Coffee is a drug, a really good one that hooks you for life! And one that brings people together all over the world. It’s a social lubricant, and for some, the only way to start a day. It creates memories, eases conversation and stimulates idea. Grab a cup of joe and learn more about our ten favorite coffee shops around the world.
Colectivo Coffee: Madison, Wisconsin
What began as Alterra Coffee in 1993 with the simple goal of making a great cup of coffee is now a local favorite in Trek Travel’s hometown. Colectivo Coffee, whose name and design are inspired by the funky buses used for everyday public transportation across Latin America, is our staff’s favorite place to grab a cup of carefully brewed single origin coffee on the way to work. Appropriately named, the shop strives to be part of everyday life through the products they make, the places they build, the communities they support, and the customers they serve. After just one visit you will quickly realize that the rich flavors of their “Featured Farm Series” are merely part of the collective experience, as their open storefront on Madison’s capitol square provides the perfect atmosphere to share great conversation with peers after a Saturday morning ride.
La Fabrica: Girona, Spain
Walking the streets of pretty little Girona, Spain you will find a gem of a coffee shop tucked away near the center of town, off the beaten path. Newly opened La Fabrica Coffee Works & Cycle Café is owned by a couple from Vancouver, Canada. Inspired by coffee cultures from around the world, they bring cycling and coffee to Girona in their own way. The finished product is amazing, to say the least, and has quickly become a guide favorite! Colleagues and I discovered La Fabrica online a few Sundays ago while looking for a place to watch the Tour of Flanders race on television. Picture exposed stone, modern yet cozy design, family-style seating and walls displaying photos of past cycling legends. Local cycling enthusiasts fill the café to enjoy coffee with new and old friends. Meanwhile the aroma of freshly roasted beans fills the air with the sound of clacking cycling cleats and churning espresso machines in the background. From freshly roasted coffee, to the friendliest of service, this place is our little slice of heaven. The best part? Upon finishing your café con leche you will see the word ‘ANOTHER?’ on the bottom of your cup. Great minds think alike. The answer is always si.
Handlebar Coffee Roasters: Santa Barbara, California
When former professional cyclists shifted their focus, training and determination from racing to coffee, the result was a world-class micro roaster in Santa Barbara’s “Gourmet Ghetto.” While living and racing in Europe, Aaron Olson and Kim Andersen fell in love with the abundance of local, neighborly cafes. Upon their return to the States, they decided to bring that same ambiance to a coffee shop of their own. What they created is a streamlined space just off State Street where they proudly display their two passions side-by-side: custom Handlebar cycling jerseys together with a German-made Probat roaster. Though recently expanded to keep up with booming demand, the natural light and outdoor patio present the exact tone they were striving for—warm and unpretentious.
Tahoe House: Tahoe City, California
While living in Lake Tahoe and working remotely for Trek Travel, I would spend at least two days per week at the Tahoe House. Not only is their coffee the best in town—with a perfect crema every time—but it is also one of the last true “Mom and Pop” operations around. Originally from Switzerland, Peter and Helen Vogt brought with them a love of European Style breads and pastries. The couple opened the Tahoe House in May of 1977, and from a young age Peter and Helen’s girls helped out in the restaurant. As they grew older, Barbara went to culinary school and Caroline studied restaurant management. These days Barbara and Caroline are running the show. Stop by on your way to the mountain for a cup of brewed-to-order Swiss coffee and a pastry baked fresh that morning.
Mudtruck: New York City, New York
In the growing trend of food carts, the Mudtruck adds convenience for those needing their daily caffeine fix, making stops in several key locations around New York City. Its signature bright orange color can be seen from far away, and when I’d catch a glimpse of it coming out of the subway on my way to work, it meant I was going to have a great day. The beauty is in its simplicity, with most orders being “Mud”—simple, black coffee with milk and sugar. Even if you drink your coffee black, try it with the milk and sugar. The key is that they make your drink café au lait-style, steaming the milk first and adding just the right amount of sugar to turn your coffee into a frothy, smooth cup of goodness packed with quite a punch of caffeine. They do all of this for under $2 a cup, so you can justify indulging on a daily basis.
10 Speed Coffee: Calabasas, California
How do you judge your favorite coffee shop? Great coffee is obviously a must, but great coffee alone doesn’t make a coffee shop great. I’ve sipped coffee in shops and cafés on four continents, and one stands out above the rest. Tucked off a highway exit in Calabasas, California, the crew at 10 Speed Coffee serves up a great cup of coffee to fuel a drive up the 101 or a delicious espresso to cap off an amazing meal at their Pedalers Fork restaurant. These guys also share a passion for cycling, operating a high-end bike shop in the back of the restaurant and sponsoring some of the biggest bike races in the United States. Whether sitting at their coffee bar in California or on the bumper of their truck on a mountaintop in Colorado, a cup of Kickstand blend makes me feel at home.
Slate Coffee Bar: Ballard, Washington
Living in Seattle, and working for the last decade in Italy, have dealt a one-two punch of epic, coffee-snobbery. While in Italy, the perfect macchiato can be had at any roadside gas station, I have not found this to be true stateside. I am lucky to have good friends who are the head roasters for two shops I enjoy very much—Victrola Coffee in Seattle and Boxcar Coffee Roasters in Boulder, Colorado—and yet, my vote for favorite coffee shop goes to Slate Coffee Bar in Seattle. Here, the coffee is more than just a beverage. It is an experience that will likely be the highlight of your day. The care and attention that the owner, Chelsey, puts into every detail of your coffee—with a special emphasis on crafting your drink—comes through in the final product. This place was so hot that when it first opened, there was a lineup of well-trained baristas knocking down the door offering to apprentice—for free—just to learn the finer nuances of the highest level of coffee. When you go, be sure to try the deconstructed cappuccino, which features a shot glass of perfectly pulled espresso, a small tumbler of micro-frothed milk (from local, happy grass-fed, hormone free cows), followed by a marriage of the two ingredients, and…I dare say, the most perfect cappuccino.
Northwest Coffee Roasting: St. Louis, Missouri
The one place to sip a cup of joe that is etched in my mind is Northwest Coffee Roasting in the West End of St. Louis. Picture this: old garage, set back about 100 feet from a quiet residential street, concrete countertops, local artwork covering the walls, a cork board with ads and cards for nearly everything the locals are peddling, a long rustic portico with chairs and tables giving it an earthy, open air simplicity rich of the aroma from the beans roasted daily inside. I’ve been frequenting this place for over 10 years, before they were open 7 days a week, when it was only one guy. I don’t go there for the espresso (although it’s killer!). I go there for a good old-fashioned cup of coffee served in a stout little mug. It’s smooth, rich, definitely well balanced, not a hint of char or burnt-ness, super consistent, heart-racing coffee, and about as fresh as you can get because the beans are roasted in front of your eyes. Don’t even get me started on the scones. Get there early if you want to try them, or I may have already taken the last one…
Angry Catfish: Minneapolis, Minnesota
For me it is everything a cyclist looks for in a coffee shop. First: Amazing coffee. I’m a huge fan of Intelligentsia which is brewed at the Angry Catfish. Second: Their baristas are awesome and pull some amazing shots. Third: But perhaps the best thing about the Angry Catfish is that it is primarily an amazing bike shop. They have amassed some of the most knowledgeable bike mechanics around and they are all just really great guys. The atmosphere there is pretty calm, great seating areas to hunker down and read a book, or catch up on the latest road disc whohaa’s. Definitely a place to visit if you are ever in the Twin Cities!
Verve Coffee Roasters: Santa Cruz, California
A good cup of coffee is about more than just the flavor, and no one gets that more than Verve. They are involved in their beachfront Santa Cruz neighborhood, where surfing is as important as roasting. They are connected with the farms in rural Kenya and Costa Rica, where they source the best green coffee. They are committed to their award winning baristas, who take pride in the meticulous cupping process. And they are invested in their customers, who line up for the experiment each morning. If you like your coffee sweet and your environment laid-back, Verve is the cafe for you.