5 Ways To Pick The Best Coffee Shops In Every City

Alright, you freaks, do you really want to do this? You REALLY want to be equipped with the immeasurable knowledge of picking the BEST coffee shop in every city? You want to wow your friends with your smartphone usage, while you quietly scroll, smirk, and judge? Well, lucky for you, you're in a damn fine place to learn. Rootless Coffee Presents:

5 Ways To Pick The Best Coffee Shops In Every City

So you may think there's some cheat code, or special hack. But as a touring musician for over a decade, I've had the unfortunate reality of having to endure a bunch of garbage places for you to thrive. You guessed it—burnt coffee, rude owners, weird yucky bathrooms... We don't have to get into that.

But now for the good news. If you love what we do at Rootless (craft coffee for cool people) we've devised this simple list to guarantee a great coffee experience while you're traveling. Let's dive in.

1. Google Reviews

It seems obvious, but it's important. Take out that phone, and type, "coffee near me" or "best coffee shops in (name of city)."

Of course 5 stars is the jam, but we live in an imperfect world where people complain if their—wait for it—cortado is too small. So here and there, you'll get some whack lower star reviews on Google to offshoot all the goodery. Think this way.

4+ is the minimum stars you'll want to touch when choosing a coffee shop in a new city. 

It's also VERY important that you pay attention to the AMOUNT of reviews. If it's only 2 total reviews, you know it's Bobby Jo and Derek the co-owners' stepsons trying to impress them. If it's a dozen, we're getting somewhere.

If it's one hundred, you know it's legit. If it's over a thousand, and it's still over 4 stars, you're living in primo quality Amazon product territory.

Good reviews, with a lot of reviews, mean it's worth it. 

2. The Whipped Cream Test

You find a great reviewed place. It's time to scope out some pics, baby. Oh god... what the hell is that?! There's SO MUCH WHIPPED CREAM EVERYWHERE?!

That's right, you didn't find a coffee shop. You found a dessert emporium. 

These whipped cream wonders, with or without sprinkles, are a blast from our 90s coffee shop past. There's maybe a hint, or breath, or coffee in these drinks, but they look hilariously big. If you're more into milkshakes than coffee, be our guest! But if you're a coffee snob like us... keep scrolling.

The Whipped Cream Test makes a difference in your quality experience.

3. Latte Art

Ahhh finally, relief! Latte art means a lot more than being snooty or preparing your instagram for ONE MILLION LIKES—it means the baristas give a sh*t. The better the latte art, the more talent is going into your drink.

Now can we always guarantee these drinks will be great? No. But can we promise they'll be better than the failed Whipped Cream Test favorite menu item: Jumbo Mocha Java Bing Bong... yes.

Latte art also adds a level of relaxation while you're traveling. If you're on the go, or went for a long walk, and you stumble upon a beautiful flower on your cappuccino, it's just a nice lil experience. It's cozy, dude. That's worth it.

For real, though, definitely take photos of your latte art anywhere you go and tag @rootlesscoffee in the photo to see what they say. Yep, even if it's not from there, it's just funny to us.

4. The Espresso Machine

Okay, so we scraped off the whipped cream, we drooled at the latte art... but let's talk the machinery. Is this a local diner metal slop bucket, or do we have ourselves a beautiful La Marzocco espresso machine?

To find this, it's quite easy. As you're scrolling, and judging, and smirking, and scoffing, you can usually see a shot of someone pulling espresso or a customer in front of the espresso machine. It's like the pool table in your dad's basement of the cafe. It's a BIG DEAL.

If you can't find it in the photos, head to the coffee shop's social media page. There's bound to be a few floaters there. If you can't see it, they may not be proud of their hoss. 

A good espresso machine and latte art is usualllllly a fair deal. But that's not all.

5. Some Weird-Ass Barista Probably Named Micah With A Mustache

Uh oh, you fell in a time warp and you're in the 1930s! Just kidding, you're at a hipster coffee shop. And it's probably BOMB. Because Micah just trimmed his weird peach fuzz mustache, and he's wearing his favorite barista's suspenders just for you.

Again, note, this is about the best COFFEE you can find. But the stories you get from these shops are hilarious too.

That's right. Sometimes, the awkward polarizing conversations with time traveling baristas is part of the amazing experience of having an incredible coffee day. Snobs already have their go-to, so ordering is easy, but if I get an eye-roll or one of my jokes doesn't land on the Micahs of the world, I'm 'bout to get GOOD COFFEE.

It's also important to tip the Micahs. Like, any barista, they're probably going through hell and being really chill about it. Someone from a whipped cream shop was yelling about their espresso not tasting like brick enough for them right before you walk in. You're different, though. Aren't you? Damn right you are. TIP. THEM.


So you take that whipped cream-free latte art from a good espresso machine thanks to 5 star Micah, and you close your eyes, sniff that sucker, smile, and take a sip. Because coffee is magic. Coffee is WHY we even wake up in the morning.

We hope you enjoyed our guide on how to pick the best coffee shops in every city. Yes, we are that professional.

If we had a Rootless Coffee shop, we'd be serving this wonderful, high-rated, single-origin Ethiopian Yirgacheffe... or as we like to call it: Berry Kiss. It makes a killer espresso or an immaculate pour over.

Of course you can't go wrong with our flagship fan-favorite, A Damn Fine Cup Of Coffee. It's like diner coffee on steroids (without, you know, literal steroids).

If you run or work for a coffee shop and want to carry Rootless, no matter where you are, we can make this happen! Just visit this page and let's talk.

And lastly, if you endured and enjoyed this read, you can pick up a shirt or some other junk here. 

-The Rootless Rogues