The Extraordinary in the Ordinary
One of the extraordinary aspects of an day-to-day living is taking the time to enjoy life's pleasures. For me, one of the moments is when I am able to enjoy fresh, delicious coffee. 9,000 taste buds are at work and when one can take in the subtle differences of each and every cup, it can offer a respite from the grind, a time for refreshment, and an encounter of aesthetic delight. Enjoying a cup in solitude or in the company of great conversationalists are gifts. To enjoy the now while reflecting upon the past and anticipating the future is something we should perhaps do more often.
While I am not an expert of all things related to coffee, it is an aesthetic pleasure for me. Perhaps my pics, reflections, and reviews will be a blessing to you!
How The Story Begins...
A few years ago one of my best friends, who is from and lives in the Faroe Islands, a world traveler, fellow lover of all things related to coffee, took a journey with me to visit the top ten coffee bars in Houston, Texas. The observations made, delicacies experienced, and the reviews shared, led us to create a list of top 10. While we tried various types of coffees, our shared focus was on cappuccinos. However, there are some notable exceptions given previous reviews we read about "signature" coffees at certain coffee bars.
Consequently, this Houston coffee tour opened a door for me. If given the opportunity I will take time to research the highest rated and most unusual coffee bars in a city I will soon be visiting. I will then take a day or two and explore the highest rated coffee bars, evaluating taste, deco, vibe, and service. So far I've evaluated a wide array of coffee bars in the following locations:
Alburquerque, New Mexico
Los Angeles, California
New York, New York
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Orange County, California (primarily Newport Beach)
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Santa Fe, New Mexico
While the lists below are subject to change at any given moment, here are some of my personal rankings.
Favorite Coffee Bars Worldwide...
Favorite Coffee Bars
(1) Caffè Gilli, Piazza della Republica, Florence, Italy
Gilli is the oldest café in Florence (1733): https://caffegilli.com/en/
(2) Rosati, Piazza del Popolo, Rome, Italy: http://www.barrosati.com/
(3) La Dea Bendata Caffè, Vatican City, Rome, Italy: http://www.ladeabendatacaffe.it/
(4) Sur Coffee Corner, Granada, Spain
128 W 72nd St
(between Columbus & Amsterdam): http://boxkitenyc.com/
(5) Blue Bottle Coffee, New York, New York
1 Rockefeller Plaza, Concourse D. But also the Blue Bottle Location in Beverly Hills, CA https://bluebottlecoffee.com/
(6) Elemental Coffee, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: http://elementalcoffee.com/
(7) Kéan Coffee, Newport Beach, California: http://www.keancoffee.com/Info/AboutUs.aspx
(8) Espresso Fino, Albuquerque (downtown), New Mexico: http://espressofinoabq.com/
(9) Antico Caffè Greco, Via Condotti Street, Rome Italy
(Oldest Rome's Coffee Bar): http://www.anticocaffegreco.eu/
(10) Aroma Espresso Bar, Mamilla Mall, Jerusalem, Israel
(just south of Jaffa Gate): https://www.aroma.co.il
(11) Joe Coffee Company, Greenwich Village, New York: https://joecoffeecompany.com/
(12) Halycon in Dallas, Texas (Greenville Avenue) and San Antonio, Texas (South Alamo Street): http://halcyoncoffeebar.com/
(13) Java Jack's, Nacogdoches, Texas: https://www.javajacks.com/
(14) All Bengal Sweet and Coffee House, Houston, Texas
(Located on Hillcroft in Muhatma Gandhi District). Ask for Mysore Coffee. Indian Coffee
Alberquerque, New Mexico:
1. Espresso Fino
2. The Brew
3. Prismatic Coffee
4. Michael Thomas Coffee
5. Flying Star Cafe
If given the opportunity when visiting coffee bars in Santa Fe or even Alberquerque, see if they have sale Whoo's Donuts. If so, then try their blue corn blueberry lavender donut made by Whoo's Donuts (Santa Fe). The best donut I've ever tasted.
1. La Dea Bendata Caffè, Vatican City, Rome (overall)
2. Rosati at Piazza del Popolo (best in taste)
3. Antico Caffe Greco (established in 1760). I love this place!
4. Canova at Piazza del Popolo (across from Rosati).
5. Canova Tadolini (artwork is amazing)
6. Giolitti (excellent for gelato)
But the greatest coffee I've experienced in Italy (and in life) goes to Cafe Gilli in Florence, Italy.
Orange County, California
1. Kean Coffee
2. Portfolio Coffeehouse
3. Portola Coffee Lab
4. Hidden House Coffee (Santa Ana)
5. The Grove (Laguna Beach)
6. Lord Windsor Coffee (Long Beach)
7. Blkdot Coffee
El Paso, Texas:
Top 3 Coffee Bars
1. Bldg 6 Coffee Roasters
2. 2 Ten Coffee Roasters
3. Savage Goods (use coffee from Picacho Coffee Roasters from Las Cruces)
Other notable locations locals know:
1. Elmer's Family Restaurant (historic classic diner)
2. H&H Car Wash & Coffee Shop
3. Joe Vinny & Bronson's Bohemian Cafe
4. L & J Cafe: The Old Place by the Graveyard
1. All Bengal Sweets & India Coffee House (try Mysore coffe; very unique). Very multicultural setting. Doesn't usually open till after 12:00pm.
2. Antidote (try cajeta latte). Also ties with its sister coffee house, namey, Black Hole Coffee House
3. Catalina Cofee (cafe mocha is the best I've ever had).
4. Peli Peli (S. African Fusion cuisine) and Ruggles Black (restaurant). Great attention to detail.
5. Felline Cafe (Rice Village); Italian pastries.
6. Fix Coffee. Consistently amazing coffee but parking can be very difficult.
7. Blendin Coffee Club (Sugar Land)
8. Siphon Coffee
10. Southside Expresso
11. Mercantile Montrose
New York, New York:
1. Box Kite (extraordinary coffee)
2. Blue Bottle
3. Joe Coffee
4. Sey Coffee
5. Swallow Cafe
Over all attention to details:
1. Box Kite
2. Sey Coffee
3. Blue Bottle
Location/aesthetics for studying:
1. Swallow Cafe in Brooklyn
1. Irving Farm Coffee Roasters
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma:
1. Elemental Coffee (overall)
2. Coffee Slingers (best taste)
3. Clarity Coffee
4. Cuppies and Joe (outstanding service; awesome cupcakes)
5. The Red Cup (most unusual coffeehouse)