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Great Coffee Shops: 5 Cafés We Love

Oct 25, 2012 02:02AM ● By Erin Frisch

Great Coffee Shops: 5 Cafés Americans Love

Most Americans can’t start the day without a good cup of joe in their systems. We’re as obsessed with coffee as we are with football and the Kardashians. Coffee shops have been around for years, and many more are popping up across the country. Most of them started out as small neighborhood shops that grew into large chains, but some are local standouts that beat the big-time competition. Check out our list of five of our favorite coffee shops; does yours make the cut?

1. Starbucks. Starbucks is the number-one chain in the country when it comes to coffee. Starbucks has 150,000 employees and made 11.7 billion dollars in 2011, according to That’s a lot of beans! It even has its own record label called Hear Music. Starbucks is not just about selling coffee; they have an entertainment division within their corporation, and they brand books, music, and films. You can even find Starbucks coffee and ice cream in major supermarket chains.

2. Seattle’s Best. A subsidiary of Starbucks, this is a less expensive version of the Starbucks brand that caters to a more blue-collar clientele. Seattle’s Best not only has a chain of coffee houses but also is available at other locations such as Subway, Taco Bell, Burger King, AMC Theatres, Delta Air Lines, and 50,000 other locations.

3. Dunkin’ Donuts. If you’re over a certain age, the slogan “Time to make the donuts” probably resonates with you. But a newer slogan that fits our 24/7 lifestyle is more familiar to younger coffee lovers—America runs on Dunkin’. The company was founded in 1950 and is still going strong as Dunkin’ Brands Inc., which also owns Baskin-Robbins. This company, which has become very social-media savvy to appeal to the millennial, even has an app for iPhones and androids.

4. Dirt Cowboy Café. Located in Hanover, New Hampshire, this is a great place to get your caffeine fix. This café is the favorite of hundreds of college students and locals, who congregate here every day for the great coffee. Dirt Cowboy buys its beans from quality-driven importers with whom they have built relationships over the years. What keeps bringing customers back? Dirt Cowboy roasts coffee beans in small batches to capture the unique flavor and aroma of each kind of bean. Since 1993, this café has been serving satisfied coffee lovers daily. They’re doing coffee right, and you’ll be sure to get the perfect cup here to start your day off right.

5. Jake’s Coffee Company. Here’s another great local gem, located in Lebanon, New Hampshire.  This little shop offers coffee for everyone, from lovers of straight black coffee to those who prefer fancier drinks like triple vanilla latte. It has a drive-through too, convenient when howling winter winds and blowing snow make getting out of your vehicle downright painful. In addition to their slow-brewed coffee, Jake’s has a nice selection of locally baked treats that compliment their coffee perfect.

Coffee houses have been around for years, but they keep evolving with the times. Some that were once full-service restaurants are now quaint little shops with cozy seating and Wi-Fi access. Many serve as meeting places not only for college and high school kids but also retirees and busy moms and dads. Judging from the number of laptops and tablets sitting next to those steaming cups of joe, coffee shops these days serve as make-shift offices for those who work on the road too.  What would the show “Friends” be without its characters’ favorite hangout, “Central Perk”? No doubt the concept of the “coffee house” will continue to evolve, but as long as Americans are obsessed with the stimulating beverage that is coffee, there will always be places where it’s served up, hot and steaming, cool and frothy, or iced and flavored.

What is your # 1 spot to grab a cup of joe?

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