3. Four Barrel Coffee
3 locations in San Francisco
Though it’s located just a mile from the offices of Twitter and Zynga, Four Barrel is a decidedly unplugged coffee shop. There’s no Wi-Fi, no outlets, and Instagramming might earn you some raised eyebrows.
In its place? Conversation over reclaimed-wood-beam tables, jokes about the shop’s boar’s head taxidermy, the occasional appearance of a brass band, and pure, unadulterated enjoyment of high-quality coffee, sourced and roasted by Four Barrel founder—and Ritual Roasters cofounder—Jeremy Tooker. A new location in Portola, opened in fall 2013, plans to add a small outdoor park to further the playful vibe.
4. Colectivo Coffee
12 locations in Milwaukee
Opened in 1993 as Alterra Coffee Roasters, this Milwaukee company has long been at the vanguard of the U.S. coffee movement, expanding to a network of 12 cafés throughout the city.
After 20 years, it renamed itself Colectivo, after the buses the staff ride when they visit partner coffee farms in Central America. The collective vibe is on display at all of the outposts, with free tastings and manual brewing demos, and superior beans sourced after two decades of working with coffee farmers around the world.
The cafés also serve as community meeting places, playing host to free Monday night concerts by musicians from the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. In the summer, their historic Lakefront café hosts the Florentine Opera and Música del Lago outdoor music series.