Best coffee houses

Vacation has tracked down the best cups of coffee in the US of A, and we're pretty sure we'll never sleep again. Jitters and mood swings aside, these cafes have brought coffee roasting and brewing to new heights, perhaps signaling a new travel trend: the Coffee Vacation. Road trip, anyone? Just be careful..."I had three cups of coffee today" isn't a good excuse for speeding.

1. Intelligentsia – Chicago & LA

Instead of small talking about the weather with your barista, discuss the intricacies of the resident coffee beans, all bought directly from Central America, South America, and Africa. If it seems you’re getting less than what you paid for, there’s a reason – founder Doug Zell disapproves of serving huge, watered down portions. Size doesn’t always matter when you’re drinking real coffee.

2. Victrola – Seattle

Coffee is taken so supremely seriously here, that a parody’s got to be in the works. Chit chat about a particular coffee bean with a Victrola employee, and you’ll feel like you’re starring in Sideways II: the Coffee Metaphors. Victrola is, arguably, Seattle’s best roaster, and if you know anything about Seattle, you know that claim to fame beats any hyperbole.

3. Blue Bottle Coffee Company – San Francisco

Even though there’s nowhere to sit, you’ll never taste a better coffee-to-go – roasting beans is a delicate art here, and it helps that it’s all organic. San Fran tourists should pencil this into their morning itinerary as the place to go for a pristine pick-me-up.

4. La Colombe Torrefaction – Philadelphia

It’s difficult for La Columbe’s loyal patrons to express how exquisite the espresso really is here (read the doting, scatterbrained reviews online), so we suggest you simply give it a try. While the menu’s limited, there’s little risk of disappointment.

5. Gimme! Coffee – New York 

Is it possible for a cup of coffee to change your life? According to this espresso bar’s fans – overly-critical and overly-caffeinated New Yorkers – very much so! Next time you end up in the Big Apple, stop by Gimme! and hang around for seconds. Trust us; at the very least, it’ll add a little spunk to your step and you'll be able to keep up with the speedy locals.

6. El Diablo – Seattle

So, you want something different, huh? How about something spicy? Put a Latin twist on your next cup of java at El Diablo, which also features tasty pastries and a lively atmosphere.

7. Ninth Street Espresso – New York

It’s hard to step foot into a Starbucks once you’ve gotten your caffeine fix from this East Village hotspot. Don’t fit in with the loitering beatniks? Tune them out while you savor a luscious cappuccino.

8. Urth Café – Los Angeles

Although you can order this café’s signature organic coffee beans from afar, there’s nothing quite like sipping a latte and hipster watching in the actual brick-and-mortar LA location.

9. Octane Coffee Bar & Lounge – Atlanta

If you like a little conversation with your coffee, this Atlanta hangout is for you. Though, if you prefer to use the free Wi-Fi and bang away on your lap top, or stare blankly off into space without interruption, that’s fine, too. No barista will fumble your order because each one undergoes a month of training before getting one-on-one face time with customers. The teas and the desserts aren’t too shabby, either.

10. Stumptown Coffee Roaster – Portland, Oregon & Seattle

It’s certainly the best cup of Joe in Portland, and is now taking Seattle's coffee-crazed scene by storm.