We’re not good at everything here in Seattle — city flags, for instance, or driving, or dating — but, by God, we’re good at coffee.

Early this year, one list maker deemed us only the fourth best city in the nation for coffee lovers. The survey, which totaled the number of coffee-related businesses and attractions in each city, had us trailing Berkeley, Calif.; Vancouver, Wash.; and San Francisco.

That one hurt.

But according to a newer list based on a wider range of factors, we’ve claimed our rightful throne.

In the study released Tuesday, financial outfit WalletHub ranked a coterie of criteria, including the price of coffee; how much a household spends on java; the percentage of adult coffee drinkers; the share of households that own a coffee maker; the number and density of affordable, four-star coffee shops; coffee manufacturers per capita; as well as the number of times people searched for “coffee” on Google.

Here are the top 10 on the list:

  1. Seattle
  2. New York City
  3. San Francisco
  4. Portland
  5. Los Angeles
  6. Chicago
  7. Washington, D.C.
  8. Miami
  9. San Diego
  10. Boston

Though coffee plants reached this continent during the early 18th century, according to PBS, our love affair with the beverage didn’t begin in earnest until the Boston Tea Party of 1773, “when making the switch from tea to coffee became something of a patriotic duty.”

Coffee consumption increased during the Civil War and other conflicts because soldiers relied on caffeine to combat fatigue and boost energy, the network has reported.


These days, Seattle is widely recognized as the coffee capital of the country, no matter what the rankings might say.

“A lot is owed to Seattle for its history,” Ross Beamish, head of wholesale accounts for Anchorhead Coffee, said after the No. 4 ranking came out in January. “We are the home of espresso in America with Starbucks and (Espresso) Vivace. The hallmarks of the specialty coffee movement originated here, and some of the best coffees in the world came to Seattle first.”

The modern rage for a cup of Joe — which is estimated by the Specialty Coffee Association of America to be a $48 billion-a-year market — is bolstered by some research indicating that consuming caffeine in moderation confers multiple benefits that may contribute to longevity, Time magazine reported last year.