I look for good coffee places everywhere I live or travel. This is an attempt to record and remember the successes and failures. Although what make a coffee good can be subjective, over the years I discovered a few necessary, though not sufficient, pre-conditions for my good coffee: 
  • porcelain cups (get out fast if the shop does not have any, unless you like the taste of paper in your coffee), 
  • freshly roasted coffee (in house or outside), 
  • nice latte art (I know, but if you care about your coffee then you want to make it look good), 
  • choice of different types of beans (this is a slam dunk, if they ask you what kind of beans you want, be assured the coffee will be good no matter what you choose), 
  • limited food options (focus should be on the coffee)
  • makes you want to come back

NORTH AMERICA

Princeton
    • Rojo's Roastery - Hands down, one of the best espressos I have ever tasted; they also make a really good cortado.
    • Small World Coffee - Nice coffee shop with better than average coffee and good pastries.
New York
    • Blue Bottle - Popular chain with locations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Tokyo. I went only to the Chelsea, Hell's Kitchen (closed in the meantime), and Rockefeller Center locations and all have pretty great macchiatos.
    • La Colombe - Chain with locations on the east coast and Chicago. I went to the NOHO location.
    • Bibble & Sip - Not as good as Blue Bottle or La Colombe, but still decent coffee in the theater district.
    • Madman Espresso - Several locations in Manhattan. Good cortado.
    • Culture Espresso - The coffee is good but the place is too busy. On their website they say they provide "outstanding coffee in a part of town usually too busy to care". I got the feeling that they did not care much either.
    • Joe Coffee - Many locations in New York. I went into the Chelsea one with little expectations and I was blown away. Really good capuccino. Definitely going back.
Philadelphia
San Francisco
    • Blue Bottle - (see above) Same great coffee at every location. Get it at the Embarcadero and drink it on the pier.
Boston
    • Barrington Coffee - Found the location near the Children's Museum by accident; wasn't disappointed.
Los Angeles
    • Coffee Commissary - Several locations in Los Angeles, the one in Culver City has a nice ambiance.
    • Espresso Cielo - Good coffee close to the beach in Santa Monica.
    • Don't go to Menotti's Coffee Shop in Venice. Although it is highly reviewed, I found the coffee ordinary and the music too loud.
Pittsburgh
Atlanta
    • Octane - One of the few good things to do in Atlanta.
           Detroit
    • The Great Lakes - Detroit is a surprisingly nice town and I think this coffee shop captures its spirit very well. Went to the Midtown location. Best coffee in Detroit.
    • Shinola Cafe - Located in the Shinola store in Midtown, they serve excellent capuccinos.
    • Roasting Plant - They have locations all over US and roast their coffee on location. The macchiato felt rushed and homemade in a bad way.
    • Red Hook - In the Indian Village, very nice location, the coffee was only good.
Denver
  • Novo - Nice place close to the 16th Street Mall
Moab, UT
  • Moab Coffee Roasters - They roast their coffee on site, but their milk-based coffee is a joke. Too much foamy milk, too little coffee.
Springdale, UT
  • Deep Creek Coffee Company - They pretend to be a specialty coffee shop, but their coffee is rushed and not that great. Unfortunately, no competitors in Springdale.
Las Vegas
  • Sunrise - Amazing coffee. This is the first coffee shop I go to when back in Vegas.
  • PublicUs - Another great coffee shop in the surprisingly great Vegas coffee scene. 
Montreal
    • The Mon Cafe - Good latte close to the Notre Dame Cathedral.
           Puerto Vallarta
    • Cafe Catedral - They are clearly trying... Maybe don't get the macchiato.
           Ottawa
    • The Ministry of Coffee - Best coffee I tried in Ottawa
    • Equator - I tried the National Arts Centre location. Really good
    • Blue Bird Coffee - I found it by accident. Good coffee but no as good as the above two locations.
    • Cafe Morala - I did not understand the high reviews of this place. Ordinary coffee.
           Ithaca, NY
    • Ithaca Coffee Company - Was just passing by and decided to try it. Wasn't disappointed. They also make craft beer.
           Syracuse, NY
    • The Kind Coffee Co - This is probably the weirdest coffee place I have been to. No espresso or capuccino, just drip coffee. But really good drip coffee. The owner does everything from roasting to brewing and he can talk coffee all day long.

EUROPE

Frankfurt
Brasov
    • Croitoria de cafea - Forget all the so-called "cafes", this is the place to get excellent coffee in Brasov. They have another location close to Biserica Neagra.
    • Coffeol - Chain coffee shop, ok cofee. Won't go back.
    • Cafeteca - The first thing they asked me after I ordered a capuccino is whether I wanted cinnamon. Enough said so no.
    • Kafea - Found it by accident. Wish I hadn't.
Paris
    • Honor - Close to Place de la Concorde and La Madeleine, hidden in an alley. The coffee is amazing, too.
Bucharest
    • Origo - In my top five ever. After 8pm it turns into a bar with specialty cocktails. Supplies the beans for the next two coffee shops on the list.
    • T-Zero - Hidden on a street close to the Rosetti square, very little place to sit, which is the way it should be.
    • STEAM - Right outside Herastrau Park, a bit off the beaten path, but worth the detour. Excellent espresso.
    • The Coffee Shop - I tried the location on Baniei St. They check off all the conditions on my list except the last; the coffee was underwhelming.
    • M60 - Same as the coffee shop, does not make you want to come back.
            Vienna
    • Balthasar Coffee Bar - Amazing coffee. The first place I'd go back to when in Vienna.
    • Fenster Cafe - The name does not lie, it's a window in a wall. You can chat with the owner while he makes the coffee, which is also excellent.
    • Kaffemik - Also excellent coffee, closer to Westbahnhof.

SOUTH AMERICA

Cusco
    • D'Wasi - By far, the best coffee you will find in Cusco, close to Plaza de Armas. Went first in 2016 and back again in 2018. Still good.
    • The Meeting Place has only drip-based coffee. I drank my first V60-based capuccino and it was very good. 
    • Cafe Extra has a nostalgic setting, comes very well reviewed but their coffee is terrible. 
    • Capuccino Cafe has ordinary coffee but their location is amazing: if you can get a table by the window, it's almost worth it.
Lima
    • Agora Arte Y Cafe - The coffee is ok, the best I had in Miraflores.
    • Lima Cafe - close to the historical center, typical peruvian coffee shop.
    • Don't go to Kulcafe unless you like bad capuccinos with cinnamon.
           Quito
    • Café Galletti - They have several locations, I tried the one near Plaza Grande. Coffee was ok but nothing to write home about.
           Bogotà
    • Arte y passión café: Escuela de baristas - Near Plaza Bolivar, they have coffee from every region of Colombia and they can make it any way you want (V60, chemex, drip, French press, aeropress, espresso machine). I went twice in the same day. They even have a menu for the latte art.
    • Varietale - Another great coffee shop in Bogotà. It seems you cannot go wrong with coffee in Colombia.

ASIA

Tokyo
    • Cafe L'Ambre - This article says it all.
    • Omotesando - One of the best macchiatos I have ever drank. The Tokyo location closed in 2015 but you can find other locations in Kyoto or Hong Kong.
    • the Roastery by Nozy Coffee sits on a really pretty street in Shibuya, excellent coffee and good atmosphere, probably the first coffee shop I'd go when back in Tokyo.
    • Funglen has two locations in Tokyo, both in Shibuya, but go to this one for the warehouse-like feeling and the big roaster in the middle.
Bangkok
    • Pacamara - I tried the Rainhill location, on Sukhumvit road. Best capuccino I tasted in Bangkok
    • Gallery Drip Coffee - Drip only, but in style
    • Bangkok has surprisingly good street coffee. Try it iced.
    • Rocket is very well reviewed but I found the coffee overpriced and average. Tried the Silom S.12 location.
Chiang Mai
    • Akha Ama - Way above any other coffee I tried in Thailand.
    • Graph - Good enough espresso on a side street in the old city.
    • Mountain Coffee - Good coffee in a very nice setting.
           Siem Reap
    • Hive - Good coffee, though terribly overpriced given the location; you could probably eat the whole day in Siem Reap with what I paid for a capuccino