Anyone in the coffee industry knows that one cup isn’t the same as the next. Factors like terroir, variety, cultivation, roast, and brew style can all make or break the flavor and finesse of a cuppa Joe.
This won’t necessarily stop bad coffee from gaining popularity. However, real coffee connoisseurs will always gravitate toward outstanding flavor, along with roasting and brewing expertise.
So it’s no surprise that a dedication to quality marks some of the best coffee shops on the planet. Here are just a few of the cafés worldwide that are making waves in the vast sea of java.
1. Baristart Coffee (Singapore)
The name of this concept café might seem strange until you realize it’s a portmanteau of barista and art, which is fitting, considering the bespoke foam art that graces their bevs. While this makes for many a ‘Grammable moment, what really stands out is the rich complexity of their drinks.
Chalk it up to BIEI milk, which the Hokkaido-based company sources only from brown Jersey cows at Hokkaido dairies. It’s not only used for their coffee, which features single-origin beans, but it’s also present in their dessert offerings. BIEI premium milk is the epitome of doing one thing better than everyone else.
2. Kamili (Cape Town, South Africa)
It’s no wonder this coffee shop is billed as the best coffee in Cape Town, considering the name means “perfect” in Swahili. The coffee lives up to this lofty moniker with outstanding cold brews, drip coffee (hand-brewed pour-overs or Chemex), French press, and of course, espresso drinks.
Even better, the brews are some of the cheapest in the city, with the silky flat white serving as a particular favorite.
The warehouse-style setting, complete with a powerful, minimalist Dutch vibe (white subway tile, wooden tables with bench seating, and pendant lighting), is tailor-made for moody selfies with steaming brews. Plus, the roastery above the café delivers a heavenly fragrance that enhances the entire experience.
3. Toma Café (Madrid, Spain)
You might find it hard to believe that this capital city was a stranger to specialty coffee roasts and brews prior to the launch of Toma Café in 2011, but word of mouth made this novelty café a hit with Madrileños, thanks to simple yet spectacular options ranging from cold brew, to pour over, to piccolo, and more.
Best of all, the prices are quite low, considering the quality. Toma also offers outstanding seasonally themed toasts to pair with their coffee and a selection of sweets, including unbelievably good cookies. Their knowledgeable staff and exquisite bean sourcing are points of renown among city cafés.
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4. Stumptown Coffee Roasters (Portland, OR, USA)
The Pacific Northwest isn’t alone in its proclivity for coffee – pretty much any cold place is likely to have hot beverages in spades.
Considering Seattle is the birthplace of the now ubiquitous Starbucks brand, however, it’s not surprising that their close cousin to the south has spawned another domestic treasure. Stumptown is quickly becoming a household name with anyone who loves top-quality roasts.
This is thanks to their commitment to good partner relations (including price incentives), painstaking quality control, nuanced roasting cycles, employee education, transparency, and participation in a long tradition of coffee cultivation, roasting, and brewing. The result is a cup of truly exceptional coffee designed to deliver pleasure with every sip.
5. Café Tortoni (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
When it comes to a truly extraordinary café con leche or Argentinian fave submarino, experience clearly makes a difference, and Café Tortoni has that in spades.
This iconic Parisian-style coffee house, studded with a Tiffany glass ceiling and lamps, has been in operation since 1858 and has reportedly played host to notables like Juan Carlos de Borbón, Hillary Clinton, and Albert Einstein, among others.
Those who are feeling a little peckish can pair excellent coffee or tea with savory picada or go all-in on sweets with specialty chocolate churros.
6. Pilot Coffee Roasters (Toronto, Canada)
When you think of Canadian coffee, the ubiquitous and totally decent brews of Tim Horton’s probably come to mind. For the discerning palate, however, there are better options, including award-winning Pilot Coffee Roasters.
Their mission is to roast great coffee with great people, and since 2009, they’ve done just that, sourcing ethical, direct trade beans, offering transparency in operations, and helping new café owners in their community through consultancy, even as they grew their own roasting and café operation.
Pilot Coffee Roasters’ passion for “great coffee” led to a laundry list of awards and recognition, but perhaps the most important is the popularity of their café locations and their coffee subscription service.
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