13 Best Coffee Chains In America, Ranked

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A morning cup of coffee is as American as baseball or apple pie. According to a survey from the National Coffee Association, around 70% of Americans drink coffee every week, and over 60% drink coffee daily. This beverage has become part of many morning routines. These routines sometimes involve stopping by the local coffee chain or drive-through on the way to work.

From nationally-known brands like Starbucks to regional coffee chains like Dunn Brothers Coffee, we've gone ahead and ranked the 13 most popular coffee chains in the country. Not only do these national and regional chains make up a large portion of the coffee shops in the country, but almost all of them sell their products in other stores and supermarkets as well. Thanks to this, thrifty coffee drinkers who brew their own cups of joe can purchase beans from big chains like Peet's Coffee.

By taking into consideration coffee quality, specialty items, customer service, and availability, we have determined which coffee chains deserve to be considered the best in America — and which ones are the most overrated.

13. Dutch Bros. Coffee

Like Starbucks, Dutch Bros. Coffee is an Oregon-based chain that has expanded eastward. However, Dutch Bros. hasn't grown quite as much as its cousin chain. Most Dutch Bros. locations remain in the western part of the country. Depending on who you ask, though, having fewer locations of Dutch Bros. isn't the worst thing in the world. 

Dutch Bros. is also similar to Starbucks in terms of its super-sweet beverage offerings. You go to these places to order a latte with three or more ingredients in its name, not for a quality cup of black coffee. With indulgent items — like Annihilator, a chocolate macadamia nut breve, as well as a whole menu category dedicated to milkshakes — the Dutch Bros. menu makes Dunkin' look like an unassuming French cafe. 

This chain certainly has the advantage of being less expensive than many of its competitors, but all of this feels like a dance around the fact that the coffee itself is subpar. One Tripadvisor explained this, writing: "I have been around the world a number of times and this was truly the worst cup of coffee I have ever had. Tasted like rusty water. Had to go to Starbucks to get the taste out of my mouth. Dutch Bros usually has low-grade coffee which I only resort to in emergencies, but this was truly the worst of the worst."

12. Gloria Jean's Coffees

Gloria Jean's Coffee will more than do in a desperate coffee situation. But this chain offers up more than just a decent cup of joe. Established in 1979 in Chicago, Gloria Jean's has grown to be a much larger brand, with around 600 stores.

The menu for this American coffee chain puts emphasis on frozen drinks. Espresso Chillers are a fan favorite. One Yelp user wrote: "I came in expecting something ... and got something a lot better. Their choice of 'chillers' (gourmet slushes) is more than I've ever seen at any other cafe." This wide variety of frozen drinks is one way that Gloria Jean's provides options for both coffee drinkers and those that avoid caffeine.

Online feedback for Gloria Jean's cafes is mixed. Some customers have complained about longer-than-average wait times at some locations. As The Darkest Roast points out, it's very easy to see how divided the reviews are for this American coffee chain.

11. PJ's Coffee of New Orleans

PJ's is a regional chain that originated in New Orleans. There are numerous PJ's locations throughout the South, as well as in other states. This chain prides itself on its iced coffee. The company claims this beverage is brewed every day, using a unique drip process that is designed to produce less acidic drinks.

The PJ's menu sports a variety of specialty beverages that range from hot to frozen. It includes the coveted PJ's Velvet Ice Frozen Blended drink. While the pastries and breakfast offerings at PJ's are par for the course, some locations serve beignets, a New Orleans special. We think this gives some PJ's locations an edge over other local coffee joints. 

However, when it comes to getting coffee in New Orleans, locals find that there are many better options for great coffee, according to this Reddit thread. One user wrote: "PJ's does taste burnt, almost sour." No matter what part of the country you're in, there are better coffee places to try.

10. Tim Hortons

Once a staple of Canadian fast-food breakfast, Tim Hortons now proudly serves coffee in several United States locations. There are Tim Hortons spread far and wide, from Maine to Texas. A vast majority of American Tim Hortons locations are either in New York, Michigan, or Ohio. This means your chances of you seeing one outside of those states is slim. 

In addition to hot coffee and espresso offerings, Tim Hortons boasts an all-day menu of sandwiches, snacks, and more. Hortons is always there for a cup of joe and a few Timbits — the Tim Hortons equivalent of Dunkin' Munchkins — but it also rivals Wawa and Sheetz in terms of its build-your-own sandwich menu. 

A few Canadians have noted the downslide in quality after Burger King acquired Tim Hortons in 2014, citing McDonald's as their new home for a morning cup. While this move may have hurt in-store loyalty, it may have given the brand exposure, allowing it to become one of the highest-rated coffee bean sellers on Amazon. Whatever the problem at Tim Hortons is, it's not the beans, as happy online customers have raved about the flavor and affordability of Tim Hortons Original Blend.

9. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

This Los Angeles-based chain was founded in 1963. Since then, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has become a reliable stop for coffee and espresso drinks. Even though it's been in the business for a while, The Coffee Bean is keeping things current. Its online store offers many of the conveniences of newer coffee chains, such as subscription services for savvy home brewers and a full online store willing to supply your every coffee-making whim. 

You can stop by one of the chain's many cafes nationwide to try one of the seasonal specialty beverages. But then you can try and recreate these beverages on your own, with The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf's assortment of flavored powdered creamers, one of the brand's most unique offerings. 

More so than the quality of the drinks or food — which are usually held in high esteem — online reviewers seem to often complain about customer service. These complaints are received at both the local and corporate levels. One person wrote: "Customer service was horrible, talked to me like I was dumb, complained about having to toast my bagel."

8. Dunkin'

Dunkin' is one of the largest coffee chains in the U.S. and many Dunkin' fans are some of the most passionate coffee drinkers in the country. Feelings on the quality of the donuts aside — they are at best hit-and-miss — the coffee is usually consistent across its approximately 8,500 locations nationwide. This alone is an impressive feat. Wherever you go, you can get your Dunkin' exactly how you like it. Whether it's a Coolata, Dunkachino, or just plain coffee, there is consistency at this company. 

Being a massive chain, Dunkin' is not without its haters. The coffee itself doesn't pack a ton of flavor — a fact often offset by Dunkin's varied assortment of flavored syrups that you can add to any drink. But more so than any other coffee chain, Dunkin's appeal is its reliability. You can quickly get a large coffee drink for cheap whenever you see those colors. 

7. Starbucks

Starbucks has long been the largest coffee chain in the U.S., but that doesn't automatically make the chain the finest roaster in the country. On the contrary, there are many better places to get coffee. However, we can't deny that the brand is a trailblazer. Starbucks pioneered charging upwards of $5 for a large, sugar-filled coffee drink. 

Over the years, Starbucks has evolved. The Pumpkin Spice Latte has become a household name, associated with an entire season. Over the years, the food offerings at Starbucks have also improved. Now, you can even buy branded merchandise and coffee pods for brewing at home from this chain. 

Price is one of the most divisive parts of Starbucks. Additionally, mindful coffee drinkers avoid the chain due to allegations of bad business practices. Many of these questionable practices came to light during a 2022 lawsuit alleging that the chain participated in unfair labor practices.

6. Stumptown Coffee Roasters

The Portland-based Stumptown Coffee Roasters has expanded to other hip cities across the country. You can find Stumptown cafes in New York and Los Angeles. Additionally, the coffee itself is everywhere, including at major retailers like Whole Foods. 

This organic coffee brand sources high-quality ingredients, if you're happy to pay for them. A visitor to one of the New York locations said on Tripadvisor: "This was the first coffee we had in New York and it definitely set the bar for our expectations. The outdoor tables are the perfect spot to people watch from. Definitely New York prices but worth it."

Unlike many chains on this list, Stumptown focuses on executing the basics and doing it well. You won't find frozen or blended dessert-style beverages on its menu. This is the type of place that has a small menu, but a high-quality one. Stumptown gives that serious coffee drinkers-only vibe, which may not be for everyone. But coffee purists are sure to adore it. 

5. Blue Bottle Coffee

Nestlé bought a majority stake in this leading third-wave coffee brand in 2017, allowing the brand to expand. However, its locations are still hard to find and tend to be concentrated in major cities. Additionally, the aesthetic of these locations has often been criticized. On Tripadvisor, one person wrote: "Blue Bottle has always served me amazing coffee, but when it comes to service, or interior, it feels very cold, too clinical. I also have the feeling I need to order for take away and run."

This whole-bean coffee vendor has always been on the cutting edge. Some might call Blue Bottle hipster or fancy. But if you are trying to determine the best coffee chains, we aren't going to lie to you, the things Blue Bottle provides make a difference to its customers. 

When it comes down to pushing the envelope, Blue Bottle's subscription service is one of the most customizable. Investing in these options has allowed Blue Bottle to grow beyond the cities with physical locations. It thrives as a truly modern coffee chain.

4. Dunn Brothers Coffee

Originally a Minnesota favorite, Dunn Brothers Coffee has expanded over the years. However, it remains a regional chain. The rest of the country is missing out because Dunn Brothers boasts quality brews and great food. Plus, Dunn Brothers even has a mobile rewards app that has just as many benefits as the apps of national coffee chains. 

With a menu of specialty drinks that push the envelope, there is a lot to try at Dunn Brothers. The standout has got to be the Infinite Black Cold Brew, a special type of coffee that is slow-brewed for 24 hours. Dunn Brothers works this into its menu in many wonderful concoctions.

Compared to national chains like Dunkin' and Starbucks, the food at Dunn Brothers goes above and beyond. Its breakfast menu has so many fresh and customizable options that it rivals a diner. Thanks to its great coffee and food options, Dunn Brothers ranks highly. 

3. La Colombe

This east coast chain, out of Philadelphia, is known for more than its coffee shops. It's also known for canned draft lattes and nitro coffees that you can buy in local shops. The ethically sourced coffee from this chain is part of a larger shift in the way coffee is produced, which is something to be proud of. 

Putting aside the cult of personality that has evolved around La Colombe's methods, the coffee itself is of a stunningly high consistency. Whether you are visiting a La Colombe cafe, grinding and brewing the beans yourself, or buying one of the brand's many pre-made cold brew drinks, you are getting smooth that often tastes very similar.

Whatever your needs are, La Colombe has you covered with high-quality coffee. However, you will pay a premium for La Colombe's products. But we think it's usually worth it, as you can tell by the company's high ranking. 

2. Caribou Coffee

To Midwesterners, Caribou Coffee is an old, reliable stalwart. Its attractive locations are often equipped with drive-thrus and quality beans. The menu itself serves a welcome variety of hot and cold drinks, most caffeinated but some not, as well as a solid selection of hot food. 

Caribou has fostered loyalty through high-quality products and a competitive loyalty program. In 2021, the chain reached such heights that it merged with Einstein Bros. Bagels and Panera Bread to make up the Panera Brands group.

On paper, Caribou is nothing special. But when it comes to customer satisfaction, this chain is top-tier. According to Restaurant Business Online, a survey gathered consumer data in order to rank which coffee chains had the most crave-ability. Of all the chains that made the top eight — including Dunkin', Starbucks, and Tim Hortons — Caribou ultimately came out on top, earning 36.9% of first-place votes. People appreciated many different types of drinks, from plain coffee to frozen beverages. 

1. Peet's Coffee

Why does Peet's Coffee top this list? For starters, fans appreciate the chain for its fresh, organic beans. They also love drinks like the company's Black Tie iced coffee, horchata, and pumpkin spice-flavored drinks. 

When it comes to cafes for coffee and tea, Peet's is a top-tier chain. But beyond that, it's also one of the best options for brewing your own joe at home. According to a survey from The Strategist that asked writers about their favorite coffee bean brands, Peet's is great at making these products. Multiple blends produced by Peet's Coffee were recommended. 

The long-running Peetnik Rewards program is one of the smoothest and most rewarding in the coffee business. In addition to offering straightforward-yet-flexible ways to spend your points, you can work your way towards earning a free breakfast and drinks. For all of these reasons, we've determined that Peet's is the best coffee chain in America.