coffee and Courier Coffee.

Get to know Rose City with this guide to spending 24 hours in Portland. Got your bearings? Good, now you can start your coffee tour through the city. We'll check back in a good year or so to see how far you've gotten — you'll need some time! If you're ready to get serious about living in Portland, budget around $2,521 for a two-bedroom apartment.

2. San Francisco, CA

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Like Portland, the third-wave coffee scene is strong in San Francisco. And while you can expect a hefty dose of third-wave snobbery around here, you'll also find plenty of old standbys. Over in North Beach, Caffe Trieste has been serving Italian-style espresso to artsy regulars for more than 50 years. And then there's a local favorite, Sightglass Coffee, where you can indulge at the affogato bar (that's espresso with ice cream, for the uninitiated).

So, we've already established that San Francisco is expensive. The truth is, it's one of the most expensive cities in America. Sigh. Let's go ahead and rip the band-aid off. It'll cost you around $4,682 every month to score a two-bedroom here. Good thing there are so many tech jobs that pay fat salaries, right?

1. Seattle, WA

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The best city for coffee in America is no big surprise. Coffee culture was born here back in the '60s when the bohemian set started to seek shelter from the dreary wet weather in cozy coffeehouses. And, of course, Starbucks was born here 50 years ago. Consider that among the country's 37,000-plus coffeehouses today, around 15,000 of them are Starbucks.

Seattle is also the birthplace of Tully's and Seattle's Best, but it's not just about the big dogs around here. The caffeine scenes were built on artisan roasters like Espresso Vivace, Caffe Vita and Lighthouse Roasters, among many others.

So, how much will it cost you to live in the country's coffee capital? Budget about $3,331 for a two-bedroom. Learn everything you need to know about living in Seattle and decide if Emerald City's coffee scene is impressive enough to relocate for.

The 50 best cities for coffee

Not all of the country's best cities for coffee are in the Pacific Northwest — or NorCal, for that matter. Peruse our top 50 to find those hidden gems from coast to coast.

RankCityPopulationLocal Coffee Businesses Per DensityPercentage of Local Coffee Businesses1BR Avg Rent2BR Avg Rent
1Seattle, WA 753,675 3.5671.88% $2,465 $3,331
2San Francisco, CA 881,549 5.7765.30% $3,557 $4,682
3Portland, OR 654,741 2.0968.81% $1,896 $2,521
4Oakland, CA 433,031 1.5571.90% $3,397 $4,523
5Miami, FL 467,963 4.3362.90% $2,825 $3,368
6Minneapolis, MN 429,606 2.2661.62% $1,455 $2,006
7Tacoma, WA 217,827 1.3067.71% $2,004 $2,505
8Denver, CO 727,211 1.1860.00% $2,220 $3,448
9Saint Paul, MN 308,096 1.1261.05% $1,341 $1,733
10Saint Louis, MO 300,576 1.1659.50% $1,876 $1,961
11Hialeah, FL 233,339 0.9562.50%#N/A#N/A
11Spokane, WA 222,081 1.0560.19%#N/A#N/A
13Madison, WI 259,680 0.7572.50% $1,188 $1,699
14Jersey City, NJ 262,075 2.1350.79% $3,104 $4,297
15Long Beach, CA 462,628 1.1254.37% $3,165 $4,191
16Pittsburgh, PA 300,286 1.5351.85% $1,551 $1,562
17New York, NY 8,336,817 1.4150.47% $4,273 $6,768
17San Diego, CA 1,423,851 0.8059.86% $3,084 $4,362
19Eugene, OR 172,622 0.8956.52%#N/A#N/A
20Austin, TX 978,908 0.6368.50% $1,619 $1,597
21Philadelphia, PA 1,584,064 1.6248.87% $1,916 $2,299
21New Orleans, LA 390,144 0.5968.75% $1,848 $2,712
23Los Angeles, CA 3,979,576 0.7558.71% $3,276 $4,819
24Washington, DC 705,749 1.6745.54% $2,431 $3,158
24Santa Ana, CA 332,318 0.9650.00% $2,670 $3,785
26Milwaukee, WI 590,157 0.5662.07% $1,131 $1,621
27Huntington Beach, CA 199,223 0.8948.98% $2,780 $3,132
27Providence, RI 179,883 1.2845.10% $2,813 $3,762
29Fort Lauderdale, FL 182,437 1.0946.34% $3,255 $4,130
30Cleveland, OH 381,009 0.5653.66% $1,408 $1,977
30Salt Lake City, UT 200,567 0.5753.39% $1,469 $1,649
32Sacramento, CA 513,624 0.8347.09% $2,091 $2,475
32Saint Petersburg, FL 265,351 0.5852.17% $2,043 $1,789
32Reno, NV 255,601 0.4756.47% $1,858 $2,353
32Baton Rouge, LA 220,236 0.4457.63%$924 $1,030
36Anaheim, CA 350,365 0.6450.00% $2,580 $2,585
37Cincinnati, OH 303,940 0.7844.53% $1,016 $1,200
37Irvine, CA 287,401 0.6546.24% $3,332 $4,268
37Vancouver, WA 184,463 1.0742.61% $1,757 $2,064
37Salem, OR 174,365 0.5249.02%#N/A#N/A
41Houston, TX 2,320,268 0.3652.17% $1,258 $1,779
41Grand Rapids, MI 201,013 0.7345.07% $1,300 #N/A
43Fresno, CA 531,576 0.4250.00%#N/A $1,233
44Baltimore, MD 593,490 0.7943.24% $1,984 $1,662
44Oceanside, CA 175,742 0.4448.65%#N/A#N/A
46Boston, MA 692,600 1.5036.00% $3,805 $4,987
47Glendale, CA 199,303 0.6343.18% $3,305 $3,795
48Boise, ID 228,959 0.4944.32% $1,695 #N/A
49Nashville, TN 670,820 0.1958.28% $2,121 $2,614
50Albuquerque, NM 560,513 0.3246.92% $1,217 $1,341

The 10 worst cities for coffee

When it comes to perfect pour-overs and espresso that inspire you to leave the cozy confines of your comforter, some cities are simply lacking. If that first cup is the best part of your day, you may want to steer clear of these coffee-challenged cities.

RankCityPopulationLocal Coffee Businesses Per DensityPercentage of Local Coffee Businesses1BR Avg Rent2BR Avg Rent
1Laredo, TX 262,491 0.0216.67%#N/A#N/A
1Chesapeake, VA 244,835 0.0218.18%#N/A#N/A
3Montgomery, AL 198,525 0.0221.43%$603$890
4Port Saint Lucie, FL 201,846 0.0420.00%#N/A#N/A
5Peoria, AZ 175,961 0.0323.08%#N/A#N/A
6Newport News, VA 179,225 0.0718.52% $1,109 $1,186
7Augusta, GA 197,888 0.0229.17% $1,155 $1,310
8North Las Vegas, NV 251,974 0.0627.27%#N/A $1,845
8Sioux Falls, SD 183,793 0.1117.78%$721$834
10Ontario, CA 185,010 0.1222.22%#N/A $2,748

Methodology

To find the best cities for coffee, we looked at the 150 most populated cities in America according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Our team then looked at the total number of coffee-related business establishments (including but not limited to coffee shops, mobile coffee businesses and roasters) and ranked each city evenly by the number of local (non-chain) businesses per square mile of land area and the percentage of all coffee businesses in the city that are not chains. The cities with the best overall rankings were determined to be the best cities in America for coffee.

We excluded Winston-Salem, NC and Honolulu, HI from this study due to insufficient data.

Total establishment counts are from a database of 8 million commercially available business listings. These listings may not reflect recent openings or closings.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com's multifamily rental property inventory as of August 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.

The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

This article fits under the following categories:

Brian CarberryBrian Carberry has more than 15 years of experience as a content creator and award-winning journalist. He is currently the senior managing editor of Apartment Guide and Rent.com, based in Atlanta. His work has been featured or mentioned by CNN, Wall Street Journal, BuzzFeed, Bankrate and hundreds of local media outlets across the country. In his free time, Brian enjoys sports, cooking (followed by eating) and debating the correct pronunciation of "gif."

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