Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Top 5 Coffee Shops around the World

After a grueling search and many taste tests, here is a list of some of my favorite cafes around the world.
Updated March 2013

Call it what you will “addicted”, “obsessed”, a “vice” perhaps, but whatever it is, I have to have a coffee to start my day.  And not just any coffee, a double latte, or in a bind, a cafe noisette (in France, a shot of espresso with a dash of milk).  I cannot/will not drink drip coffee.  And I’d rather go without coffee than drink a bad one, although that makes for a tense day for both me and my husband who has to deal with me.

Joe Coffee
But on a positive note, some of my favorite travel moments are drinking coffee – on a hillside in the Amalfi coast at an unknown cafe having the perfect latte on a sunny morning overlooking the stunning coastline.  Or visiting the same coffee shop each morning to have a latte and green tea muffin in Tokyo.  And then there are the famous cafes of Argentina where the history that surrounds you as you sip your cafe con leche in Buenos Aires is what makes it so memorable.

So, to help fellow connoisseurs find the best coffee shops around the world, here is my first list (of many, I hope) of the best places around the world to find a good coffee.

Joe The Art of Coffee, New York
On our last trip to New York, we did some research on coffee spots and found that there is a sort of resurgence of quality espresso shops in Manhattan, probably in response to the inexplicable Dunkin’ Donuts coffee craze (sorry, but that just isn’t going to work for me).  Joe’s is one, if not the best, example of a serious coffee shop with talented baristas that serve every latte with a perfectly designed leaf or heart in the expertly steamed milk.  If you like coffee like I do, the pictures on their website will make your mouth water. Seriously.

Tie: Caffe Ladro and Zeitgeist Coffee, Seattle
I may be a bit biased because I am from the area, but I believe Seattle deserves its reputation as having the best coffee in the world.  There is a reason Starbuck’s started here, the city is addicted to coffee and there are many, excellent choices for quality, handcrafted espresso.  Caffe Ladro is the one place that gets me up early to drive 15 minutes out of my way to get the perfect double latte before work.
Caffe Ladro
But on my last trip, I revisited Zeitgeist Coffee, an institution in Seattle since 1997.  They serve incredibly strong (i.e. dark roast) coffee…a perfect cure for jetlag.  Plus, the atmosphere is casual and relaxed and at the same time a place you could get some work done. Case in point, a press interview was being conducted at the table next to me.  Drop in for a coffee and stay awhile and you’ll see why this remains a top spot for coffee in the capital of coffee.

Cappuccino, Mallorca

Coffee aside (for just a second, don’t worry) the atmosphere at Cappuccino near the cathedral of Palma is hard to beat – an open terrace at the foot of a huge church in the shopping district. The perfect place for a cappuccino italiano with an ensaimada - a giant, but light, powdered sugar covered donut - while sightseeing and people watching.  (Find more details on Cappuccino from our last visit to Mallorca.)


Peet’s Coffee and Tea, San Francisco
It is mind-boggling, no not the coffee, the number of parking tickets that I talked my way out of for double-parking in front of Peet’s in the Marina in San Francisco to get a strong, dark latte to sip on my hour-long commute to the South Bay each morning.  Maybe the cops are coffee-addicts too and took pity on me.  Thankfully Peet’s expanded to Seattle and the East Coast so I now search them out whenever I can – including a 45-minute trek into the financial district in Boston on a 6-hour layover only to find they were closed on Sundays.  I almost cried.

See our latest coffee finds on two new posts: Best Coffee Shops in the World and Back to the Grind.

If you happen to be in the US, looking for a great cup of coffee, check out  A wonderful resource for great espresso, including one of our favorites…Joe The Art of Coffee. See, I’m not alone in my quest for the best coffee!

P.S.  For making coffee yourself, try these espresso makers and coffee...


  1. You're really missing out on a great shop in Sioux Falls, South Dakota!!! It's called Black Sheep coffee and they have the BEST espresso in town!!! I never walk away disappointed. There espresso makes your palate always wanting more. Check them out online at

    1. Thanks so much for your comment! I look forward to trying Black Sheep Coffee next time I'm in Sioux Falls.

  2. I hear from a friendly source that Rockwood Bakery in Spokane, WA. makes a very smooth latte and their pastry chef is outstanding. Cozy and a bit eclectic, it is the perfect spot for a coffee and croissant on a wintry day in Washington state.

    1. I LOVE Rockwood Bakery and recently tried (and loved) Lindaman's for coffee...fantastic lattes every time I visited. Can't wait to be back in Spokane and head back to both of these places. Thanks for your comment.

  3. If you are headed to New York, be sure to check out this comprehensive list of top spots for coffee in NYC -