When you love coffee, you love coffee. Sure, you can get a cup of joe anywhere in the world, but true coffee connoisseurs look beyond the carafe at the corner deli. When traveling, coffee lovers need to know where to go to escape the substandard American-style brew most hotels serve. There are cities across the world that define themselves by their coffee culture, and they are incredible to explore.
In the United States, San Francisco has the most coffee shops per capita, according to Redfin. Honolulu has historically gotten major props for being the capital of the only U.S. state that actually grows its own beans commercially, although California farmers have recently begun growing coffee bushes under the shade of avocado trees.
Jump across the Northern Hemisphere to Italy, where Italians are so passionate about coffee they have created a coffee culture that is almost unparalleled anywhere in the world. Almost every household has a macchinetta (a stovetop aluminum percolator), and it’s a rare sight to see someone drinking coffee in a paper cup on the street. In Rome, coffee is an experience, a moment to be savored and respected. In fact, it was a trip to Italy that first inspired Howard Schultz to remake Starbucks into its current identity as not just a coffee purveyor but a public meeting place.
Because of the variables involved in making a cup of coffee — bean origin and quality, roasts, temperature, water pressure, baristas, drink style — not to mention variations in personal taste, it’s not easy to come up with a definitive list of the best coffee in the world. But there are certain cities that are definitely worth a visit if you’re hoping to indulge in the art of coffee.
Shannon Darnall and Fabiana Santana contributed to this story.