Searching for cafés near me often means seeing what you can find on Google Maps or trawling through Trip Advisor reviews to see which of the cafés near to you fits your needs, i.e. the best tasting coffee, friendly and a nice place to spend an hour or two.

This is exactly what we will help you to find today.  Not only will we show you where coffee shops near me, or rather you are but we will also help you quickly work out which are the best coffee shops and cafés with our easy to follow 7 things to look out for guide.

However before we jump into the guide lets have a quick chat about speciality coffee shops and coffee shop chains like Costa Coffee and Starbucks.

Speciality Coffee Shops v Coffee Shop Chains

specialty coffeeIt is true that well known national coffee shop chains like Starbucks and Costa Coffee serve some of the best coffee around.  However, smaller independent coffee shops, that are not franchised, also have delicious roasted coffee at a reasonable price because the coffee does not include the cost of franchise fees. These smaller cafés are also more willing to experiment and roast different varieties of coffee, which means that you are drinking coffee which is fresh roasted and tastes amazing.

Don’t get me wrong, Costa Coffee and Starbucks make really good coffee and because they are such huge franchises you can find one very easily, simply by searching for coffee near me on Google!  Perfect for a quick fix when out shopping.

costaHowever, what Costa, Starbucks, Cafe Nero, Greggs, McDonalds et al do not give you is a unique cosy atmosphere where it is a pleasure to spend a couple of hours chatting and catching up with friends.  They also do not have barista’s or employees who are passionate about coffee.  Yes they can make a decent coffee but their mortgage is not dependant on you ‘loving’ the coffee.  They don’t really care where the beans come from or when they were roasted, their job is to get you served and out as soon as possible.  Again perfect for a quick fix but specialty coffee cafés give you so much more.

Cafés Near Me

The map shows cafés near me, or rather you, but be sure to turn on location services on your mobile device for it to work properly.

Calling all Speciality Coffee Shops and Cafes

If you are an independent coffee shop or cafe and would like to be featured in our guide, please get in contact and tell us what makes you unique / worth a visit and we will feature you on this page.

7 Simple Rules to Find the Best Cafes near me

I am a coffee junkie who likes to follow 7 simple rules which help me find the best coffee shops no matter which town I am visiting.  Give them a try and you will find your perfect new second home in no time.

1. Coffee beans are not stale

When roasted coffee beans are left out in the air for long they tend to oxidise from exposure to the oxygen in the air we breathe. This makes your coffee taste stale as the oils which produce the taste have dried up. It is not possible to check coffee beans before ordering in a café but you can always check where the beans are kept by observing where the barista is keeping them prior to grinding.

If the coffee beans are away from air and moisture than the probabilities are the beans are fresh. Another way to ensure this is by going to a café where there are a higher number of customers.  After-all if all these other people are buying coffee from them, they are probably serving good coffee!  Not fool proof, but a good rule of thumb.

If the coffee beans are not fresh, move on.

2. Coffee beans are roasted properly

The temperature the beans are roasted at and the length of time they are roasted for determines the flavour you get in your cup.  Some people prefer strong espresso style coffee and thus drink more dark roast beans, but there is a difference between dark roast and over roasted. If your coffee tastes bitter, then the chances are the coffee you are drinking hasn’t been roasted properly.

Roasting coffee beans is an indispensable part of coffee making. After all the roasting of the beans give you the aromatic flavour when you drink the brew. Roasting is an art as much a science. Overly roasted coffee beans will taste bitter and will also leave a burnt flavour in your mouth.

If the coffee tastes bitter or burnt, move on.

3. Equipment is clean

Make sure that equipment of the café is clean. A dirty French press, coffee maker, espresso machine or milk frothing wand can certainly change the taste of your coffee. Think of it as cutting fruit with the same knife after you have chopped a fish with it. The same principal applies to coffee. Be observant about what is going on behind counter and what the barista is doing with their equipment after each use.

If they are not cleaning the steam wand and other utensils after each use, move on.

4. Hours old coffee

If the coffee is drip coffee, it is imperative that it has not been sitting on a warming plate for too long.  For businesses, it is tempting to brew a huge pot of coffee in the morning and let it sit on a warming plate of the coffee machine for hours. Fresh brewed coffee tastes great, whereas coffee which has been left heating becomes burnt and tastes bitter.  I know which I prefer!

Same as tip 2, If the coffee tastes bitter or burnt, move on.

5. Check that the water quality is good

This might seem negligible. But a good cup of coffee starts with a good cup of water. Many coffee societies have a strict sets of rules on what type, temperature, and chemical composition the water has to be before it can be certified as coffee worthy of their respective countries. But let’s be honest. You are not going to find water as purified as French Alps in any local café.

The chances are the water within the city tastes chlorinated. Make sure that the water which is being used to make the coffee is what you are willing to drink. JUST ASK! Ask the Barista nicely and without sounding pompous if the water they are using is filtered. You will be amazed how helpful people can be if you ask a question with a smile.

Water not filtered, move on.

6. Snacks!

Now we have a perfect cup of coffee. But is it the only thing which makes a great cafe? What about those delicious freshly-baked pastries, different flavoured colourful muffins to die for, or those overloaded creamy Belgian buns. Let’s be honest, once in a café, most of us like to have something else on the side.

Good snacks available, stay for a while.

7. Atmosphere

What about the atmosphere and the ‘other things’ that keeps dragging you back to the same shop. The openness of the shop layout or friendliness of a member of staff?  It all contributes to finding a ‘great coffee shop or cafe’.

Do you like to be in a place where there are people from different walks of life around you?  Or do you like to be in a place of near tranquility as if time has stopped when you enjoy your “café au lait”? Believe me, certain changes in the atmosphere can have a big impact on your experience inside the Café.

Nice place to sit and relax, you have a new home.

What works for you?

Find a cafe where you feel welcome from the outside and follow my 7 rules on how to taste good coffee.  Before you know it you will have found the perfect coffee shop that not only serves great tasting coffee but where you feel comfortable and happy to spend a few hours.

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