The 50 Best Cities to Start a Coffee Shop in the US

Do you have an itch to be your own boss? Of course you do, and you’re not alone. In fact, 15 million US workers were self-employed in 2015. The US economy is thriving and 64 percent of Americans drink at least one cup of coffee daily—making now the perfect time to pursue your dream of starting a coffee shop.

Make your new coffee house stand out by serving coffee in a specific niche. Over half the cups of coffee consumed in 2017 were considered specialty coffee.

  • Target gourmet coffee lovers with a unique way of roasting, brewing, or serving their cup.
  • Engage animal lovers by opening a cat café that allows customers to play with adoptable pets.
  • Appeal to the work-from-home crowd by offering free Wi-Fi, comfortable seating, and a plethora of electric outlets.
  • Attract socially conscious customers by using (and promoting) organic and fair trade ingredients.
  • Draw in an artsy bunch with a trendy location, local art on the walls, and live music

Methodology: We compared the best large cities to start a business and the best coffee cities with the fewest coffee shops per capita. We then adjusted the score to give twice the weight to the cities with the fewest coffee shops. Factors include labor costs, rent affordability, cost of living, household spend on coffee, highly rated coffee shops, and coffee shops with free wi-fi.

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2017 U.S. Specialty Coffee Consumption Trends


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