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 to 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.

EUROPE

Frankfurt
Brasov
    • Croitoria de cafea - Forget all the so-called "cafes", this is the place to get excellent coffee in Brasov.
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 7pm 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.

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