PERK UP YOUR EARS
Why pay for expensive Starbucks coffee when your city likely has a righteous and robust coffee house where you can do so much better? Deep, fresh, flavorful drip coffee shouldn't be more than $2 for a cup. Where can you find an affordable cup of Joe somewhere around you that's actually really good? Travel with us to superb little cafes all across America where the locals swear by their brew — which can be enjoyed for two bucks or less — and rave about them on social media and review sites.
ALABAMA: ANGEL'S COFFEE ISLAND
A Tall-sized 16-ounce for $1.88 makes this 'Bama coffee spot a great find. Add to that, Angel's Coffee Island offer two free refills for dine-in customers, and boasts a tempting ice cream frozen drink menu too. Hungry? Try their house-made fresh fruit smoothies, wraps, salads and sandwiches.
ALASKA: KALADI BROTHERS COFFEE
The hip Kaladi Brothers Coffee on Brayton Drive has a drive-thru and offers a cup of drip coffee made from fresh-roasted beans for $2. If you bring your own cup, you get 25 cents off, and free refills are given to patrons all day. They also sell pastries and smaller noshes as well as bags of their fresh-roasted coffee and loads of home-brewing paraphernalia for the novice or well-appointed home barista.
ARIZONA: THE COFFEE SHOP
A landmark spot, The Coffee Shop offers a small drip coffee for $1.95, with refills running 50 cents a pour. A full menu for breakfast and lunch is posted daily including vegan options, plus they are well known for their house-made cinnamon rolls, baked treats, and cupcakes. This is considered a top hot spot for Arizona folks in the know.
ARKANSAS: BLUE SAIL COFFEE
Blue Sail roasts their own ethically sourced beans and they also offer the coffee beans for sale. Their "quick cup" of drip coffee is $2 for any size. Tea lovers will appreciate their large selection of Spirit teas and various fancy tea drinks they make like chai lattes. Blue Sail has a small but tasty menu of scones, oatmeal, quiche, local Arkansas honey to-go, and also up for sale is coffee brewing gear.
CALIFORNIA: SIMONE'S COFFEE
Beach-adjacent Simone's offers $1.95 fresh-brewed drip coffee plus espresso drinks, loose leaf teas, hand-crafted blends, milk shakes, and real fruit smoothies. The cafe is open all year-around except Christmas day. They also serve baked goods, house-made granola, hand-crafted sandwiches and wraps.
COLORADO: COFFEE HOUSE 29
At Coffee House 29, pure fruit smoothies, coffee drinks, and espresso are widely well reviewed as is the fresh roast drip coffee at $1.90 a cup. Free Wi-Fi is available inside this cozy yet spacious spot where small pastry bites and bagels can be ordered with your java fix.
CONNECTICUT: CHESHIRE COFFEE
The folks at Cheshire Coffee pride themselves on their quality beans, and they roast their own coffee and even bake their own croissants in house. They offer an array of pastries and breakfast foods, too. Their 12-ounce fresh-roasted drip coffee goes for $1.75.
Inspired by Italian coffee houses, BrewHaha roasts their own coffee beans and serves a variety of hot and cold coffees, sandwiches, and salads. People particularly rave about their selection of cold sandwiches, especially the hummus and mozzarella wraps. Breakfast is an array of freshly made pastries and other small bites. Their fresh-brewed small drip coffee is $1.95 and comes with refills.
FLORIDA: DOWNTOWN CREDO COFFEE SHOP
This is the first location of a local "chain" of nonprofit coffee shops where you set the price based on what you can afford. Downtown Credo's beans are high quality and fair-trade sourced from small farms in Central America. The coffee is roasted locally and their reviews for the quality drip coffee served up are superb. No food available, it is a coffee spot only. Coffee prices start at $2.
GEORGIA: DADDY CATE'S COFFEES
Daddy Cate's Coffees scores with fresh-brewed premium drip coffee at $1.99 for a medium-size cup. They also offer made-to-order breakfast sandwiches and scones, croissants, muffins, cinnamon rolls, biscotti, and bagels. Lunch offerings are traditional sandwich classics including a savory hot dog menu, too.
HAWAII: RAINBEAU JO'S
This beloved truck, nestled inside a warehouse near Kauai's airport, pours a 12-ounce cup of locally sourced, micro-roasted organic coffee for just $2 — a bargain considering Hawaii's brews can fetch much more. Run by the charming couple Beau and Jo, Rainbeau Jo's also serves up espresso drinks, cold brew, smoothies made with local fruit, granitas that blend espresso, ice cream and other ingredients, plus locally made bagels. And there are plenty of games and hula hoops to keep kids and adults entertained.
IDAHO: FLYING M COFFEE HOUSE
A local landmark, the "M" has a 12-ounce cup of fresh-roast drip coffee that runs $1.70 at this small local chain, which boasts in-house roasted coffee beans that they also sell to-go. Free Wi-Fi, cozy seating areas, and a funky, gift house for truly unusual books, cards, and seasonal gifts make it a fun trip. The Flying M also has a great selection of fresh juice, small pastries, and bagels, too, which makes this a great spot to eat, shop, or surf the web.
ILLINOIS: DAMN FINE COFFEE BAR
Damn Fine serves coffee from the local roaster Halfwit as well as specialty coffees from different roasters from around the country. A small drip coffee is $2. They serve Spirit Tea and fresh-baked pastries from Chicago's Floriole Bakery and vegan donuts from Do Rite Donuts. Locals suggest ordering the bottomless mug of drip coffee for $3.
INDIANA: CALVIN FLETCHER'S COFFEE COMPANY
There's a lot to love about this non-profit coffeehouse. Drip coffee from fresh-roasted beans runs $2, and their array of coffee drinks is equally lower in cost than the big chains. Small bites, freshly made pastries and even a lunch sandwich of fresh chicken salad on a croissant make Calvin Fletcher's Coffee Company a must-do in Indy.
IOWA: MAGPIE COFFEEHOUSE
Magpie is a great little cafe in downtown Decorah created by a defecting Californian in 2008. They offer $1.50 cups of freshly brewed house-roast coffee and loads of fresh breakfast items, plus house-made soups and sandwiches and vegan options like black bean burgers dressed with avocado, too.
KANSAS: ARROW COFFEE
Arrow Coffee is truly an eclectic hangout cafe with free Wi-Fi that serves freshly brewed drip for $1.65 and features all the fancy coffee trendy drinks you could want to order. They also serve up cocktails and feature small bites. A tasty bonus is their in-house bakery churning out scones, french macarons, muffins and cinnamon rolls from scratch.
KENTUCKY: LEFT BANK COFFEEHOUSE
In the historic Licking Riverside district of Covington, the Left Bank Coffeehouse serves $1.50 cups of house brew from the finest locally roasted coffees. There's also an array of coffee drinks, tea selections, and an assortment of breakfast items and baked goods.
LOUISIANA: CONGREGATION COFFEE ROASTERS
Great for coffee, boudin, fresh pastries, and fun merchandise, this local gem roasts in-house. The folks at Congregation Coffee Roasters also support their local community in various charitable ways. House-made rice pudding and butter and cheese baguettes are served up with $1.75 house blend coffee making Congregation a great NOLA coffee house find. The free Wi-Fi password is "Alligator." Their rich, roasted coffees and kid-friendly space earn high marks from customers.
MAINE: BOHEMIAN COFFEE HOUSE
Bohemian Coffee House serves freshly roasted coffee and espresso drinks. Pastries are baked in-house daily and a medium 12-ounce house brew drip coffee is $1.67. They offer delicious baked goods, soups, smoothies, and highly rated fancier coffee drinks as well.
MARYLAND: ORDER & CHAOS COFFEE
Order & Chaos is a quirky fun coffee shop that offers quality coffee and a cup of fresh-brewed drip for $2. They also offer hard-to-find oat milk as a milk substitute, plus muffins, pastries, breakfast sandwiches, and their famous "walking waffles." and healthier small snacks. For those doing the Bulletproof grass-fed buttered coffee twist, they offer that as well.
MASSACHUSETTS: MARYLOU'S COFFEE
Pretty in pink, Marylou's excels in an area of the country absolutely dominated by Dunkin Donuts. Their basic cup of house brew is $1.80 and they offer an extensive array of coffee drinks — hot and cold — plus Red Bull frozen blends. Also for sale are fresh, locally made pastries and treats, and you can buy a bag of fresh-roasted beans to take home, too.
MICHIGAN: LIVE OAK COFFEEHOUSE
They offer French-press coffees and all the usual suspects. A fresh cup of house brew runs $2. At Live Oak, Wi-Fi is free, and well reviewed, locally coffee roasted is also for sale by the bag. Renowned for their freshly baked treats like quiche, chocolate chip cookies and cinnamon rolls, you can get smaller noshes, too, like yogurt parfaits, and fruit and cheese samplers.
MINNESOTA: THE GOODNESS COFFEE HOUSE
The Goodness Coffee House brews up local roaster Peace Coffee's fair trade, organic coffee, and a cup of medium roast, dark roast, or decaf starts at $1.87. You can score a house-made pizza, a piled-high bagel with lox and all the fixings, grilled Cuban sandwich or just have a giant fresh muffin with your bargain Joe.
MISSISSIPPI: FINEST GRIND COFFEE HOUSE
Finest Grind Coffee House serves up a cup of fresh-brewed drip coffee for $1.92. They also sell artisan baked goods and fresh sandwiches, salads, and desserts. There's also free Wi-Fi and Mighty Leaf teas, and other non-coffee drinks, too.
MISSOURI: BEAN COUNTER CAFE
The food menu at Bean Counter Cafe goes from biscuits and sausage gravy and thick Belgian waffles to a low-carb primavera frittata. Local produce and home-grown vegetables and herbs are used in their eclectic breakfast and big lunch menu along with their popular roasted coffee selections. A cup of freshly brewed drip coffee starts at $1.70.
MONTANA: ZOCALO COFFEE HOUSE
An artsy establishment, Zocalo Coffee House offers up a 12-ounce cup of freshly brewed drip coffee or $1.50. The inviting brick-walled cafe serves basic coffee drinks, teas, scones, baked goods, and fresh cookies. They also serve craft beer and have Wi-Fi for their guests along with cribbage and other games.
NEBRASKA: THE MILL COFFEE AND TEA
Freshly brewed selections of the day, whether it is flavored, regular or a decaf cup to stay at the cafe are just a $1.37, and to-go prices for a small cup of fresh drip coffee is $1.74. An espresso one-shot at The Mill is $1.60. Also offered are a selection of locally made, fresh croissants, muffins, scones, sandwiches, parfaits, wraps, chocolates, and more.
NEVADA: THE WORLD FAMOUS COFFEE CUP CAFÉ
For a thrifty $2, you get a refillable cup of fresh-roasted drip coffee at The World Famous Coffee Cup Café, which is beloved for its Americana decor and cultural memorabilia. This family-owned establishment has a huge egg-centric breakfast menu and a belt-popping lunch menu that covers all the favorites. Come hungry.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: WHITE MOUNTAIN GOURMET COFFEE
White Mountain has a wide coffee-drink selection, Numi teas, and small bites including homemade affordable slices of quiche, baked goodies, and other treats. The brewed drip coffee will run you $1.51 for a small cup to $1.70 for a medium, and a large cup is $2.06, prices a flinty frugal New Englander can appreciate.
NEW JERSEY: THE TREEHOUSE COFFEE SHOP & CAFE
All the beans at this mom-and-pop cafe are roasted weekly by a local roaster in South Jersey who sources from organic, fair-trade farms. A cup of drip fresh-roasted coffee runs $1.75. Homemade baked goods, ice cream, and other desserts are also served up at the Treehouse Cafe. They also have free Wi-Fi.
NEW MEXICO: DUGGAN'S COFFEE
Duggan's has it all, from doted-upon New Mexican breakfast burritos to fancy pastries and killer coffee drinks. A cup of the drip coffee of the day starts at $1.85. They have loads of espresso drinks and a highly rated breakfast and lunch menu in this unassuming gem of a cafe.
NEW YORK: UNDERGROUNDS COFFEE HOUSE AND ROASTERY
Undergrounds is an old funeral home converted into a coffee shop with a, wait for it, "creamation station," and they sell a rich cup of fresh-roasted brew for $1.95. Boasting an all-day breakfast menu and a lunch and salad plate menu plus gluten-free and vegan choices makes this cafe a great find.
NORTH CAROLINA: TWIN CITY HIVE COFFEE LOUNGE
The Hive has a fresh-roasted drip coffee for $2 and an array of freshly baked pastries including gluten-free options. They have a well reviewed drinking chocolate too, plus "Up dog Kombucha" and an assortment of interesting non-coffee drink blends. This cozy and home-like atmosphere hosts many community events and artwork.
NORTH DAKOTA: THE BONESHAKER COFFEE CO.
The Boneshaker has drive-thru where you can order a fresh-roasted drip coffee for $1.65. Fresh pastries and treats are available as are grab-and-go lunches and breakfast sandwiches. Inside is a cozy atmosphere with Wi-Fi available, plus overstuffed furniture and spacious seating.
OHIO: KAFE KEROUAC
Kafe Kerouac is an alternative Wi-Fi cafe space selling thousands of records and books. They make and sell an assortment of coffee, baked goods, imported beer, wine by the glass or bottle and more. Their house coffee is locally roasted with fair-trade beans and ranges from $1.50 to $2 for a large cup. They also have whiskey and beer tastings.
OKLAHOMA: THE RED CUP
The Red Cup has a solid vegetarian and vegan breakfast and lunch menu with simple things like freshly baked pastries and handcrafted oats to hummus dips, vegan chorizo mac and vegetable jambalaya. Their fair trade organic cup of fresh drip brew costs a mere $1.38.
OREGON: THE GOVERNOR'S CUP COFFEE ROASTERS
The Governor's Cup coffee shop is known for its in-house roasted java, fresh pastries, and also features local art and occasionally live music. Their cup of fresh-roasted drip brew costs $1.75. Great seating options are available indoors and out. The cafe also features live music and sells alcoholic beverages on weekends.
PENNSYLVANIA: MEAN CUP
A small drip coffee at Mean Cup is $2. Mean Cup offers "grab & go" food options too, including seasonal sandwiches, salads, baked goods and desserts supplied by The Goodie Shoppe. Gluten-free options are provided by Amaranth Bakery. Croissants are baked by Ric's Bread.
RHODE ISLAND: THE SHOP
At The Shop, avocado toast is served with lime, chili flake, celtic sea salt, and durum or seeded multi-grain bread. Freshly baked muffins and breakfast breads including gluten-free options add to the eclectic smaller menu, and a rotating selection of single-origin, direct-trade coffees start at $2 a mug.
SOUTH CAROLINA: DRIP COFFEE
Drip is an independently owned local coffee shop that has vinyl records in the back room. A truly detailed and eclectic epicurean menu selection is complemented by a variety of local and international coffees and teas. A cup of drip coffee starts at $1.95. Adventure seekers might want to try the Honey Habanero Latte.
SOUTH DAKOTA: SWEET GRASS EATERY
Located in a historic 100-year old building, Sweet Grass offers a great selection of fresh made-to order breakfast items, lunch offerings and even steak and seafood dinners at night make this eatery a well-rounded all day destination. Their premium drip coffee ranges from a 12-ounce cup for $1.35 to a 20-ounce cup for $1.85.
TENNESSEE: THE CELTIC CUP COFFEE HOUSE
The Celtic Cup serves up "Auld World" scones, quiches, traditional breakfast breads and house-made soups and a variety of hot and cold sandwiches. The menu is larger than at most coffee spots. You can get a cup of freshly brewed coffee made with fair trade roasted beans direct from their roasters for $2.
TEXAS: BENNU COFFEE
An independent cafe, Bennu Coffee is a 24-hour shop with locations in east and central Austin. Fair-trade coffee is served, and a cup of fresh brew begins at $1.50. They serve locally sourced food and offer free Wi-Fi, ample workspaces, and free parking. Fancier coffees include a personal French press service, seven signature gourmet mochas, espresso drinks, and trendy cold brew coffee.
UTAH: SUNSET COFFEE COMPANY
Do want a $2 cup of Joe and a breathtaking view? Check out Sunset Coffee Company. This highly rated spot offers indoor and outdoor seating, plus free Wi-Fi, books, and board games for families and visitors and a simple menu that will appeal to coffee drinkers and non-coffee drinkers. Fresh baked muffins and smaller noshes available, too.
VERMONT: THE TRAVELED CUP
St. Albans City
At The Traveled Cup, a cup of freshly roasted brew coffee starts at $2. The cafe is a customer-friendly spot to have a coffee, breakfast, or lunch. They also have a wide tea selection and an assortment of baked treats and quick healthy lunches that are ready to go. Their breakfast paninis and burritos earn high marks. The spot is spacious and child-friendly, and Wi-Fi is available.
VIRGINIA: JAVA SURF CAFE & ESPRESSO BAR
A savory menu featuring fresh fruit, oats, pastries, spinach and bacon scramble, turkey and bacon croissant, and so much more earn this spot high marks from reviewers. Java Surf's cup of freshly roasted brew coffee starts at $2. The cafe is dog-friendly and features free Wi-Fi for patrons, with the beachy vibe adding to the charm.
WASHINGTON: NORTH TOWN COFFEEHOUSE
Located in an old train station, the house drip coffee starts at two bucks a cup, and they also have lots of non-coffee drinks and creamy, house-made gelato, too. A spacious spot designed for groups, North Town has free Wi-Fi for patrons and books, chess games, and other activities at the location.
WEST VIRGINIA: ALMOST HEAVEN DESSERTS & COFFEE SHOP
Almost Heaven is a quaint cafe with hot and cold lunch sandwiches and salads plus Italian-themed cookies and desserts like cannoli and freshly made layer cakes and cheesecakes. Their menu offers a wide selection of coffee and teas. A cup of fresh drip coffee starts at $2.
Colectivo's large sidewalk patio and second-level mezzanine is a spacious area to enjoy your coffee or sip Letterbox Fine Tea, sample treats from nearby Troubadour or order all-day breakfast, sandwiches, soups, salads while people watching. A freshly brewed 8-ounce drip coffee at this cafe near the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus costs $1.90.
WYOMING: PARAMOUNT CAFE
The Paramount Building is a former theater in downtown Cheyenne. The Paramount Cafe's fresh drip coffee is locally roasted and costs $1.65 for a 16-ounce cup. They also serve non-caffeinated drinks and small bites. Fast, free Wi-Fi is offered, and art from local artists covers the walls, and they also have live music occasionally.