Let’s talk coffee. That sweet, bitter, hot, delicious manna from heaven that hits your tongue and then your soul and lets you know that everything in the world is going to be okay. Ahhhh… coffee.

For the true coffee lover, it’s not just a drink that keeps the people around them safe from one’s wrath every morning, it’s actually a way of life. And a hallmark of that is a love of the independent coffee shop. What could be better than searching a small town (especially in the fall) for a cute little coffee shop – bonus if it’s a used bookstore as well, and curling up in the corner and sipping that sweet hot Joe?

But the reality of the situation is a lot of us are busy, work in cities, and still need a good place to grab a cup to, from, and during work and that often means hitting a chain coffee shop. I think we can all agree they are not created equal. 

So here are the top five ranked in order:

Number 5: Starbucks

Okay, I’m not gonna lie, I hate Starbucks coffee. I also hate that they made PSL synonymous with fall, my favorite season, which should really have a pumpkin as it’s emblem, not a gross bastardization of my favorite drink. Their coffee is over-roasted and loses flavor. The blonde roast should be better but it tastes more or less the same as their Pike Place roast, the regular one. Not great.

But they deserve a spot on the list simply because they have brought so many coffee lovers into the fold. And they have a pretty solid music selection if you hang around the shop. So if you have to go to Starbucks, your experience will be alright.

Number 4: Peet’s Coffee

Peet’s is okay. But it feels half-thought out. They’re coffee is fine. It’s not great, but it’s fine.  We would probably have ranked Starbucks higher than Peet’s if not for anger over the PSL nonsense.

Number 3: Caribou Coffee

Caribou wins hands down against the previous two because of what comes with the coffee. It has the tastiest side treats and the atmosphere is glorious. Caribou Coffee is a reliably pleasant place to sit and enjoy sipping your nice hot brew.

Number 2: McDonald’s

That’s right, Mickey D’s squarely wins the number two spot because their coffee is genuinely delicious. And it’s affordable. Made famous because of that silly lawsuit where the woman burned herself on the coffee, they haven’t shied away from serving it piping hot and it is sooooo good! They used to even give free coffee to teachers one morning a week – not sure if they still do this but they get massive bonus points for helping our teachers get through the day.

Number 1: Dunkin’ 

A runway winner on the only thing that really matters: taste. A hot, black cup of coffee from DD and I am the happiest person on earth. Seriously, it’s not really even a competition. I don’t know what they do to their coffee because I can’t recreate it at home using their beans, but Dunkin’ coffee makes my soul sing.

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About A.P. Suttlemeyer

A.P. is part time jaded Gen Xer, part time enthusiast for all things basic. After living and edgy life in New York City, she moved to the suburbs and had kids. She fully embraces the fact that she is now a basic, bougie babe in the burbs.

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