The 10 Best Cities for Coffee Snobs

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The 10 Best Cities for Coffee Snobs

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For the 61 percent of Americans who have at least one cup of coffee a day, today is your day: National Coffee Day. Plenty of national chains are serving up free cups of joe on this ultra-caffeinated holiday, but many believe that not all coffee is created equal. For some coffee lovers, only “indie” or independently owned, high-end coffee shops will do. To help these discerning coffee addicts, Redfin and Foursquare joined forces to track down the 10 best cities for coffee snobs.

We selected these cities because they have the most indie coffee shops per capita, according to Foursquare data. (We defined indie coffee shops as those with fewer than 10 retail locations.) We also found the highest rated shop in the metro area and tracked down the ZIP code with the most independent cafes. And, in case you want to move somewhere you can get a quick fix, we calculated the median home price in the ZIP code with the most independent cafes and, just for fun, translated that median home price into lattes (using $4 as the average latte price). So put on your best skinny jeans, pack your eco-friendly mug and get ready to satisfy your coffee craving!

10 best cities for coffee snobs

1. Seattle, WA Metro Area*

  • Highest Rated Indie Coffee Shop: Milstead & Co.
  • ZIP Code with the Most Indie Coffee Shops Per Capita: 98103 (Wallingford, Fremont, Phinney Ridge and Greenwood)
  • Median Home Price in 98103: $480,000 (120,000 lattes)

“Seattle is definitely a city of coffee snobs,” said Ben Hitchins, a local Redfin real estate agent. “It’s just part of the culture. People here value authenticity, even when it comes to the ingredients of their lattes. They want the artisan, hand-crafted experience.”

*The Seattle metro area includes Seattle, Bellevue and Tacoma

2. Portland, OR Metro Area*

  • Highest Rated Indie Coffee Shop: Stumptown Coffee Roasters
  • ZIP Code with the Most Indie Coffee Shops Per Capita: 97214 (Southeast Portland (Buckman, Sunnyside and Belmont)
  • Median Home Price in 97214: $428,500 (107,125 lattes)

“People in Portland really do care about eating local, and that feeling extends to coffee shops,” said Wayne Olson, a local Redfin real estate agent. “The feeling extends to coffee shops, especially in southeast Portland, which is considered the fun and funky area. Stumptown is one of the largest roasters in Portland. If you go to an independent coffee shop and they don’t roast their own beans; there’s a good chance they’re using Stumptown.”

*The Portland metro area includes Portland, Vancouver and Hillsboro

3. Boulder, CO Metro Area

  • Highest Rated Indie Coffee Shop: Boxcar Coffee Roasters
  • ZIP Code with the Most Indie Coffee Shops Per Capita: 80302 (Downtown Boulder)
  • Median Home Price in 80302: $599,000 (149,750 lattes)

“It doesn’t surprise me that Boulder made the list,” said Paul Stone, a local Redfin real estate agent. “It seems like every street has its own coffee shop here, and people are very knowledgeable about the different kinds of beans and roasts. There’s even a bike tour that stops at coffee roasters along the way.”

4. San Francisco, CA Metro Area*

  • Highest Rated Indie Coffee Shop: Blue Bottle Coffee
  • ZIP Code with the Most Indie Coffee Shops Per Capita: 94103 (Downtown San Francisco)
  • Median Home Price in 94103: $810,000 (202,500 lattes)

“San Francisco residents love their coffee and many are self-proclaimed coffee snobs,” said Davis Pemstein, a local Redfin real estate agent. “Perhaps it’s an effect of the startup culture, but people in San Francisco definitely prefer small independent coffee shops; it’s widely known that Blue Bottle is one of the best coffee shops in the area and Philz is another trendy spot for grabbing a good brew in SOMA (South of the Market).”

*The San Francisco metro area includes San Francisco, Oakland and Fremont

5. Denver, CO Metro Area*

  • Highest Rated Indie Coffee Shop: Crema Coffee House
  • ZIP Code with the Most Indie Coffee Shops Per Capita: 80202 (Downtown Denver)
  • Median Home Price in 80202: $400,000 (100,000 lattes)

“In Denver it’s all about the atmosphere, not just the beverage,” said Karla Kirkpatrick Adams, a local Redfin real estate agent. “People like to go where there’s great décor, music and food. I often meet clients at local coffee shops because they have a very casual and relaxing ambience.There’s one local shop that I go to all the time; they know my name there and ask me how my day is going. I often see familiar faces…it’s like ‘Cheers,’ where everybody knows your name.”

*The Denver metro area includes Denver, Aurora and Broomfield

6. San Diego, CA Metro Area*

  • Highest Rated Indie Coffee Shop: Better Buzz Coffee
  • ZIP Code with the Most Indie Coffee Shops Per Capita: 92101 (Downtown San Diego)
  • Median Home Price in 92101: $450,000 (112,500 lattes)

“San Diego is known for being the epicenter of microbrew beers but we don’t limit the microbrewing to just the beer,” said Jordan Clarke, a local Redfin real estate agent. “We like to also brew our coffee locally and in small batches to maximize perfection. Better Buzz Coffee is the most well-known local coffee roaster, though there are many other local indie producers that attract a crowd, from Café Moto located just south of downtown, to Café Calabria in North Park to the Bird Rock Coffee Roasters in La Jolla. Other local must-haves in a coffee shop include a dog-friendly patio, eco-friendly options and most importantly a good selection of iced coffees; after all it is summer year-round here.”

*The San Diego metro area includes San Diego, Carlsbad and San Marcos

7. Madison, WI Metro Area

  • Highest Rated Indie Coffee Shop: Crema Cafe
  • ZIP Code with the Most Indie Coffee Shops Per Capita: 53703 (Downtown Madison)
  • Median Home Price in 53703: $279,000 (69,750 lattes)

“Madison residents love to support local trade,” said Brian Callahan, a local Redfin real estate agent. “The city has one of the largest farmers markets in the country, and there’s a huge emphasis on local and organic food. Many people prefer indie coffee shops because of the individuality of the shop and the coffee; they don’t want the same experience everywhere. The University of Wisconsin is in the downtown area, which is probably why there are so many coffee shops there. You’ll often see people using the shops as a second office or a place to study. One of my favorites in the downtown area is Johnson Public House.”

8. Austin, TX Metro Area*

  • Highest Rated Indie Coffee Shop: Mozart’s Coffee Roasters
  • ZIP Code with the Most Indie Coffee Shops Per Capita: 78704 (Zilker, Barton Hills, South River City and South Congress)
  • Median Home Price in 78704: $397,200 (99,300 lattes)

“Mozart’s Coffee is the perfect spot to grab a coffee and a pastry, day or night,” said Yvette Evans, a local Redfin real estate agent. “With its perfect location on Lake Austin, it is beautiful all day long. Epoch Coffee is another favorite and is geared for the technically savvy: With extension cords hanging from the ceiling, it is a great spot to grab a cup of coffee and plug in.”

*The Austin metro area includes Austin, Round Rock and San Marcos

9. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN Metro Area*

  • Highest Rated Indie Coffee Shop: Peace Coffee Shop
  • ZIP Code with the Most Indie Coffee Shops Per Capita: 55102 (Downtown St. Paul)
  • Median Home Price in 55102: $165,000 (41,250 lattes)

“There is a huge coffee culture in the Twin Cities,” said Chris Prescott, a local Redfin real estate agent. “In fact, every week we hold our team meeting in different local coffee shops. I am also not surprised that St. Paul has a lot of indie coffee shops per capita; it is a very walkable city with a lot to do! With the Ordway, Xcel Energy Center, the Science Museum, the state capital and a ton of shops along Grand Avenue, you can find a coffee shop on practically every corner.”

*The Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area includes Minneapolis, St. Paul and Bloomington

10. Sacramento, CA Metro Area*

  • Highest Rated Indie Coffee Shop: Insight Coffee Roasters
  • ZIP Code with the Most Indie Coffee Shops Per Capita: 95814  (Downtown Sacramento)
  • Median Home Price in 95814: $309,750 (77,437.5 lattes)

“Sacramento’s midtown area has a thriving coffee culture,” said Jed Setzer, a local Redfin real estate agent. “We have a lot of independent coffee houses, many of which also roast their own coffee. One big favorite is Old Soul Co., which roasts their own coffee beans. People love indie coffee shops because they represent the identity of the community. There is also a love for the artisan touch that is always found at indie coffee shops and the use of fair trade coffee beans.”

*The Sacramento metro area includes Sacramento, Arden, Arcade and Roseville

Methodology
For this report, Foursquare evaluated 38 major metropolitan areas to come up with the 10 that have the most independently owned coffee shops per capita, then found one ZIP code in each area with the highest concentration. We excluded from the data all “chain” coffee shops, those with more than 10 locations. Redfin pulled sales information for the past year to find the median sale price of homes in each of the 10 ZIP codes, then translated that median price to lattes using $4 as the average latte price. To find the highest-rated indie cafe in each metro area, we used Foursquare’s rating system. Foursquare ratings are numbers, not stars, and take a bunch of different things into account, such as likes, dislikes, popularity, loyalty, local expertise and user tips.

What’s your favorite coffee shop? Did your city make the list? Tell us on Facebook, Twitter, G+, Instagram or in the comments below. #RedfinLovesCoffee

 

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