1. Ultimo Coffee, Philadelphia
We've come full circle on our list, from one Philadelphia coffee shop to another. What makes Ultimo tick -- and brings in Philadelphians in flocks? Simplicity, and a little bit of love. In the constant battle over which cities have the best coffee culture -- East Coast versus West Coast, New York City versus Philadelphia -- it frequently boils down to the people behind the counter. And many will argue that Philadelphia, often seen as the underdog to the big cities of the Northeast, is hands-down the winner for the best cup of coffee because the coffee scene there is hardly home to the snobbery that can come with "Third Wave" coffee.
Sure, you'll find pour-over drip coffee and Chemex batches at Ultimo, along with niche coffee roasts (all from Counter Culture Coffee Roaster) and artisanal sandwiches (new from American Sardine Bar). But what you won't find at Ultimo is an attitude -- and that's exactly what our panelists noted Ultimo so highly for in the customer service and atmosphere categories. In an interview with Counter Culture Coffee, co-owner Aaron Ultimo put it simply: it's about a good cup of coffee and a good atmosphere in which to enjoy it. "In the end, I love the people in and around the industry, and I love the coffee that I get to drink every day," he said. That, plus the shop's dedication to educating the public with free cuppings and tastings, makes it worthy of a heavy title. (Bonus points for the craft beer store the Newbold location shares its space with -- caffeine to start the day, beer to end it.)
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To see the complete list of "America's Best Coffee Shops," please visit The Daily Meal.