Best of 2015

2015 was a busy year for me.  Between managing one business and starting another I was hard pressed to find the time to take a handful of trips and drink a lot of coffee.  In 2015 I visited over fifty different coffee shops across the United States.  Most were good, a few were pretty bad, but handful deserve some special recognition for just how great they were.  I’ve got five in mind, each has something special that sets it apart from the all the other shops I’ve visited this year.  It’d be impossible for me to rank these so here they are in alphabetical order.  Enjoy!

Amavida Coffee & Tea
2236 E. Co Hwy 30A
Seaside, FL 32459


An underdog on this list, Amavida doesn’t see much press.  The Steampunk 2.0 (since upgraded to a 2.1) on the counter of this shop in the middle of nowhere  is the first sign that there’s something special about this place.  The flagship of this three shop chain along the Florida panhandle, the Seaside location is located in a beautiful beachfront strip of local shops and restaurants.   Amavida does their own roasting and offers a predominately African house blend to create a bright, fruity espresso that is really unique.

See the full review here.

Boomtown Coffee
242 W. 19th Street
Houston, Texas 77008


A Houston staple that doesn’t get enough love.  Houston has an awesome coffee scene with several power players in the roasting scene, Boomtown being one of them.  Set in the heart of the Heights, Boomtown is a staple of the eccentric, artsy, and creative side of Houston.  Alongside the standard coffee offerings, Boomtown gets creative with their drink offerings with specials such as the cocktail inspired Shakarato and the decadent El Gordo Afro Gato.

See the full review here.

G&B Coffee
312 S. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA, 90013


If you haven’t noticed a trend yet, most of the shops on this list are located in areas thriving with local flavor and G&B is no exception.  Located in LA’s Grand Central Market the ordered chaos of the coffee shop compliments the hustle and bustle of the dozens of restaurants and stalls surrounding it.  With no in house roasting program, G&B is free to pick and choose from the best roasters both in and out of the country.  This promises an awesome amount of variety and consistently great level of quality.

See the full review here.

2035 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60647


Chicago has established itself as one of the best cities in America for specialty coffee and Ipsento is one of the reasons why.  It takes an impressive level of quality to compete alongside the likes of Intellegentsia, Bowtruss, and Dark Matter, and Ipsento delivers.  Offering one of the most impressive slow bar selections of any shop I’ve been to and signature lattes that are actually something special, Ipesnto sets itself apart in an already impressive market.

The Wormhole
1462 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL, 60622


Acting as the main storefront for Halfwit Coffee Roasters, The Wormhole is probably the best designed coffee shop I’ve been to.  With a DeLorean in the rafters and a Mac SE on the counter, this shop is a window back in time to a 90’s nerd oasis with an impressive amount of attention paid to the little things.  Serving up awesome espresso alongside some nostalgia inspired house specials, The Wormhole will have you asking “whatever happened to Nelly anyways?” and send you on a triforce (espresso) powered trip down memory lane.

Honorable Mentions

In my adventures I came across a lot of places that make my list of essential coffee shops but the problem with a top five list is that I’m limited in my recommendations.  These next few shops struck me as awesome places and I think it would be an insult to not even mention them.

Brew and Brew – Austin, TX

Common Bond – Houston, TX

Go Get Em Tiger, – Los Angeles, CA

Southside Espresso – Houston, TX

Thirsty Scholar – Indianapolis, Indiana


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