2. Gimme! Coffee, New York


The upstate New York coffee roaster turned New York-centric chain of independent shops was making "Third Wave" coffee before it was even a thing. Consider what Ben Phelan wrote in GQ back in 2007, when Gimme was just seven years old: "... A new wave of coffee shops -- like Brooklyn's Gimme [and peers around the country] -- have a radical idea about coffee: that it can be elevated above mere drinkability and can be a culinary product equal to single-malt Scotch." Since then, Gimme has transformed into the godfather of craft coffee, paving the way for today's flashier coffee chains like Blue Bottle.

Thanks to carefully sourced, "farm to cup" beans, artisanal roasting (they were recently named Roaster of the Year by Roast magazine), and its homegrown roots, Gimme is quite often the standard that coffee shops and up-and-coming chains hope to achieve. Not to mention a crop of baristas that are hard to find in today's day and age. Wrote one barista on the company blog as a sort of "in defense" of the profession, "As a Barista, I have a lot of priorities that I'm juggling at any given time -- coffee information, flavor notes, side work, how many trips downstairs I have to make with crates of milk -- but if I'm doing my job right, the top of that list should be the person standing across the counter from me. Even if he or she chooses to ignore me. Even if he's on his phone or she's wearing sunglasses. Even if he orders a caramel macchiato or a dry cappuccino or an espresso to go. I don't care. I still love them. And I'll still make them the best coffee I can because there are no rules for me when it comes to customers."

Find a Coffee Shop Near You »