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15 Coffee Places Other Than Starbucks That Are Worth A Try

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Believe it or not, Starbucks is not the only coffee place around. Shocking, right? If you absolutely, positively, have got to get your java somewhere else — try these.

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15. Peet’s Coffee & Tea

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Starbucks addicts can hit Peet’s and feel okay with themselves, because not only does Peet’s predate Starbucks — they were the original investors. Peet’s is a solid, Seattle-style coffee spot that has some serious roasts. It’s not fair to compare them to Starbucks, because Peet’s kind of has their own thing going on. It’s a chain, but they all have a local shop feel that you’ll love.

Starbucks addicts can hit Peet’s and feel okay with themselves, because not only does Peet’s predate Starbucks — they were the original investors. Peet’s is a solid, Seattle-style coffee spot that has some serious roasts. It’s not fair to compare them to Starbucks, because Peet’s kind of has their own thing going on. It’s a chain, but they all have a local shop feel that you’ll love.

14. Port City Java

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Port City Java does not play around. If you find yourself in North Carolina — as you should at some point — part of your trip needs to include a stop at Port City. Founded in Wilmington, they’ve expanded to Raleigh, Charlotte, Greenville (SC, not NC), and for some reason two spots in DC. Port City Java is one of the best places to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee prepared by someone who takes pride in their coffee. If you’re serious about your coffee, but still want to enjoy yourself — Port City Java is your jam. In fact, if your Tarheel State vacation isn’t complete without it.

Port City Java does not play around. If you find yourself in North Carolina — as you should at some point — part of your trip needs to include a stop at Port City. Founded in Wilmington, they’ve expanded to Raleigh, Charlotte, Greenville (SC, not NC), and for some reason two spots in DC. Port City Java is one of the best places to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee prepared by someone who takes pride in their coffee. If you’re serious about your coffee, but still want to enjoy yourself — Port City Java is your jam. In fact, if your Tarheel State vacation isn’t complete without it.

13. Dutch Bros. Coffee

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It’s sort of cool that Dutch Bros. has expanded to seven different states in the West, but can still comfortably refer to themselves as “An Oregon Thing.” Dutch Bros. is all about getting you a top-shelf cup of coffee, not screwing around with it, and sending you on your way. You can think of it like a NASCAR pit stop that ends with a steamy cup of caffeinated goodness. If you love Starbucks’ quality, but hate waiting in line — Dutch Bros. is worth a visit.

It’s sort of cool that Dutch Bros. has expanded to seven different states in the West, but can still comfortably refer to themselves as “An Oregon Thing.” Dutch Bros. is all about getting you a top-shelf cup of coffee, not screwing around with it, and sending you on your way. You can think of it like a NASCAR pit stop that ends with a steamy cup of caffeinated goodness. If you love Starbucks’ quality, but hate waiting in line — Dutch Bros. is worth a visit.

12. Aroma Coffee And Tea

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The only thing you can accuse Aroma of, is being really Los Angeles. That’s cool, though because Aroma is awesome. Not to be confused with the famous Israeli coffee chain, Aroma Coffee And Tea is a near-perfect cafe to sit and enjoy a gourmet cup of coffee and some really great food. The atmosphere is the most relaxing thing this side of a vacation, and everything on the menu will make you happy. When you find yourself in Los Angeles, any one of the Aroma locations need to be on your To Do List.

The only thing you can accuse Aroma of, is being really Los Angeles. That’s cool, though because Aroma is awesome. Not to be confused with the famous Israeli coffee chain, Aroma Coffee And Tea is a near-perfect cafe to sit and enjoy a gourmet cup of coffee and some really great food. The atmosphere is the most relaxing thing this side of a vacation, and everything on the menu will make you happy. When you find yourself in Los Angeles, any one of the Aroma locations need to be on your To Do List.

11. Blue State Coffee

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Coffeehouses have always been centers of political change and social progress. Blue State is bringing it back to the spirit of a true coffeehouse, while still taking pride in what they brew. Found in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, they’re unapologetically political and progressive. The coffee is awesome, and as a bonus you can bring your super conservative in laws there, and torture them with a great cup of coffee that you have to listen to progressive ideals for. Blue State is one of the last true coffeehouses in the purest sense of the term.

Coffeehouses have always been centers of political change and social progress. Blue State is bringing it back to the spirit of a true coffeehouse, while still taking pride in what they brew. Found in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, they’re unapologetically political and progressive. The coffee is awesome, and as a bonus you can bring your super conservative in laws there, and torture them with a great cup of coffee that you have to listen to progressive ideals for. Blue State is one of the last true coffeehouses in the purest sense of the term.

10. Cafe du Monde

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Think of Cafe du Monde as your coffee lover’s pilgrimage. In the heart of New Orleans, this might be the best cup of coffee in the United States. On the one hand, they make it with chicory, which everyone needs to try at least ten times in their life. Then there’s those beignets. The fluffy, fried, French-style, donut-like pastry is better the only coffee companion that trumps a bagel. Cafe du Monde will change your entire view on having a cup of coffee, and it should be your first NOLA stop after you leave the airport. Luckily, you can order the coffee and have it shipped to you, which will tide you over till your next trip.

Think of Cafe du Monde as your coffee lover’s pilgrimage. In the heart of New Orleans, this might be the best cup of coffee in the United States. On the one hand, they make it with chicory, which everyone needs to try at least ten times in their life. Then there’s those beignets. The fluffy, fried, French-style, donut-like pastry is better the only coffee companion that trumps a bagel. Cafe du Monde will change your entire view on having a cup of coffee, and it should be your first NOLA stop after you leave the airport. Luckily, you can order the coffee and have it shipped to you, which will tide you over till your next trip.

9. Cafe Trieste

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Deep in San Francisco is the other coffee pilgrimage you need to make. Literally the first espresso house on the west coast, they’ve been doing their thing since the 1950s. While there’s a couple of locations, the North Beach spot is where you want to be. How cool would it be to have a cup in the same spot Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg hung out? Heck, Lawrence Ferlinghetti still hangs out there. The pure and authentic Italian style of their espresso is completely amazing, and will ruin all other espressos for you. You might even forget Starbucks is a thing.

Deep in San Francisco is the other coffee pilgrimage you need to make. Literally the first espresso house on the west coast, they’ve been doing their thing since the 1950s. While there’s a couple of locations, the North Beach spot is where you want to be. How cool would it be to have a cup in the same spot Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg hung out? Heck, Lawrence Ferlinghetti still hangs out there. The pure and authentic Italian style of their espresso is completely amazing, and will ruin all other espressos for you. You might even forget Starbucks is a thing.

8. Espressamente illy

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These are very few and far between. Italian coffee giant, illy, makes some of the best coffees and coffee products on the planet. While you can purchase illycaffe and make it at home, Espressamente illy is where you go to get it done right. You’ll find these in places like Las Vegas, Dubai, Paris, Los Angeles, Istanbul, and other cities like that. It’s the perfectionism that you get from illycaffe, in an actual Italian-style cafe. Take the time to find one of these, and make a trip. It’s well worth it.

These are very few and far between. Italian coffee giant, illy, makes some of the best coffees and coffee products on the planet. While you can purchase illycaffe and make it at home, Espressamente illy is where you go to get it done right. You’ll find these in places like Las Vegas, Dubai, Paris, Los Angeles, Istanbul, and other cities like that. It’s the perfectionism that you get from illycaffe, in an actual Italian-style cafe. Take the time to find one of these, and make a trip. It’s well worth it.

7. Philz Coffee

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Usually when you hear people talk about “third wave coffee”, you want to punch them in their hipster face. Hard. But this California-based chain can be your one exception, as it’s that good. Great coffee, specialty beans, expertly brewed, and all of it put together to make your cup of coffee the best. If you want a top quality cup of coffee, but don’t want to put up with the obnoxious “third wave” crowd — this is your spot.

Usually when you hear people talk about “third wave coffee”, you want to punch them in their hipster face. Hard. But this California-based chain can be your one exception, as it’s that good. Great coffee, specialty beans, expertly brewed, and all of it put together to make your cup of coffee the best. If you want a top quality cup of coffee, but don’t want to put up with the obnoxious “third wave” crowd — this is your spot.

6. Dunn Bros.

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It’s great to have a gourmet cup of coffee, but this midwestern franchise chain does you one better. They roast their coffee right in the store. Finding a chain that roasts in-store is rare and you need to jump on that. Nothing gets fresher than that. It’s the convenience of your local Starbucks, but it’s the freshest roast you could ever hope for. Almost a perfect combination.

It’s great to have a gourmet cup of coffee, but this midwestern franchise chain does you one better. They roast their coffee right in the store. Finding a chain that roasts in-store is rare and you need to jump on that. Nothing gets fresher than that. It’s the convenience of your local Starbucks, but it’s the freshest roast you could ever hope for. Almost a perfect combination.

5. Crazy Mocha Coffee Company

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You don’t normally think of Pittsburgh when it comes to coffee chains, but Crazy Mocha should change that. While you might think a coffee place is a coffee place, Crazy Mocha sets themselves apart by making sure they always use local contractors and builders to construct their stores. Everything they do at Crazy Mocha is centered around the community, in the truest sense of a local neighborhood coffeehouse. Everyone there loves Crazy Mocha, and it’s easy to see why.

You don’t normally think of Pittsburgh when it comes to coffee chains, but Crazy Mocha should change that. While you might think a coffee place is a coffee place, Crazy Mocha sets themselves apart by making sure they always use local contractors and builders to construct their stores. Everything they do at Crazy Mocha is centered around the community, in the truest sense of a local neighborhood coffeehouse. Everyone there loves Crazy Mocha, and it’s easy to see why.

4. PJ’s Coffee

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If you can’t make it to New Orleans, you can have the flavor of it wherever you might be. From Louisiana to parts of California, PJ’s is making its way to you. It’s the same feel you love about Starbucks, but with a little bit of NOLA tossed in — just for some soul. It’s different enough to be different but just familiar enough to be home.

If you can’t make it to New Orleans, you can have the flavor of it wherever you might be. From Louisiana to parts of California, PJ’s is making its way to you. It’s the same feel you love about Starbucks, but with a little bit of NOLA tossed in — just for some soul. It’s different enough to be different but just familiar enough to be home.

3. Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea

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Originally a Chicago roasting company, Intelligentsia has spread to New York and Los Angeles. Not only are they going to roast and brew the best blends and beans there are, but they’re all about telling you how they do it. Intelligentsia loves nothing more than to teach you about the awesome coffee you’re drinking. The baristi go through an exhaustive and intense training, just to make sure your coffee is perfect.

Originally a Chicago roasting company, Intelligentsia has spread to New York and Los Angeles. Not only are they going to roast and brew the best blends and beans there are, but they’re all about telling you how they do it. Intelligentsia loves nothing more than to teach you about the awesome coffee you’re drinking. The baristi go through an exhaustive and intense training, just to make sure your coffee is perfect.

2. Cafe Grumpy

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Fans of HBO’s ‘Girls’… yes, it’s a real place. In fact, there’s a few Grumpy’s in New York. Five, actually. Grumpy’s makes a pretty solid cup of coffee, but what’s neat about it is that they focus on social interaction and conversation. All but one of their stores are without WiFi, preventing the locked-in laptop syndrome you see at other shops. Whether or not any of them have Ray and Hannah working there… undetermined.

Fans of HBO’s ‘Girls’… yes, it’s a real place. In fact, there’s a few Grumpy’s in New York. Five, actually. Grumpy’s makes a pretty solid cup of coffee, but what’s neat about it is that they focus on social interaction and conversation. All but one of their stores are without WiFi, preventing the locked-in laptop syndrome you see at other shops. Whether or not any of them have Ray and Hannah working there… undetermined.

1. Coffee Beanery

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Maybe one of the coolest franchise coffee shops, it’s a Midwestern treasure that has made its way around the country. They’re all about specialty coffees, but also variety. Shops, cafes, drive thrus… they do all sorts of shops. It’s the perfect mix of a chain and a specialty shop.

Maybe one of the coolest franchise coffee shops, it’s a Midwestern treasure that has made its way around the country. They’re all about specialty coffees, but also variety. Shops, cafes, drive thrus… they do all sorts of shops. It’s the perfect mix of a chain and a specialty shop.