Being a great coffee shop isn't just about the quality of your espresso or the ratio ofbaristas generally interested in your day compared to condescending coffee snobs. It's about those special touches that weave a humble purveyor of warm beverages into the fabric of a community's everyday life. Like free Wi-Fi.
Since nearly every community has at least one caffeine hotspot that serves as a "third place" for people who "can't get work done at home", compiling a list of the 21 best was not an easy task. So to separate the gold from grounds we polled our nationwide staff of city editors as well as some of the biggest names in the coffee world.
In the process we had to cut some iconic local haunts, new-school barista breeding grounds, and roasting titans, so your favorite might not be on the list. If we missed your home away from home, let us know in the comments, and the most popular suggestion will be added to the list as the people's choice. But don't let your vote be swayed too much by a tip flirt.
The only spot on the list where you can both get your bike fixed and score a caffeine fix, Heritage is run by a fifth-generation Chicagoan who cut his teeth building vintage-inspired bikes in the East Village before moving back to the Chi to dedicate himself to custom-crafted bikes and serious coffee, including a pour-over station and cold-brewed Stumptown Hair Bender.