Embrace the Filter

Laura Robertson’s guide to finding amazing coffee in the United States

Ahhhhhmerica. It's the place where people go to fulfil their hopes and dreams. It's the big pond. The place where a man in a toupee can be a viable presidential candidate. You'd think they have it all. But in terms of coffee, many of us Australians are sorely disappointed.

In early 2015, my family band The Soorleys traveled to the US for the first time. Now, when you have a band made up solely of baristas, coffee roasters & borderline coffee addicts, it's important to get your priorities in order. 

While others wanted to go to Disneyland or to see the Statue of Liberty, we really just wanted to find a good coffee.

Forget being “hangry”, the real struggle is “decaffeinangry” (a state of being severely under caffeinated and in turn, irrationally angry...often accompanied by headaches, wrestling & cussing). It's a real disease. With doctors and everything.

Thankfully, as we were travelling, I wasn’t the only one who became a psychopath without coffee. There were eight of us. Eight humans; all equally dependent on coffee. Eight crazy people in one van. Just picture that for a second. Let it resonate with you on a deep level.

Granted, we are spoiled for choice in Australia. Good coffee is everywhere now. Each us of are inherently “coffee snobs” (as much as I hate that term). I was not prepared for the lack of good espresso coffee in the States. Don’t even talk to me about that low point when I got a White Chocolate Frappuccino from Starbucks. It was Hell. Sweet, sweet syrupy Hell.

Did I get whipped cream on top?

Of course I did.

Did I regret it?


I would hate for you to have to endure the Starbucks experience. I wouldn't wish that upon anyone. Remember how those guys in "Zoolander" died whilst drinking Orange Mocha Frappuccinos at the petrol station? I don't think we can rule out the fact that the frappuccinos had something to do with their untimely death. I wouldn't risk it, if I were you.

Barista Parlor, Nashville TN

Barista Parlor, Nashville TN

Here’s my advice: ditch the milk and embrace the filter. One thing our American comrades can do, is make a great filtered coffee.

Since that first visit in 2015, I have since returned to the States and have compiled a list of killer coffee spots that you should check out when visiting dear Uncle Sam:

Los Angeles, CA - Blue Bottle & G&B

San Francisco, CA - Four Barrel & Sightglass

Dallas, TX - Full City Rooster, Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters, Houndstooth

Kansas City, MO - Thou Mayest & Oddly Correct

Lincoln, NE - The Mill

Madison, WI - Bradbury's Coffee

Rock Island, IL - Rozz-Tox (great for pourovers)

Chicago, IL - Dark Matter, Gaslight Coffee Roasters

Columbus, OH - Fox in the Snow, Oneline, Mission

NYC - AP Cafe, Two Hands, Diner (filters)

Nashville, TN - Crema Coffee, Steadfast, Barista Parlor (great for pourovers)

Austin, TX - Houndstooth

Oklahoma City - Elemental Coffee Roasters


Now you know where to find the good coffee, and I'm sure you have many more to add!

There's always new places popping up & we would love to hear about your favourite American coffee spots. 

Happy travels!


Stay caffeinated,





Laura RobertsonComment