Living in the World's Best Coffee Cities

May be it's all that caffeine in their bloodstreams, but talking about the best coffee in the world, definitely seems to get people fascinated. Thomas Jefferson once called coffee "the favorite drink of the civilized world". And the founding father wasn't far off the mark. Arabs, in the 15th century were the first to cultivate coffee, and a Frenchman was responsible for the debut of the world's first commercial espresso machine in 1843. There have been significant leaps forward since then. In most of the world's top coffee cities, the coffee isn't just good, it's great. They have created a unique culture around it and some of them even have invented their own distinct coffee blends. For them café is more than just a place to enjoy a warm drink – it's a hub of culture and conversation for locals and visitors alike, and coffee is not just a jolt of caffeine, it's an experience. Here are some of the best cities to savor the best cup of coffee:

Melbourne Coffee

Image : Rae Allen Wikmedia Commons

Melbourne, Australia

For a city which goes by the name Australia's coffee capital, it's no surprise that Melbourne's coffee spots are as varied and eclectic as their clientele. The coffee culture in the city is just incredible and coffee is an integral part of Melbourne's lifestyle – they even host an annual coffee expo. No matter where you go, it is easy to find great coffee. It may be a long way to travel for just a cup of coffee, but a proud history of independent cafes and innovative coffee brewing techniques make it worth the journey.

Seattle Coffee

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Seattle, United States

No list of best coffee cities would be complete without including the city that is behind the world's largest coffee chain. If there's one American city that's constantly ahead of the game, it's Seattle, and Starbucks is only a small part of the hometown coffee scene. Many locals and visitors alike prefer the independent spots that feature local art on their walls and fair trade coffee in their cups. Before you take a sip at your espresso at a Seattle coffee bar, you can often get to know where the coffee beans came from, how those beans were roasted and a short resume if the Barista who's making you one.

Vienna Coffee

Image : Querfeld Ges.m.b.H.

Vienna, Austria

Many cities are fiercely proud of their café culture, but only Vienna can claim that it has been listed by UNESCO in 2011 as an Intangible Heritage. Though one of Europe's smaller capital cities, Vienna offers the best of both the worlds: the cultural amenities of a big metropolis with the affordable housing of a smaller city. With more than 20 coffee drinks to choose from at most of the establishments, there's a lot to coffee in Vienna, and waiters are patient to walk the curious first-timers through the many options.

Taipei Coffee

Image : Luke Ma Flickr

Taipei, Taiwan

As surprising as it might sound to the uninitiated, great coffee is part of Taiwan's national heritage. Freshly roasted high-quality beans are standard, and slow, labor-intensive innovative brewing methods pave the way to genuinely good coffee. The island was once a Japanese colony, and it is common for the shop employees to smile and bow when someone walks through the doors. And nowhere in this friendliness more apparent than in the city's surprisingly unique cafes. Though other cities in East Asia are known for their café culture and coffee drinks, Taipei seems to be the only Asian city that celebrates the essence of the bean, each in a unique and delicious way.

Havana Coffee

Image : Bruce Szalwinski

Havana, Cuba

In Cuba, coffee belongs to its own food group. Cubans love their coffee, which is often served strong, black and sweet in small espresso-sized cups. To drink coffee in Havana is to join the rhythm of the city, and coffee houses are sprouting by the minute in Havana, but you cannot go past local classic Café de las Infusiones. Much of the local energy seems to be underpinned by Café Cubana, the full-bodied espresso mixed with sugar as it brews that signals the end of the meal. It's good to know that many of these coffeehouses grind beans are sourced directly from the country's Escambray and Sierra Maestra mountains.

Rome Coffee

Image : Chino at en.wikipedia

Rome, Italy

Words like 'latte', 'cappuccino' and 'espresso' are all Italian, so it won't come as a surprise that coffee is so much a part of Italian culture, and the country's capital overflows with café culture. Italians take their coffee seriously. In Rome, do as the Romans do, and be precise about what you're drinking. This buzzing city thrives on caffeine, in the form of cappuccinos, macchiatos, espressos and more. You won't have to travel far to find a café in Rome, and just like its pastas and paintings, coffee is a form of Italian art. Great care is taken in choosing the perfect beans, picking the machines and even presenting the drinks.

Lisbon Coffee

Image : DIMSFIKAS Wikmedia Commons

Lisbon, Portugal

People get seriously poetic about coffee in Lisbon. In the Portuguese capital, coffee is an art form. The delightful combination of a stories café culture and a fantastic cup of coffee can do that to a person. Unlike the Italian espresso, Portuguese espresso is pulled a little longer and served in a large cup, less bitter than a Spanish café solo and as potent as Turkish coffee, giving you a little more to savor. Beautiful scenery, friendly people and constant espresso consumption, Portugal is a lovely place to be. In Lisbon, you're never more than a couple of meters away from a traditional Portuguese coffee bar.

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