15 Coolest Coffee Shops Around the World (Slideshow)
September 22, 2016
We celebrate National Coffee Day (Sept. 29) and International Coffee Day (Oct. 1) with the 15 coolest shops in the world
#15 Dreamy Camera Café, Yangpyeong, South Korea
Let’s be real for a second: Can anything be more hipster than a coffee shop that’s housed in a giant retro camera? This should be enough coolness points already, but once inside the mom-and-pop shop, guests are greeted with some solid (but totally unpretentious) java and tasty snacks like fresh-baked churros. Also, the two-story camera (a Rolleiflex 2.8F twin-lens replica, to be exact) happens to be surrounded by a breathtaking country landscape.
#14 Da Matteo, Gothenburg, Sweden
Photo by Sofia A. via Yelp
As we learned from calling to five random Swedes, Sweden is cuckoo for coffee. But what makes this spot so cool? Mostly the fact that you can order coffee from anywhere in the world and that it is consistently ranked among the top (if not the top) coffee shops in the entire country. Chat with the friendly roasters and bakers if you feel like talking shop (they’re a fascinating wealth of knowledge) or just hang out on the popular outdoor terrace. Looking for something to order? Don’t skip the espresso, which actually has a bit of a fruity taste.
#13 Starbucks, Dazaifu, Japan
Photo by トモ T. via Yelp
Yes, a Starbucks made this list, but it is far from your ordinary Starbucks. In fact, it might just be the coolest Starbucks ever. Designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates, who also designed a restaurant that made it on our list of restaurants with amazing architecture, this Starbucks has the firm’s signature aesthetic of interwoven wood blocks intended to evoke a forest. Unlike other “cool” Starbucks locations in Asia, this one is not located in a pagoda or historical building; those buildings just look sad and out of place. This one makes us appreciate contemporary design, as well as contemporary coffee drinks.
#12 Limestone Coffee Co., Medford, Ore.
Photo by Paty E. via Yelp
Limestone Coffee Co. in Medford, Oregon, looks like a spacious living room with lots of natural sunlight that just happens to have an Ambex micro roaster. The bar is made of reclaimed wood from a shuttered mill (which just makes the pour-over kettles on it look even cooler), and the curved, blue staircase that leads to more seating above makes it a great place to while away an afternoon. The coolest thing about it? Its lack of pretension.
#11 Kronotrop, Istanbul
If you like your coffee brewed a particular way, Kronotrop is the place for you, because it has all the ways. (If you don’t care how your coffee is brewed, we still insist you go.) Whether you want it via filter , French press, Moka pot, Hario, Chemex, AeroPress, or Turkish, this shop has you covered. You can even pick out your own limited and locally roasted coffee beans from countries like Colombia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Kenya, Nicaragua, and Tanzania.
#10 Sightglass Coffee, San Francisco
This sibling-owned coffee company is housed in an old billboard factory, and its enormous machines and coffee gear makes the store look more like a theater than a coffee shop. Those who want a homier feel can go to the Mission District location, but coffee aficionados will want to stop by this coffee bar and see exactly why hand-roasted, artisanal coffee is such a big deal.
#9 Kaffeine, London
Photo by Jessica X. via Yelp
A hidden gem that feels like an oasis off the busy Oxford Street, this antipodean coffee shop serves up high-quality drinks and Australian-style pastries. It’s a small shop, with bar-style seating, but what it lacks in space it makes up in quality (especially in the foam art on top). After all, Kaffeine’s baristas must have a minimum of three years’ experience before getting hired. Don’t know what to order? Try the flight, which includes a single shot of espresso, a single shot of cappuccino, and a cold-brew cascara refresher.
#8 Amethyst, Chennai, India
Amethyst captures the heart of Chennai (a.k.a. Old Madras), both in its outdoor tropical garden area with wicker chairs and its indoor area with marbled floors and portraits of the family that used to own the mansion the café currently occupies. There is also an in-house florist and a shop upstairs that sells books, clothing, and jewelry with a South Indian theme. Expats and locals alike come here to enjoy continental food and “cold coffee,” an iced latte with ice cream mixed into it.
#7 Necessary Provisions, Singapore
Necessary Provisions serves simple meals made of ingredients sourced from local markets, as well as single-origin tea and coffee from carefully chosen estates around the world. In this sense, their “Thumper” house blend (composed of three to four beans from these estates) is not single-origin, but its blend of Brazil Fazenda Passeio, Honduras El Chollo, and Guatemala Finca San Andres beans has proven to be very popular with customers. The washed green paint on many of its surfaces, as well as the hanging plants and signature bike in front of the espresso counter, combine the feeling of a Brooklyn-style coffee shop with that of an island life.
#6 The Grounds of Alexandria, Alexandria, Australia
A restaurant located in a former pie factory, the perennially crowded Grounds of Alexandria serves single cups of coffee on steel trays, so they obviously take their coffee very seriously. With imported dual Probatone roasting machines and a coffee school, GoA takes special pride in its numerous methods of making filter coffee, such as AeroPress, French press, and cold drip. The space is big enough that people actually rent it out for weddings, especially because much of its seating is in the property’s gardens. Oh, and there is a petting zoo.
#5 Caffè Florian, Venice, Italy
Photo by Bee P. via Yelp
Caffè Florian is not cool in the sense that you’ll find single-origin coffee served by tattooed baristas in a minimalist setting, but is instead cool in that it’s considered the oldest café in Europe. Opened in 1720, it is older than the United States as a nation. The opulent rooms in the café each have a different theme: There’s the Oriental Room, the Hall of Seasons, and, of course, the outdoor area right on Piazza San Marco. If it was cool enough for Goethe and Lord Byron, it’s cool enough for you.
#4 The Coffee Academics, Hong Kong
Far from stodgy, The Coffee Academics are constantly creating new ways to enhance the classics — and we’re not talking about adding artificial syrup. Every month, they come up with a special coffee inspired by a different culture around the world. Their latest, the Sea Salt Whipped Latte, is a lightly sweetened signature iced latte topped with a fluffy, whipped Hawaiian red lava sea salt cream cloud. Moreover, their woodsy, collegiate décor; large drip machines with gold finishing; and bowtie-wearing baristas just ooze coolness.
#3 Balzac’s Coffee Roasters, Toronto
Photo by Alex N. via Yelp
Though Balzac’s Coffee Roasters has various locations in Toronto, each picturesque in its own way, the flagship store in the Distillery District is the only one modeled to look like a grand Parisian café with high ceilings and a vaudevillian chandelier. Located in a former pump house, art nouveau prints line the exposed brick walls and the speckled mirror behind the counter recalls something out of a Manet painting. Their Atwood blend — made in a partnership with Canadian author and poet Margaret Atwood and roasted in a company warehouse in Stoney Creek, Ontario — benefits the preservation of tragically dwindling populations of migratory birds.
#2 Truth Coffee, Cape Town, South Africa
With a loud steampunk aesthetic and home-roasted coffee so good that they provide the beans for various five-star hotels in South Africa, Truth Coffee is a must-visit in Cape Town. For those who don’t know, steampunk is a style heavily inspired by steam-powered machinery from the nineteenth century. As a result, steampunk combines grand Victorian styles with modern punk, which is why you’ll find saw-blade tabletops, exposed pipes, vintage typewriters, Singer sewing machines, and many other Old-World-meets-New-World elements at Truth Coffee. They even have a barista school and a 1940s Probat roaster named Colossus.
#1 Barista Parlor, Nashville
Photo by Kamille P. via Yelp
Nashville’s Barista Parlor is a converted auto garage that is frequented by the usual hipsters, but it’s also not unusual to see a line of motorcycles parked outside the entrance. These aren’t decorative; bikers actually get their caffeine fix here. In addition to artisanal coffee, you can eat buttermilk biscuits topped with homemade peach jam or sausages from the butcher shop next door — and clean up yourself with the bandanas they offer as napkins. For bonus cool points, local designers make the shop’s aprons and bow-ties, and in 2014, the owners opened a second coffee shop in what used to be a recording studio with Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach. Barista Parlor’s engagement with other Nashville businesses makes it a true community hub, one reminiscent of the Viennese coffee houses where the idea of coffee-drinking as a social event originated. That, on top of excellent (and affordable) food and coffee, a diverse clientele, artwork hanging on the walls, and an airy, well-lit space puts Barista Parlor at the top of our list.