Ever since Starbucks democratized caffeine in 1971, a coffee culture has emerged in America — and throughout the world, for that matter. According to a Gallup poll, nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults today drink coffee, and each averages 2.7 cups of joe per day. Some estimates even place Americans in the lead of global coffee consumption, at 146 billion cups per year, earning us the status as the most caffeinated — and wired — humans on the planet.
So what gave way to coffee culture? Well, science, for one, tells us that caffeine possesses other health benefits besides mental stimulation. In the right dosages, caffeine also contributes to longevity, transforming our carafes and fancy brewing systems into modern-day fountains of youth. Perhaps more important, though, is coffee’s special quality as social lubrication. We no longer drink it alone or just at home. Today, we have stations devoted to coffee at work and tens of thousands of coffee shops that are hubs for the mutual enjoyment of hot caffeinated beverages. Finally, coffee serves as the canvas for latte art, gracing countless Instagram feeds and even inspiring a national competition among the most talented baristas.
In honor of National Coffee Day on Sept. 29, WalletHub’s number crunchers compared the 100 largest cities to determine the best local coffee scenes in America. Our data set of 12 key indicators of a top coffee city ranges from “number of coffee shops, coffee houses and cafés per capita” to “average price of a coffee pack” to “Google search average for the word ‘coffee.’” In addition, we compiled a list of top coffee retailers extending special savings during the holiday. Scroll down for the complete ranking, additional coffee-lover insight and a full description of our methodology.