The Best Coffee Cities in America: 2022 Data

Taelor Candiloro

By 

Taelor Candiloro

March 17th, 2022
Updated March 17th, 2022

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An illustration of a barista standing behind a coffee shop counter that is stocked with pastries and beverages.

☕ Which U.S. city has the most coffee shops per capita?
Portland, Ore., has the most cafes, averaging 27 per 100,000 people. That's a latte coffee shops!

Best Coffee Cities, Ranked | Top 15 Coffee Cities | Best (and Worst) Coffee City Statistics | 10 Worst Coffee Cities | FAQ

Ever since the Boston Tea Party prompted a switch from leaves to beans, the United States has been running on coffee like it's our patriotic duty.[1]

Americans drink roughly 656 million cups of coffee per day — in fact, U.S. adults reported drinking more coffee than bottled water last year.[2][3]

As cities gradually lifted COVID restrictions, out-of-home coffee consumption has increased 16% since January 2021, marking a near return to pre-pandemic levels.[2] But with global shortages driving the price-per-pound of coffee to highs we haven't seen since 2011, it's a good time to decipher where coffee-lovers can get the best brew for their buck.[4]

To find out, we analyzed publicly available data from the U.S. Census, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Numbeo, Google Trends, National Coffee Association, and Database USA to rank the 50 most populous metro areas in the U.S. from the best to the worst cities for coffee.

Our weighted rankings evaluated various criteria including:

  • 3x: The average price of a cappuccino in each city.
  • 2x: The average number of coffee shops per capita in each metro.
  • 1x: The number of coffee shops per square mile in each metro.
  • 1x: What percentage of their income locals are willing to spend on a daily weekday cup.
  • 1x: The Google search trends for coffee-related terms in each metro.

Our rankings consider two measures of affordability. Metros with an affordable cost of living encourage residents to open shops and try new ideas with lower risk. However, higher-than-average prices for a cup of coffee reflect just how much the locals value a quality cup.

Read on to learn if your city tops the list — or if it's one of the bitter dregs coffee-lovers should avoid.

Best Coffee Cities Stats ☕

  • Milwaukee is the coffee capital of the U.S., serving up the perfect blend of passionate coffee culture and affordability. Jump to section👇
    • The average cappuccino only costs $3.56 in Milwaukee, where residents spend 1.5% of their annual income on their weekday cup.
  • Overall, coffee lovers should flock North and West — 6 of the top 15 cities for coffee (40%) are on the West Coast, while a whopping 10 (67%) are located North and Northeast.
  • The worst coffee city is Virginia Beach, Va., with just 8 coffee shops per 100,000 residents and only 33% as many Google searches for coffee over the last year compared to the most passionate metros. 👇
    • Coffee lovers in Virginia Beach need to have deep pockets: A daily cappuccino costs $5.39 and would set them back $1,401 (or 2.6% of their annual income) if they purchased one every weekday for a year.
  • The 15 best coffee cities have an average of 18 coffee shops per 100,000 people – 5 more than the national average of 13. 👇
    • Louisville, Ky., Salt Lake City, Memphis, Tenn., Birmingham, Ala., and Riverside, Calif., all have over 40 square miles between coffee shops.
    • A total of 14 metros have fewer than 10 cafes per 100,000 people — and Memphis has just 6 cafes per capita.
  • On average, a daily cappuccino would cost residents in the top 15 cities approximately 1.6% of their annual income.
    • After Milwaukee, standout cities for affordable coffee include Buffalo, N.Y. ($3.67), and Cincinnati, Ohio ($3.72). 👇
    • Only five cities promise to keep your annual coffee expenditures below $1,000: Milwaukee ($926), Buffalo ($954), Cincinnati ($967), Riverside, Calif. ($985), and Indianapolis ($988).
  • Coffee lovers in Portland, Ore., Seattle, and Austin, Texas, are most likely to be searching for the perfect cup of joe: They have the highest rates of Google searches for the term "coffee." 👇
    • Portlanders search the most often for coffee shops near them.
  • The average cappuccino across the U.S. costs $4.36, which adds up to $1,134 for people who drink coffee once per weekday — 1.9% of the average annual income ($62,215).[5]

The 50 Best Coffee Cities, Ranked

Based on the numbers, coffee-lovers should flock north and west. Our top cities in almost every metric are found on the West Coast, around the Great Lakes, and in New England.

Rank
City
Avg. Coffee Price*
Avg. Annual Cost**
% of Annual Income**
Coffee Shops per Capita
Sq. Mi. Btwn. Coffee Shops
-
National Average
$4.36
$1,134
1.9%
13
18
1
Milwaukee, WI
$3.56
$926
1.5%
12
7
2
Portland, OR
$4.30
$1,118
1.8%
27
10
3
San Francisco, CA
$4.72
$1,209
1.0%
23
2
4
Buffalo, NY
$3.67
$954
1.7%
20
7
5
Providence, RI
$4.12
$1,071
1.8%
23
4
6
Boston, MA
$4.56
$1,186
1.4%
22
3
7
Cincinnati, OH
$3.72
$967
1.6%
11
17
8
Pittsburgh, PA
$3.96
$1,030
1.6%
16
14
9
Seattle, WA
$5.06
$1,316
1.6%
27
5
10
Hartford, CT
$4.50
$1,170
1.7%
21
6
11
Riverside, CA
$3.79
$985
2.2%
9
68
12
San Diego, CA
$4.46
$1,160
1.7%
15
8
13
Philadelphia, PA
$4.38
$1,139
1.6%
16
5
14
San Jose, CA
$4.65
$1,227
1.1%
16
9
15
Indianapolis, IN
$3.80
$988
1.6%
8
23
16
16. Chicago, IL
$4.25
$1,105
1.6%
13
6
17
New York, NY
$4.96
$1,290
1.6%
16
2
18
Columbus, OH
$4.09
$1,063
1.9%
13
14
19
Los Angeles, CA
$4.78
$1,243
1.8%
14
3
20
Cleveland, OH
$4.23
$1,100
1.9%
13
8
21
Minneapolis, MN
$4.50
$1,170
1.7%
15
11
22
Oklahoma City, OK
$3.94
$1,024
1.9%
10
40
23
Houston, TX
$4.03
$1,048
1.7%
10
13
24
Baltimore, MD
$4.11
$1,069
1.6%
11
9
25
Denver, CO
$4.70
$1,222
1.8%
16
18
26
New Orleans, LA
$4.32
$1,123
1.9%
14
17
27
Tampa, FL
$4.36
$1,134
2.2%
14
5
28
Austin, TX
$4.56
$1,186
1.8%
10
18
29
Raleigh, NC
$4.29
$1,115
1.8%
9
16
30
Sacramento, CA
$4.51
$1,173
1.9%
15
14
31
San Antonio, TX
$4.17
$1,084
2.2%
8
33
32
Miami, FL
$4.59
$1,193
1.9%
12
7
33
Washington, DC
$4.78
$1,243
1.6%
13
7
34
Kansas City, MO
$4.52
$1,175
2.0%
10
35
35
Salt Lake City, UT
$4.65
$1,209
2.1%
16
49
36
Charlotte, NC
$4.48
$1,165
2.1%
9
13
37
Orlando, FL
$4.59
$1,193
2.5%
11
12
38
Atlanta, GA
$4.59
$1,193
2.0%
8
16
39
Detroit, MI
$4.75
$1,235
2.1%
11
8
40
Dallas, TX
$4.77
$1,240
2.0%
9
12
41
St. Louis, MO
$4.69
$1,219
2.0%
8
38
42
Jacksonville, FL
$4.62
$1,201
2.2%
10
19
43
Nashville, TN
$5.04
$1,310
2.1%
13
23
44
Phoenix, AZ
$4.80
$1,248
2.4%
11
27
45
Richmond, VA
$4.94
$1,284
2.1%
12
38
46
Las Vegas, NV
$4.98
$1,295
2.5%
9
36
47
Birmingham, AL
$4.86
$1,264
2.3%
9
57
48
Louisville, KY
$4.83
$1,256
2.3%
8
42
49
Memphis, TN
$4.69
$1,219
2.4%
6
53
50
Virginia Beach, VA
$5.39
$1,401
2.6%
12
13
*Refers to the average cappuccino price in each metro.
**Based on one coffee per weekday.

The 15 Best Coffee Cities

Illustration of a street lined with various shops and cafes.

Our 15 best coffee cities in the U.S. are pros at providing a delicious caffeine boost at an affordable price-point. That's why you'll find value-conscious cities such as Milwaukee and Buffalo, N.Y., alongside famous coffee haunts such as Portland, Ore., and Seattle in our top rankings.

Ultimately, we found that the top 15 cities have:

  • More variety: There is an average of 18 cafes per capita in our top 15 cities – about 1.4 times as many as the average U.S. metro area (13).
  • Better prices: Patrons in our top 15 cities pay an average of $4.22 for one cappuccino and spend about 1.6% (or $1,096) of their annual income on coffee – significantly less than the national average of $4.47 per cup, costing about 1.9% or ($1,163) of the average national income.

Want to know how much your daily to-go cup is costing you in any of the top 50 metro areas? Plug your info into the calculator below to find out! 👇

1. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

⭐ Best Bargain Brews

Milwaukee coffee shops offer the best prices for a cappuccino at just $3.56 – 22% less than the national average.

Milwaukee is the best at balancing affordable brews with a growing coffee scene. The area's affordable cost of living provides Milwaukee cafe owners the flexibility they need to create a unique experience for cafe-goers. Plus, there are plenty of opportunities for new faces to break into the specialty coffee scene, making it America's best coffee city.

With prices well below the national average, Milwaukeeans can get their caffeine fix daily while only shelling out $926 per year for their coffee, or 1.5% of their annual income — one of only 5 cities where the cost comes in at under $1,000.

2. Portland, Oregon

☕ Most Coffee Shops per Capita

It's no surprise that Portland is the most passionate coffee city. Not only is the City of Roses home to the most cafes per capita (27), but its residents also search for the term "coffee" more frequently than any other city.

Since local coffee giants such as Stumptown and Water Avenue claimed the city in the late '90s and 2000s, Portland has been keeping it undeniably weird and wired, housing a dizzying density of 27 coffee shops, houses, cafes, and roasters per capita — significantly higher than the national average of 13.

At an average of $4.30 per cappuccino, Portland still manages to keep its prices slightly lower than the national average of $4.36 – even as the cost of living continues to increase. With affordable coffee prices and so many options, Portland is a great spot to try tons of different blends and brews.

3. San Francisco, California

❤️ Passionate Pours

The Bay Area ranks #2 for the most passionate coffee city in the U.S. and #1 for the cost of a cappuccino as a percentage of income. The average San Franciscan only spends around 1% of their annual income (or $1,209) on their daily cup of coffee.

Affordable coffee is fueling the Bay Area's persistent and continual innovation.[6] Startups sometimes live and die (or are bought and sold) to the sound of a Mahlkönig grinder and the smell of single origin.

San Francisco offers a coffee shop roughly every 2 square miles and has 23 cafes and coffee hangouts per capita. The sheer volume of coffee options combined with high local Google search volume for coffee-related terms makes the Bay Area a passionate coffee corner of the U.S.

4. Buffalo, New York

🔥 Savings and Espresso

Among our list, Buffalo comes in second place for the most affordable cappuccino ($3.67) and seventh place for coffee shops per square mile (about one cafe every 7 square miles).

Buffalo is a natural blend of variety and affordability and a great city for coffee-lovers who want to shelter from biting Northeastern winters with a warm cup-o-joe.

Buffalo is home to 20 coffee shops per capita, showcasing a variety of stops and shops for coffee connoisseurs. There's a lot to choose from here, and a daily cappuccino won't break the bank: Buffalonians only need to worry about spending $954 per year on their daily cup of coffee.

5. Providence, Rhode Island

🎯 Plenty of Options

The "Creative Capital" is pour-fectly balanced, ranking #3 for most coffee shops per capita (23) and #5 for coffee shops per square mile (a coffee shop every 4 square miles).

Rhode Island might be the smallest state, but they're brewing big! Visitors to Providence can expect to find a coffee shop every 4 square miles, as it's home to about 23 cafes per capita.

Although Providence's average cappuccino price ($4.12) is closer to the national average ($4.36) than some other cities, you'll get the best brew the city has to offer for your buck – in the "Creative Capital," folks only spend around $1,071 per year on their weekday pick-me-up, compared to $1,134 nationally.

6. Boston, Massachusetts

✨ A Brew-tiful Balance

Boston ranks #3 for a daily cappuccino as a percentage of income (1.4%) and #5 in shops per capita (22).

Boston is home to a plethora of strong coffee options, including the Massachusetts original: Dunkin' Donuts!

In addition to having strong variety, though, this city offers relatively affordable average prices at around $4.56 per cappuccino. Bostonians who get their fix every weekday only spend around 1.4% of their annual income on coffee, or about $1,186 per year.

7. Cincinnati, Ohio

💸 More Brews for Your Buck

With cappuccino prices at a friendly $3.72 per cup, caffeine-consumed Cincinnatians are only spending 1.6% (or $967) of their annual income on coffee.

Home to the first professional baseball team in the U.S., the Cincinnati Red Stockings, it's clear Cincinnati came to play.[7] Although there is only an average of 11 cafes per capita in "Queen City," you can be sure to find the pour-fect cup at any one of them.

Known for hosting the largest Oktoberfest in the country, it's clear that Cincinnati pulls no punches when it comes to craft beverages, beer and coffee alike.[8]

8. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

💪 The Underdog

Pittsburgh ranks #5 for most affordable overall cities when looking at the average price of cappuccinos ($3.96) and how much locals spend every year on coffee ($1,030).

The "Steel City" is home to about 16 coffee shops for every 100,000 people and is where locals are more interested in Googling the perfect cappuccino than 48% of the other cities on our list, and not surprisingly.

Per-cup prices for cappuccinos are a bit lower in Pittsburgh than some other locales, with the average coffee-lover only spending about 1.6% (or $1,030) of their yearly income on a weekday coffee – the same for folks living in coffee giant Seattle.

9. Seattle, Washington

☕ The Mocha Coffee History in the U.S.

Seattle is the home city of specialty coffee in the U.S. and ranks #2 for the most coffee shops per capita (27).

Seattle is where latte art was first developed in the '80s and '90s and is home to the first Starbucks location in Pike Place Market. It's safe to say that Seattle is where the U.S. specialty coffee scene finds its roots.

With 27 cafes per capita to choose from, Seattle is definitely a must-stop for coffee lovers. Although Seattle coffee doesn't come cheap, decades of collective coffee wisdom are brewed into every $5.06 cappuccino. And, even at these prices, a daily cappuccino in Seattle only sets the average local back $1,316 per year – just 1.6% of their annual income, well under the national average of 1.9%.

10. Hartford, Connecticut

🥊 Punching Above Its Weight

With around 21 shops per capita, this smaller locale holds its own alongside other coffee cities.

Gilmore Girls put Connecticut on the coffee map, and the state has held its own since. Hartford's baseball team may play at Dunkin' Donuts Park, but the city definitely runs on more than common coffee brands.[9]

At $4.50 per cup, it's clear that Hartford values quality over quantity, and residents are consistently Googling for the best cappuccino spots more often than 78% of other cities in our top 50.

11. Riverside, California

🤑 Quality Coffee on a College Budget

Riverside ranks #4 for the cheapest cappuccino ($3.79), making it the best place for students and citizens alike to sit, sip, and study.

Cafes near the University of California, Riverside, are used to pulling the perfect shot to complement an afternoon study session.

Although home to a mere 9 coffee shops per capita, a weekday Riverside pick-me-up puts locals out only $985 per year – 15% less than the national average spending on daily brews ($1,163).

12. San Diego, California

💰 Brewing Up Business

San Diego ties with Portland for #2 in Google searches for coffee-related terms, indicating lots of booming business.

With a whopping 15 coffee shops and cafes per capita, San Diego ranks #2 for interest in the Google search term "latte," showing that this coastal California city has tons of caffeine-thusiasm. Known for its pristine beaches and beautiful weather, San Diego is the best place to go for a sandy stroll, latte in hand.

Just 10 cents above the national average, cappuccino prices put San Diegans out 1.8% of their annual income if they're serious about shopping for a caffeine fix every weekday.

13. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

☕ A Latte Coffee Shops

Philly is home to approximately 16 cafes per capita – with roughly 1.6 million people, that's around 257 shops!

The City of Brotherly Love is certainly serving up some lovely joe and espresso. Philly has seen a marked increase in the number of coffee offerings in the past few years and currently houses around 16 shops per capita.

Even with higher-than-average prices per cup ($4.38), Philadelphia still has locals spending only 1.6% of their annual income, or $1,139, on their daily cup-o-joe. It's clear that Philly isn't just serving up quantity but quality as well.

14. San Jose, California

🚀 Fueling the Tech Industry

San Jose ranks as the #2 city for affordable coffee as a percentage of annual income — 1.1%, compared to the national average of 1.9%.

As the capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose has seen decades of innovation build the perfect foundation for third-wave coffee to take root. With prices almost 30 cents higher than the national average at $4.65, there's no doubt coders and engineers are enjoying quality red eyes on late nights.

But although the prices might be higher in San Jose, residents are only spending about 1% of their annual income on their daily dose of coffee — nearly half the national average of 1.9%.

15. Indianapolis, Indiana

⚡ A Budget Buzz

A hidden gem, Indianapolis ranks #4 for the most affordable coffee city overall, with a cappuccino setting locals back just $988 per year (compared to the national average of $1,134).

At just $3.80 per cappuccino, residents of Indianapolis can expect a great cup of coffee at 56 cents less than the national average ($4.36). Home to around 8 cafes per capita, residents here only spend around $988 a year on their daily coffee fix. As for industry passion, Indianapolis has its own comprehensive coffee resource, the Indianapolis Coffee Guide, for folks looking for a local caffeine buzz.[10]

Data Details: Top 5 Rankings by Category

When we analyzed the data by specific ranking factors, we discovered some hidden gems among America's best coffee cities.

5 Best Coffee Cities
5 Worst Coffee Cities
List of the top 5 most affordable coffee cities.
List of the top 5 least affordable coffee cities.
List of the top 5 most passionate coffee cities.
List of the top 5 least passionate coffee cities.
List of the top 5 cheapest coffee cities.
List of the top 5 most expensive coffee cities.
List of the top 5 best coffee cities based on google search trends.
List of the top 5 worst coffee cities based on google search trends.
List of the top 5 best coffee cities based on coffee shops per capita.
List of the top 5 worst coffee cities based on coffee shops per capita.
List of the top 5 best coffee cities based on percentage of income spent on coffee.
List of the top 5 worst coffee cities based on percentage of income spent on coffee.

The 10 Worst Coffee Cities

Not every metro is grinding out coffee culture, and 10 cities stood out as distinctively less inviting to cafe-goers:

  1. Virginia Beach, Virginia
  2. Memphis, Tennessee
  3. Louisville, Kentucky
  4. Birmingham, Alabama
  5. Las Vegas, Nevada
  6. Richmond, Virginia
  7. Phoenix, Arizona
  8. Nashville, Tennessee
  9. Jacksonville, Florida
  10. St. Louis, Missouri

Altogether, these metro areas offer an average of only 10 coffee shops per 100,000 people – 44% less than the top 15 cities. Additionally, these cities have much higher cappuccino prices as a percent of annual income, averaging 2.29% compared to 1.60% for the top 15 cities.

Coffee prices in Virginia Beach are outpacing inflation, making this metro the lowest-ranking city in our study. Residents are paying the highest average price for a cappuccino ($5.39), while the average annual personal income has remained lower than the national average ($59,510) at $53,310. Yearly, a daily cappuccino in Virginia Beach would set you back $1,401 per year – that's a whole 2.63% of your annual income, significantly higher than the national average of 1.9%!

Methodology

Clever compared the 50 most populous U.S. metro areas across nine metrics, listed below. Each metric was normalized and then graded on a 100-point scale. The combined weighted average of the scores determined the “coffee city” score upon which the final ranking was based.

In cases where data sets included only cities, the city data was combined and weighted by population within the overall metro in which the city belonged.

The metrics used are as follows:

  • Average reported price of a cappuccino (37.5%)
  • Coffee shops per 100,000 residents (25%)
  • Coffee shops per square mile (12.5%)
  • Price of a daily cappuccino as a percentage of average income (12.5%)
  • Google Trends search volume for “coffee” (4%)
  • Google Trends search volume for “coffee shops” (3.4%)
  • Google Trends search volume for “latte” (2%)
  • Google Trends search volume for “cappuccino” (2%)
  • Google Trends search volume for “espresso” (1.1%)

Data sources include: US Census, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Numbeo, Google Trends, National Coffee Association, and Database USA.

ARTICLE SOURCES
[1]

PBS. "The Caffeinated History of Coffee." Accessed January 4, 2022. Updated April 08, 2013.

[2]

National Coffee Association. "National Coffee Data Trends: Fall 2021 Report." Accessed January 4, 2022. Updated 2021.

[3]

Statista. "Statista Global Consumer Survey: Coffee Is America's Favorite Drink." Accessed January 4, 2022. Updated October, 01, 2021.

[4]

CNBC. "Coffee prices are at 10-year highs, and analysts say they have much further to go." Accessed January 4, 2022. Updated December, 01, 2021.

[5]

Bureau of Economic Analysis. "Regional Data: Personal Income and Employment by County and Metropolitan Area." Accessed January 4, 2022.

[6]

The New York Times. "Cafe Capitalism, San Francisco Style." Accessed January 4, 2022. Updated April, 01, 2008.

[7]

National Baseball Hall of Fame. "Pro Baseball Began In Cincinnati In 1869." Accessed January 4, 2022.

[8]

Wander Cincinnati. "What is Cincinnati Known For? (12 Things Cincinnati is Famous For!)." Accessed January 4, 2022. Updated June, 06, 2021.

[9]

Minor League Baseball. "Official Site of the Hartford Yard Goats." Accessed January 4, 2022.

[10]

Indianapolis Coffee Guide. "Indianapolis Coffee Guide." Accessed January 4, 2022.

About Clever

Since 2017, Clever Real Estate has been on a mission to make selling or buying a home easier and more affordable for everyone. 12 million annual readers rely on Clever's library of educational content and data-driven research to make smarter real estate decisions—and to date, Clever has helped consumers save more than $70 million on realtor fees. Clever's research has been featured in The New York Times, Business Insider, Inman, Housing Wire, and many more.

More Research From Clever

Frequently Asked Questions About Coffee Cities

Portland, Ore., has the highest number of cafes, averaging 27 per 100,000 people. As one of America's best coffee cities, Portland is the city that's most passionate about brewing up pour-fection! Discover America's top 15 best coffee cities.

To the surprise of some, Milwaukee is America's coffee capital! Serving up the perfect blend of affordability and passion, the Milwaukee coffee scene is the best place in the U.S. to find both quality and quantity. Learn more about how Milwaukee beat out cities such as Seattle and San Francisco.

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