Guide to the Worlds's Best Coffee Shops (According to Bibliophiles)

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Guide to the Worlds's Best Coffee Shops (According to Bibliophiles)

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ag. 31, 2006, 10:41 am

Let's hear what some of the best coffee shops in the world are (or at least which ones are your favorites) as well as some of your best experiances at said coffee shops and some of the books you read there, if any (phew).

One of my personal faves is Espresso Roma in Eugene, OR. The coffee is so strong it could power a small engine for a number of minutes and the place is a well set up hang out for students. Great place to get some reading done. Who knows how many books I plowed through while sitting there during my college years. A couple of memorable ones include Franz Kafka's Amerika and Voodoo in Haiti by Alfred Metraux.

I'm also fond of the coffee shop in the back of Powell's in Portland. The perfect place to relax and look over your findings after a serious shopping spree.

ag. 31, 2006, 9:14 pm

Coffeezombie, that's a good one. I rarely get to check out coffee shops because I almost always have my kiddos with me. And coffee and my kids do not mix. So, I'm usually in Borders getting iced coffee. That's not the same thing, is it?

Let me think... ah, yes! The last truly memorable experience I had in a coffee shop was in Seattle. No, sadly, I don't recall the name of the place. It's near the market place, what's it called? Pike's Market? Where they throw the fish? This is going back a few years... 2004.

I was in town visiting a friend, so the company was fine, and there were these chocolate filled French pastries. And it was rainy. Of course, Seattle is rainy. Good for a hot drink.

I would love to go back there just to sit, drink the coffee, read and people watch. I need to jump on a plane to get there, tho'. :)

As an aside, Oregon is a beautiful state. I've driven through Eugene, but we didnt' stop at any coffee shops that I recall. I visited family in Asland back in the summer of 1995. They serve up fine Shakespeare down there.


set. 1, 2006, 11:54 am

Great question. If I think back to pre-kids...

The Sting Cafe - Stavanger Norway. Spent most of my time writing there. One of the few places I found in Stavanger where it was easy to meet and talk to people. I remember John Irving was very popular with Norweigens at the time. I didn't get his East Coast humor, not sure what they saw in him.

The Trident - Boulder Colorado. Great place (haven't been there in years). Read a lot of Russian stuff there. Remember sitting outside one afternoon with Solzhenitsyn. A guy set down wanting to talk Sovient pollotics then a 2nd stops by for the same. Turns out one is a Lenonist and the other a Trotskist. I thought punches were about to fly so I excused myself.

Mondos - Moab Utah. Another great place I haven't been to in too long. Used to park my van there in the evenings and mix Vodka with my coffee. Reading? Probably Russian stuff though it's hard to remember.

The Market - Denver Colorado. There was a time I was probably putting in 10 to 15 hours a week there. I'm OK with those days being over.

Macey's (sp?) - Flagstaff Arizona. Very good memories.

Jeremy's - Joshua Tree, California. Probably reading climbing guide books.

My van - somewhere in the South West. With a camp stove and a stove top espresso maker any pullout on a dirt road, strip mall parking lot, or camp site could become an instint coffe shop.

Editat: set. 1, 2006, 8:35 pm

I found it! It's Le Panier Very French Bakery and you can see the same chocolate pastries I enjoyed in the glass case. Yum!

This is a great thread.


set. 5, 2006, 11:57 am

Bean Traders in Durham, NC - A nice locally owned shop by a cute young couple. And free wifi too! There's one in SW Durham, one near Duke University on 9th Street and one location in Chapel Hill.

Editat: set. 12, 2006, 1:36 pm

Okay can I be a vain NYCer? Can we not mention places that are not located in NYC?:P

I was reading an article "On Self" by Susan Sontag in the New York Times, and she went to Cafe Reggio in NYC which I went to recently with a friend...and would not recommend. It was quaint though to bond with Susan since she was in the same room with Simone de Beauvoir.

set. 12, 2006, 9:43 pm

Only NYC? Hmmmm. That is rather... vain. Is the City known for its coffee?

Editat: set. 19, 2006, 1:13 pm

I don't know about it being the one of the world's best, but my favorite place for coffee is Small World Coffee, Witherspoon branch.

I've spent many an hour there drinking coffee, reading, talking, and staring out the front window.

set. 25, 2006, 5:27 pm

Oh I was only being facetious about NYC coffee shops--if it is not in NYC I cannot get to it!:(

But I might be able to get to Princeton!:D

set. 25, 2006, 6:47 pm

Ohhh the memories of Tryst In Washington DC!!

set. 28, 2006, 11:42 am

I can see that I am going to begin to travel for coffee!

oct. 15, 2006, 1:11 pm

I love this thread.. and Tryst is seconded.

For those who make it out that way, the Spider House in Austin, Texas. I don't really know how to describe it.. the last bastion of the Austin Renaissance; an amazing confluence of books, coffee (perfect, always), the typical Austin crowd (suits, bums, hippies, students, punks, cowboys, philosophers, politicians, and anyone else who might care to show up and 'set a spell'), vegetarian chili, and a patio under live oaks filled with conversation never idle. You really have to experience it.

13dianegreco Primer missatge
oct. 19, 2006, 9:10 pm

Coffee Exchange, Wickenden Street, Providence RI. Great vibe.

Ozzie's on 7th Ave., Park Slope, Brooklyn. Again, great vibe - recycled old pharmacy equipment, too.

Editat: nov. 10, 2006, 12:28 am

Good coffee places in Rochester Ny seem to come and go, but I like the ambiance of Boulder Coffee. Good selection of teas and snacks. The outdoor patio is enclosed with an almost Zen like garden quality which I found unusual on a heavily trafficked city corner. I read some e.e. cummings and a few books I'd rather not mention.

Best coffee, though, well, that'd be Gimme Coffee in Ithaca, NY. I haven't been there personally, but a barista friend who worked there came to visit and made us lattes in the European style and introduced me to latte art for the first time. A few of their baristas have qualified for international level competitions in coffee preparation and presentation. They take java very seriously at Gimme.

Any Ithaca LT's ever want a biblio-buddy to join them on a Gimme excursion, drop me an email, please!

nov. 10, 2006, 4:20 am

Anyone got any recommendations for a UK coffee shop. I acknowledge we just dont 'do' coffee as well as other areas of the world, but it would be nice to be proved wrong just once.

nov. 10, 2006, 8:54 am

I can heartily recommend The Elephant House in Edinburgh:
Warm and cosy on winter days, bright and airy in the summertime. A great variety of food and beverages too. I believe it was here that Harry Potter was born - JK used to hang out here while plotting the adventures of her soon-to-be world famous creation.

17melperez Primer missatge
nov. 13, 2006, 2:59 pm

Milwaukee, Wisconsin has a surprising concentration of really amazing coffee shops. They shouldn't be known just for brewing beer since there are also a few impressive roasters in the area as well!

There are lots of small cozy/quirky ones like Fuel Cafe or Comet Cafe.

My favorite place to go for my daily Americano(s), hands down, is Stone Creek Coffee. Consistently amazing and unpretentious.

Editat: nov. 13, 2006, 3:07 pm

Oh...I'm just getting back into the whole coffee shop thing. A place I have spent a lot of time in is Bonngout at Bonn's flower market, right in the city. They have homemade cake, you can lunch there, sit outside and watch people.

THE student coffee shop is Café Blau next to the university main building. It's super cheap, always stuffed with more or less interesting people, and their salad plates are awsome.

P.S. I'm talking about Bonn in Germany, BTW.

nov. 14, 2006, 9:39 am

The Hungarian Pastry Shop in NYC is incredible. It's quiet and a great place to write (watch out for wannabe writer's, though-- there are a few people with laptops who pretend to write,but really are trying to get attention). I strongly recommend their apple strudel.

nov. 14, 2006, 4:14 pm

Koffi on Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, California is great... small but with an enclosed courtyard behind with movable seating in the midst of a garden; the best part is the diversity of the people who hang out there, with all ages and backgrounds and relatively few people staring at laptops (a very unsocial activity, if you ask me)

nov. 14, 2006, 4:32 pm

There's a rather lovely little coffee shop in Fore Street, Holsworthy in Devon. Gorgeous coffee and a good selection of cakes mid-afternoon- I get the impression it's run by people who've retired from London and are doing it for the enjoyment so are happy as long as they cover their costs.

nov. 15, 2006, 8:22 pm

Does anyone know where I can get a good Americano in Ann Arbor, Michigan (besides the "ok" options of Espresso Royale or Star Bucks)? I would love you to death!

març 8, 2007, 3:26 pm

Not a coffee shop, and not that much suited to writing or even reading, but a wonderful place to relax, sip some hot, flavoured tea and have the best conversation: the traditional Persian teahouse "Derwisch" in Cologne. Besides of the enervating Arabic pop music the owner seems to love recently, it reminded me of Tehran.

març 9, 2007, 6:04 pm

When I lived in Durham 9th street bakery was the place to get coffee. Is is still around?

(When I was in grad school, one winter we decided we could save on money, so we didnt heat our duplex during the day. I would go study at 9th street. One day one of the barristas came to me and said he noticed I was here a lot, and just when I was expecting him to tell me I needed to order food or something, he said, "DO you need to take calls here or anything? We could do that for you.")

març 17, 2007, 8:56 am

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Near the center of the old town is a large public plaza, Plaza de Armas, with fountains and statues and two kiosks. The larger kiosk, on the northwest corner of the plaza serves the best cafe con leche. They only use native grown Puerto Rican coffee. In face, until recently, coffee shops were only allowed to sell Puerto Rican coffee. Not sure if there's any Starbucks elsewhere on the island now, but there aren't any in Old San Juan.

We would stop at the kiosk for coffee and sweets in the afternoon and early evening. I believe it's even mentioned in Fodor's Puerto Rico.

Locally, though not a coffeeshop but a restaurant, the Vietnamese coffee at Mo Pho in Fort Lee, New Jersey was amazing.

abr. 1, 2007, 2:20 pm

Cafe du Monde, New Orleans

oct. 2, 2007, 12:02 am

In NYC I really liked finding a good coffee cart. Some of the Afghanis make great regular coffee. I think they brew it twice. Its hard to read in a coffee cart though, unless you're the proprietor.

Editat: oct. 22, 2007, 12:24 pm

Seconding Cafe du Monde. I don't buy coffee in stores (because it often is disgusting), unless I'm at Cafe du Monde, and then I get a nice cafe au lait and some beignets. *sigh*...

Editat: nov. 3, 2007, 1:04 pm

Dunn Bros. Coffee in downtown Nashville.

Great space, a couple of cozy soft seating areas to snuggle up with your favorite book and 'cuppa Joe as well as larger areas to accomodate bigger gatherings. Local art displayed throughout the shop (displays change every couple of months) and they offer a live entertainment schedule which includes local musical talent, poetry readings, storytellers, etc.

They also offer free Wi-Fi, two computer stations and a restored upright piano on the small stage. It's not unusual for musicians to ask if they can play it, and the answer is always yes.

They roast on-site so the aroma when you walk in is to die for. The coffee, always fresh - if you're visiting downtown Nashville check it out. The shop is located in the historic L & C Tower on the corner of 4th and Church, about 3 blocks away from the Nashville Public Library.

nov. 1, 2007, 6:44 am

Second The Elephant House - it's a great place, and well suited for reading. I think Scotland (well, Edinburgh and Glasgow anyway) do coffee much better than we do down South - something to do with their sensible licensing legislation, I understand...

My favourite place in London is probably Flat White on Berwick St, although I feel that it's more somewhere to flick through glossy magazines than settle down with a thick book. Otherwise, Monmouth Coffee Company in Borough Market.

But in general, there aren't enough places in London where you can sit quietly with a book over a coffee... so I'd appreciate any more suggestions!

Editat: des. 7, 2007, 8:46 pm

Aquest missatge ha estat suprimit pel seu autor.

gen. 10, 2008, 11:39 am

The great old coffee houses in New Orleans are pretty much gone.

Rue De La Course is the best chain there. They used to have a giant, lovely place on Magazine street, but the owner of the building refused to renew their lease about 3 years ago, then let one of his friends put a (crappy) coffee house in! So RdlC moved to a smaller location across the street. There are many of them uptown.

There is a lovely coffee shop at Magazine St. and Nashville called Bella Luna. They have a beautiful old mansion where you can sit out on the old wooden porch. They have blue sky and clouds painted in the ceiling of the outside porch.

My other favorite place is up on Oak St in Riverbend.
It's called Z'otz. Great coffee, great Art.

Still Perkin' at Prytania & (4th Street?) has a lovely outdoor deck for reading the paper.

CC's (Community Coffee) and PJ's are also near & dear to my heart.

Kaldi's down in the quarter was awesome, also couldn't afford skyrocketing rent.

Cafe du Monde is a stinking joke of a tourist trap.
The coffee is disgusting and the one in the quarter has never been cleaned. It was sold to a Japanese family decades ago. There is one in the French quarter, there are 4 more in the closest malls and there are 17 of them in Japan. I really hasn't been worth crap in 100 years. If you want good coffee & chikory, go to any restaurant owned by the Brennans.


oct. 24, 2009, 11:41 am

I like Balzac's Coffee House in Toronto because of the bookish allusion (coffee is great too)

My favorite for reading in Ottawa is the Bridgehead on Bank Street (no loud music and comfortable chairs) although I will go to Timothy's around the city: cozy and quiet.

Editat: gen. 11, 2010, 9:37 pm

If anyone is ever near Greensburg, PA (which doesn't happen often, I suppose haha) The Coffee Bean is a great choice. Their coffee shop serves wonderful coffee, EXCELLENT sandwiches (especially the Old Bean) and it's a nice open space with plenty of seating for those who would rather not sit right on top of each other while trying to read.

*edit* oh and The American Coffeehouse is in Greensburg too which is much more homey and downtown (also serves great coffee and pastries) but it's extremely small, which can be bothersome on popular nights.

jul. 10, 2010, 12:59 am

New Zealand New Zealand New Zealand, and my city (Christchurch) has the most cafes per head of population in the whole of our small country.

Coffee Corner in the Arts Centre - never had a bad coffee from there, and if you go upstairs you get to look out over the market place (on the weekend) and the tram tracks, and you can see the amazing art gallery as well. People dont know you can sit up there so its often quiet for reading. I have not found another cafe that is so consistently good. I am a person who will not go back to a cafe once I've been served a stinker of a coffee! I figure you can be discerning when you're paying $4.50 a pop.

jul. 10, 2010, 1:00 am

PS Im now planning a trip of the US based on the above coffee places! Wouldn't that be great! (Dreams are free)