The 5 Best Coffee Shops in the World

Having consulted with 150 coffee experts and brilliant baristas, a new book names the best cafés, bakeries and restaurants where caffeine addicts can get the perfect hit from their favourite fix. And of the 600-plus places mentioned, author Liz Clayton has picked her top five. Are they really the best coffee shops in the world? According to these experts, they might just be...

G&B Coffee (Grand Central Market), LA

“For the quality of the drinks, but also for all the systems they’ve put together to provide the best service possible and the best drinks. They are able to deliver what the customers want but also lead them to more specialised cups.” — Nicolas Clerc

“My favourite place to have an espresso is at G&B. I prefer that my espresso tastes more like a filter coffee. I prefer their larger extractions that are served in a Gibraltar glass that you sip at a warm temperature, while saddled up at the bar chatting with friends.” — Laila Ghambari Willbur

“The Fizzy Hoppy Tea soda at G&B was startlingly delicious. I wasn’t quite sure what it was when it was served to me with my espresso, but since it was bubbly, I assumed it was some type of soda water. It was such an amazing complement to the espresso (an Ethiopian coffee from Heart) and I was taken aback. They make it in-house and at the time I had it, it was a blend of two black teas, which they then infused with hops and carbonated it. A lot more gentle on the palate than straight-up soda water.” — Ben Helfen

“G&B is lucky to exist, and at the same time, they’re at the forefront of what’s being done with coffee service, which I think you can say about any business doing anything innovative or new in food. They lucked into an amazing location at Grand Central Market, because for the first time someone saw them as Angelenos in a sea of coffee companies from elsewhere trying to infiltrate the LA coffee market [neither G nor B is from Los Angeles]. The service is casual. You come as you are; they meet you halfway. They somehow manage this dance while maintaining really high quality in the cup, which no one else had really cracked the code to until G&B. They seem to want to rewrite the way everything has been done in coffee to this point, including how much a barista can produce, which has been an amazing thing to observe, but as a customer, all they ask is that you approach the bar instead of queuing in line—the rest is really seamless.” — Ben Kaminsky

“I’ve never cared about coffee pairings. I like the idea of using coffee as an ingredient. The only notable way that I’ve really seen it work, though, is in the espresso milkshake at G&B.” — Jay Lijewski

“I like the friendly service and the way that the service model is more akin to a bar than a coffee shop. I often find myself engaging the staff and other customers due to this layout, and that matches the social ideal that I appreciate in a coffeehouse. They consistently add new offerings and this evolution of their menu ensures that I can experience something different on a regular basis. Additionally, I have a lot of friends on the staff and it makes it that much more welcoming.” — Doug Palas

317 South Broadway, Downtown, Los Angeles, California 90013. USA.

La Fontaine De Belleville

It seemed like the talented team behind Belleville Brûlerie was holding out from opening a traditional retail business. Many of the city’s finest cafes already relied on their beans. But in 2016, owners Thomas Lehoux and American expat David Nigel Flynn proved to their fans in the Tenth that their wait was not in vain: La Fontaine De Belleville became the first contemporary specialty cafe to open in Paris in the style of a traditional Parisian cafe. The classically styled corner spot is filled with the vintage charm (and delicious food) you’d expect from the city – replete with a smoker-filled patio – but with, in a new twist, brilliant coffee alongside. And there is wine.

31–33 Rue Juliette Dodu, 10th Arrondissement, Paris 75010. France.

The Coffee Collective

“When I’m in transit in Copenhagen Airport, I usually go to their place in Torvehallerne by taking the metro, which is very easy to do. The Coffee Collective in Torvehallerne is in a food market where you can buy everything you need for your dinner parties. The design of the place is a long and open bar, with an espresso machine and brew bar.” — Sonja Björk Grant

“Consistently exquisite coffee and espresso, knowledgeable and friendly staff, beautifully designed cafes and packaging, and beautifully roasted coffee from some of my favorite coffee farms.” — Andrew Barnett

“The best filter coffee was in Copenhagen at Coffee Collective. The coffees there were so clean and crisp.” — Robert Dan Griffin

“Anytime anyone mentions Copenhagen I immediately think of Coffee Collective. When I started in coffee and learned about Klaus Thomsen (2006 World Barista Champion), I knew I wanted to visit. They were famous for their lighter-style roasting, and they had the World Barista Champion and the World Cupping Champion! It wasn’t until 2012 that I finally got to go there, and I was not disappointed. Their friendly service, the atmosphere of their cafes, and the quality of their coffee are still top in the world in my opinion. If they have Panama Hacienda La Esmeralda on the menu, get it!” — Benjamin Put

“I was blown away the first time I went to Coffee Collective in Denmark. Everything from the setting to the roasting facilities was fantastic. The coffees they serve are amazing.” — Fabrizio Sención Ramírez

Vendersgade 6D, Copenhagen 1363. Denmark.

Heart Coffee Roasters

“The single-origin espresso program at Heart Coffee Roasters is among the most innovative and chance taking I’ve found. They’re out there on the bleeding edge of light roasts, especially in America, and they’re serving these enormous long espresso shots in a cappuccino cup. It is just delicious. You can be innovative and take chances as long as you work really hard and make smart choices along the way.” — Jordan Michelman

“I always have a great espresso experience at Heart Coffee Roasters.” — Andrew Milstead

“The best espresso has come from Heart Coffee Roasters. Wille’s perfectionist nature means the coffee is not necessarily consistent but that it continually improves from the first roast batch of the season to the last. He’s not afraid to make changes, and when he nails a certain coffee, it shows. Sweetness tends to be the name of the game for Heart, and I’ve had some really delicious espressos from that team.” — Ryan Willbur

2211 East Burnside Street, Kerns, Portland, Oregon 97214. USA.

Tim Wendelboe

“Every detail is impossibly considered—a sleek juggernaut of Nordic coffee triumphalism, the canonical place to go and learn just what all the fuss is about light roasting and AeroPresses, but also home to one of the best coffee desserts on the planet: the iced cappuccino. They found a vintage blender that gives this treat this most delightfully fluffy texture—refined and refreshing, yet willing to have some fun, much like the eponymous Wendelboe himself.” — Alex Bernson

“The drinks are almost always impeccable, and the service friendly and professional. It’s beautiful and cozy.” — David Latourell

“Remarkable—one of the great coffee places on earth, in a very unassuming neighbourhood in Oslo. I wonder if many of their customers realise how special it is. I have talked to many Oslo residents who have no idea their city has one of the best coffee shops in the world.” — Nathan Myhrvold

“Tim Wendelboe, as a shop, has an amazing story. Wendelboe designed and built it himself, which no one really talks about, despite the fact that it’s a beautiful bar. The drop ceiling (made out of amazing wood, because it’s Scandinavian) of the former space was repurposed as the bar itself. He sands down and restains the floors black every Easter simply because it’s the right thing to do to make the shop look perfect. The fact that the business has just never had to make a qualitative sacrifice is a product of the fact that he has deep-pocket investors who believe in him (and his marketing value) and also that Tim as a person is so well reflected in the shop. He constantly says, ‘Well, it’s my name on the shop, so I’m accountable if it’s not excellent.’ We’ll probably never see another shop like it, and as he will tell you himself, there will never be another shop (in Norway, at least).” — Ben Kaminsky

“I had my mind reset by Tim Varney at Tim Wendelboe in 2010 when I clicked from ristretto to true espresso—being able to enjoy a properly balanced extraction rather than an intense salty double that was so in vogue in Australia. That absolutely reinvigorated my ability to drink espresso coffee again.” — Emily Oak

“I find Tim’s light roasts to be among the best in the world, especially when brewed with Oslo water.” — Sebastian Sztabzyb

“The world’s best coffee roaster/buyer is Tim Wendelboe.” — Tim Varney

Grünersgate 1, Grünerløkka, Oslo 0552. Norway.