1. Blue Bottle Coffee
12 locations throughout New York and the Bay Area
Your favorite app? That slick pair of Google Glasses? They just might have been created by engineers hepped up on Blue Bottle, the tech industry’s caffeination station of choice.
The appeal (beyond several locations throughout the Bay Area and NYC) comes from the meticulous care taken from bean to cup. Coffee is roasted on vintage gear and served within 48 hours of roasting.
Iced coffee is courtesy of mad-scientist-style contraptions imported from Kyoto. And even your standard cup of joe takes a minimum of five minutes, as the beans are ground and individually filtered when you order. But all that care has paid off. In January the company scored $25.75 million in funding from techy A-listers like Instagram cofounder Kevin Systrom and Twitter cofounder Evan Williams, as well as Google Ventures, to open new shops throughout the country. Watch out, Starbucks.
2. Verve Coffee Roasters
3 locations in Santa Cruz, California
When people think coffee culture, they tend to think of cities like Seattle, San Francisco, and New York. But this Santa Cruz roaster has been steadily building a coffee company that ranks among the best of the best in the USA.
Their largely single-origin brews change seasonally depending on what’s coming in from the farms they work with in Asia, Latin America, and Africa.
Staff often spend their mornings surfing and mountain biking before rolling into Verve’s flagship café and roastery, an industrial space wrapped in reclaimed wood and aged metals. An in-house designer makes the packaging along with slick skate decks and tees. But for all their laid-back Cali cool, the staff are exacting, constantly experimenting to produce drinks that stay true to the origins of their beans, using a vintage 1965 Probat roaster. In 2014, they’ll be adding an L.A. outpost in the hip downtown arts district.