All frequent travelers know that your morning caffeine frenzy doesn't dissipate just because you're away from home. In fact, due to late nights out or early morning flights, it's usually worse. And while Starbucks is always a viable option, we suggest jumping on board with the artisanal coffee roaster train that is sweeping across our great nation.
Here are some of our favorite coffee shops from coast to coast, plus suggestions on what to order from those in the know.
Devoción's pretty digs — Photo courtesy of Devoción
Methodical Coffee — Photo courtesy of Nathan Spainhour
"The six-ounce espresso with milk is a constant favorite. It's easily the best drink to represent how much care we put into our coffee. We typically use an espresso blend from one of our lovely roasters, paired with local milk from Southern Oaks jersey cows that is steamed with precision and care, and topped with latte art."
-Barista Chloe King
Kansas City, Mo.
Oddly Correct — Photo courtesy of Carlos Lima
"I'd recommend getting a black coffee made using the Kalita Wave dripper. We focus on sourcing coffees that are either the highest quality representation of a classic cup (an excellent washed Yirgacheffe with notes of bergamot and lemon, for example) or the most wild and atypical, paradigm-shattering and palate-pleasing crops from people going after quality in a serious way wherever they are (such as a drought-resistant Kenyan variety of coffee, grown in Colombia and washed with a lactic fermentation process)."
-Roaster and Bicyclist Mike Schroeder
Mudhouse Coffee Roasters
Mudhouse — Photo courtesy of Jack Looney
"My hands-down favorite coffee that we have in right now is a micro-lot from Emilio Quintanilla's Finca de Los Cipreses in Nicaragua. We’re brewing it on the hand-pour bar. I love the honeysuckle in the aroma and the creamy chocolates in the cup. It’s a total crowd pleaser."
-Barista Max Bollinger
Please & Thank You
Please & Thank You — Photo courtesy of Josh Johnson, The Kentucky Gent
"If you were to come to Please & Thank You, I would suggest that you order a Thai iced coffee and a chocolate chip cookie. Our Thai iced coffee is made by mixing our double strength, highly caffeinated iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk and then poured over ice. The coffee we use is a special blend, roasted in small batches specifically for our shop by Argo Sons, a local roastery that's literally miles down the road from us. Our chocolate chip cookie was created by the shops' owner, Brooke Vaughn, and has won multiple awards, including earning the title, "Louisville's Best Chocolate Chip Cookie," though most argue it's the best in the world."
-Barista and Front-of-House Man Ethan Shepherd
Black Eye Coffee Shop
Black Eye Coffee Shop — Photo courtesy of Kathryn Bacalis
"We always have amazing coffee roasted in house, but also feature guest roasters in our Highlands location. Currently I would try a pour over of the Costa Rica La Gabriela from Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters. This super sweet coffee, that has flavors of apple and maple syrup, is roasted by world-renowned coffee roaster and brewer, Andy Sprenger."
-Barista Gregory Ferrari
Mudsmith Coffee — Photo courtesy of Jordan Rogers
"The cortado is a traditional Spanish drink that is a variation of the Italian cappuccino. It is equal parts espresso to milk. The milk is steamed to a more delicate temperature to highlight the natural sugars found in milk. However, at Mudsmith we use half-and-half, which gives the drinks a more dessert like quality. The cortado is perfect for an individual who wants a milk-based drink but is still able to taste some of the more nuance qualities in the espresso as a result of the ratio of milk to coffee. Personally, the cortado is my favorite drink and always my go-to suggestion for customers."
-Barista Nathaniel Rivera
Dose Coffee and Tea
Dose Coffee and Tea — Photo courtesy of Scott Simontacchi
"When customers ask me what to order, I recommend that they try the Flat White made with their choice of espresso. We always have a blend from Counter Culture Coffee, as well as a rotating single-origin option from a guest specialty roaster. At a ratio of 4 oz. steamed whole milk to 1.5 oz. espresso, the Flat White allows for the flavors of the espresso to shine while still being approachable for the non-espresso enthusiast.”
-Counter Culture Certified Barista Nick Parker
Boxcar Coffee — Photo courtesy of Rachel Robichaux
Octane Coffee — Photo courtesy of Jimmy Rowalt
"A favorite drink among our regulars is the Cortado, an espresso-based beverage with equal parts espresso and textured organic milk. Our espresso is currently a blend of thoughtfully sourced beans from Brazil, Colombia and Ethiopia, and when combined with our naturally sweet and creamy milk, produces a rich, chocolate-forward beverage."
-Barista and General Manager Samuel Cisco
Case Study Coffee
Case Study Coffee — Photo courtesy of Wes Russell
"Portland is still one of the most creative coffee cities in the world. If you want to know what one of the best roasters in the city is doing, try our single origin espresso. If you want to know what some of the best baristas in the city are doing, have one of our seasonal specials, like our orange blossom latte."