Seattle Is No Longer America's Top Coffee City. Here's Who Is

As the birthplace of Starbucks, anyone would be forgiven for crediting Seattle's reputation as the coffee capital of the U.S. to its association with the world's largest coffee chain. But according to an urban legend, the Emerald City's first noteworthy dalliance with the caffeinated beverage began when a dock worker decided to roast and sell a botched bag of beans he happened upon (via Bean Box). Regardless of whatever origin story you choose to believe, this Pacific Northwest city has managed to maintain its coffee clout over the years amidst an increasingly crowded national market. 

In 2019, when a WalletHub list had the nerve to renounce Seattle of its gold coffee medal by putting it fourth on the docket (behind Berkeley, Vancouver, and San Francisco), outrage ensued. A new list was made, and Seattle coffee lovers took a deep breath as their city reclaimed its place at the top (via The Seattle Times). Two years later, Seattle lost its spot again. Many loyal bean drinkers decided to forsake these kinds of lists altogether, reasoning that Seattle is and always will be a hub of coffee innovation and nerd-dom. Those people will definitely want to plug their ears for the results of the most recent data.

America's top coffee city is... San Francisco

This week, WalletHub struck again with new data that may grind the gears of Seattle coffee lovers. After comparing "12 key indicators of coffee lover-friendliness" (such as coffee establishments per capita to the average price of a "pack" of coffee) across the country's 100 largest cities, the data has spoken. If we're to believe the results of these metrics, San Francisco has swooped in to replace Seattle as the number-one coffee city in America in 2022. Its total score is 63.53, compared to Seattle's 62.58, landing the home of Starbucks HQ in second place. Close behind are Orlando, Florida; Honolulu, Hawaii; Portland, Oregon; and Tampa, Florida. 

We have no doubt that Seattle's fall from the top has nothing to do with the quality of its coffee. If you've ever visited the Pacific Northwest city, you know first-hand that passionate independent roasters pepper every neighborhood. Instead, it's likely that Seattle's docked points are due to cost. The WalletHub data shows that Seattle is one of the most expensive places to buy a bag of beans, sharing turf with Oakland, California and Columbus, Ohio.