Are These Actually America's Best Coffee Cities?

A new list of the best coffee cities in America seems to have some holes.

When you think of a coffee destination, which city comes to mind? Online renters' guide Rent.com did some digging to determine the "best cities for coffee" in the U.S. Unsurprisingly, the Pacific Northwest has major representation on the list. But my question is this: which cities are missing?

First, let's assess Rent.com's research methods. To compile the rankings, the site gathered the 150 most populated cities in America according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Rent.com team then ranked the cities according to the following metrics:

  • The total number of coffee-related business establishments (including but not limited to coffee shops, mobile coffee businesses, and roasters)
  • The number of local (non-chain) businesses per square mile of land area
  • 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, slinging "the good stuff, from single-origin artisan brew to third-wave specialty coffee." Overall, the rankings are pretty predictable, with Seattle taking the top spot thanks to its rich history as a bohemian coffee hub, as well as its status as the birthplace of Starbucks. San Francisco and Oakland both also landed in the Top 10, which is no surprise because I've had some of the coolest coffee experiences of my life in the Bay Area.

    Other top destinations include Denver and Portland, Oregon, both of which make sense given their reputations as hipster hotbeds. But there was one surprising Top 10 contender, located in my home state of Missouri: St. Louis, home to favorites like Blueprint Coffee and Fiddlehead Fern Café. Yes! Missouri pride.

    Of course, Rent.com's research methods have some holes. First, the team only assessed the most-populated cities in America, leaving off lots of smaller coffee destinations. Also, the data rewards cities with high numbers of independently-owned coffee shops, but quantity doesn't necessarily translate to quality. Still, what do I know? I dump a small cow's worth of half-and-half into my coffee every morning. With that in mind, check out the full list here and tell me: which cities are missing? Do you live in an underrated coffee paradise?

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