Coffee Recommendations

I like coffee, especially cappuccinos, so that is mostly what I evaluate. This page primarily has recommendations for small and independent coffeeshops; if instead you want inexpensive or mass-market coffee, it's not hard to find. For pedants, this page additionally contains recommendations for non-coffee items.

There are many medium-to-large-ish chains, with varying levels of consistency and quality, for example La Colombe or Bluestone Lane. The line between "chain" and "small and independent but with multiple locations" is nebulous; I make no promises of semantic consistency.

Also, thanks to the various members of my coffee committee (in alphabetical order), Albert, Deepti, Panda, Paroma, Pratiksha, Rachee, Sagar, Shoumik, Shriram, and Vipul sending in their suggestions! Please get in touch if you have a scouting report to share.




South Bay

New York






Hawai'i (the state) has a coffee growing industry, thanks to the volcanoes. Most of the growing happens on Hawai'i (the island), in particular Kona coffee. It's certainly possible to get mass-market coffee (Starbucks, Lavazza, etc) here, but it's worth sampling the local product.

Hawai'i ("Big Island")


I will leave you in the hands of the Atlanta Coffee Shops project.


Note: Italian coffee culture is somewhat different than the other places on this page. For example, Italians don't drink heated-milk drinks such as cappucinos after 11:00. Also, the standard price one should expect for an espresso is €1, and a cappuccino should be €1.50 (this is when standing at the bar; table service is more expensive). If the place is charging more than this, you either have no other option or are rich (airports, fancy hotels, etc). As a result, my recommendation is a cappuccino in the morning and a cafe macchiato (espresso with a bit of foamy milk) in the afternoon. Italian espresso is much more drinkable than most other places on this list, so this plan wasn't an issue for me. You can still request milk drinks in the afternoon, but be prepared for some eye-rolling.

Also, I have only listed the places that especially stood out to me in some way. It is in almost all cases perfectly fine to walk into an arbitrary "caffetteria" for coffee.

Now, my actual recommendations:


Australia/New Zealand

Much like in Italy, Australia's base level of coffee quality is generally higher than what one is used to. In Melbourne especially, any arbitrary cafe will generally have good espresso. The local drink is the flat white, which is like a slightly less foamy cappuccino.

New Zealand coffeeshops are not as universally good; I liked Common Ground in Johnsonville, Wellington (in the community center/public library), as well as Storehouse in Taupo.


  • Stumptown is probably the most famous Portland coffee, with locations in not only Portland, but also New York, LA, and Kyoto.
  • Oblique is located in an old Victorian warehouse, in accordance with the Portland aesthetic.
  • Scouting report: Shoumik and Paroma recommend Case Study Coffee.
  • Forage is a good option in Medford, OR.




  • Scouting report: Albert (our Zurich coffee correspondent) recommends Mame, affiliated with two former world barista champions, as the best coffee in Zurich, and ViCafe as a good take-away place with locations all over the city. Near ETH, he recommends Café & Conditorei 1842.


  • Scouting report: Rachee and Sagar recommend Medina Cafe.


  • My Little Cup is inside the McGill metro station (where else in North America will you find this nice a cafe inside a metro station??).
  • Crew Collective is a cafe located within an old bank building, which also contains a coworking space.
  • Scouting report: In Quebec City, Deepti recommends Cafe Olive.


Note: Indians mostly drink filter coffee. You can get this basically anywhere, so this list focuses on fancier and more westernized (i.e., cappuccino) places.
  • Scouting report: Shriram recommends Beachville Coffee in Mylapore.
  • Backyard in Gandhi Nagar is a co-working space which includes unlimited filter coffee and chai.
  • KC Roasters in Bandra is the best cappuccino I have had in Mumbai.
  • Blue Tokai is a good default option, with cafes in a few cities around India. There are six Mumbai locations.
  • In Kala Ghoda, Kala Ghoda Cafe has good lunch options as well as coffee.
  • In Churchgate, where there used to be the long-running Tea Centre, there is now Queen's Deck (neither has a website I can link to). I have visited the Queen's Deck incarnation and can say the tea is good (especially the Assam selections), but I am told it's not quite as good as the old version, especially in the food department. I didn't like the pre-mixed chai; get a black tea and add the milk yourself.


  • In Barcelona, Nomad Roasters seem to dominate the coffee scene. I unfortunately could not visit one of their own cafes, but have heard a positive report (thanks, Shiori!). I did get to visit CafeCosmo (which uses Nomad beans) which is also an art gallery, and I saw people working there as well. They have another location, CafeCometa, which I have not visited.

    Also, Cloudstreet in the Eixample is a nice little pastry shop.

  • Scouting report: Pratiksha reports that Fresh Roasted Coffee in Barcelona is good. Pratiksha also recommends:


  • Dineen Coffee Co and Bulldog Coffee are good options in downtown Toronto. Bulldog offers a (presumably Instagram-optimized) "rainbow latte", which I didn't bother with.


  • Scouting report: Shriram recommends Cafe Gerbaud and Central Cafe.
  • Arioso is colocated with an interior decorations store and flower shop. There's also a Langos place right around the corner.
  • Fekete has a great interior courtyard to sit in, and they serve brunch.