The Top Coffee Shops in Salt Lake City, Utah

Enjoy a cup of coffee or two at Publik Coffee Roasters in Salt Lake City
Enjoy a cup of coffee or two at Publik Coffee Roasters in Salt Lake City | © Sara Bateman / Courtesy of Publik Coffee Roasters
Photo of Heather Hamblin
1 May 2021

Due to age-old stereotypes, some people believe you can’t find a good cup of coffee in Utah, but you can. Indeed, the Beehive State has a lively coffee culture. These local establishments aren’t merely duplicating the caffeine scenes in other metropolises – they’re creating something unique, embracing the nuances of Salt Lake City and an underground culture coming to the forefront.

Les Madeleines

Bakery, Diner, American, $$$
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Kouing Amon pastries
Courtesy of Les Madeleines
You’ll get a solid cup of coffee at this modest little bakery on State Street in downtown Salt Lake City – but the baked goods are the reason you should be making every excuse to stop by. Les Madeleines was the first place west of the Mississippi to offer the kouign amann, a pastry so deliciously crunchy, flaky and buttery that it could only have been dreamt up in Brittany, France. If you haven’t tried one before, you’ll have to travel far to find a finer place than here.

Salt Lake Coffee Break

Cafe, Coffee
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Want to know where University of Utah students head to sip triple espressos, snack on freshly made vegan pastries and hummus and play chess until the wee hours of the morning? Salt Lake Coffee Break. It’s a cozy, rather than fancy, coffee shop and cafe that feels like a real community hub, especially among the city’s hip young crowd. You can expect all the usual coffee choices, as well as a rich, velvety Turkish coffee and unique creations such as an irresistible caramel macchiato.

Nostalgia Café

Cafe, Coffee
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Feeling like one of those coffee shops where the characters of a 1990s teen movie might meet, Nostalgia Café is brimming with homey, wholesome charm. You’ll find eclectic, locally created art adorning the walls, students typing away at their laptops with a cream-topped hot chocolate on the go and indie music buzzing in the background. As well as high-quality coffee, it makes great food, including sweet and savory crêpes and breakfast bagels.

Café Niche

Cafe, Coffee, $$$
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The name of this place seems pretty appropriate for an eating establishment that majors in high-quality dishes such as sushi-grade ahi tartare, wagyu steak and almond-crusted steelhead salmon. In other words, there’s nowhere else like it – from the cool and contemporary industrial-style interiors to the impressive commitment to local, first-rate ingredients, including the coffee. It’s addictively good and definitely in a niche of its own.

Kafeneio

Cafe, Coffee
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The tag line for this cute little Greek-themed coffee shop, south of the city center, is “coffee made to please the gods.” And we can only assume that the gods have a taste for experimental and unusual brews, as that’s what Kafeneio does best. According to the menu, Ares’s choice of hot beverage (each one is named after a Greek god) is a butter-rum cinnamon latte drizzled with caramel, while Zeus’s is a thunderous combo of six shots of espresso, frothed cold milk and cinnamon.

Alchemy Coffee

Coffee Shop, Coffee
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In the tradition of true alchemists, the folks at Alchemy Coffee turn what they touch into pure gold. One sip, and you’ll be a convert to their magic touch. The atmosphere is laid-back, but it has a hard-rock vibe as well, complete with skulls and an affinity for the Grateful Dead. Along with great coffee, the food gets rave reviews too. Grab your favorite java, and rock out with a slice of freshly made quiche.

Blue Copper Coffee Room

Coffee Shop, Coffee
Map View
Blue Copper Coffee Room
Courtesy of Blue Copper Coffee Room
The Central 9th district is one of the fastest-growing areas in the city, and Blue Copper Coffee Room is a great place to catch up with friends and people-watch. Small-batch roasted beans come with excellent service in an environment that marries clean, neutral colors with rustic warmth. As well as serving its own roasts, this coffee shop brews beans from other high-quality local roasters, promoting a sense of community among Salt Lake coffee enthusiasts.

Caffe d’Bolla

Coffee Shop, American, $$$
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Caffe d’Bolla is passionate about coffee, and it shows. Taking special care when selecting beans, the cafe procures only single-origin coffees from micro-regions and small farms and estates. It primarily uses a siphon coffee maker, which involves a vacuum effect to extract flavor from the coffee grounds. The whole process is equal parts science experiment and miracle-working. The result is a cup of coffee that has maintained the aromas and delicate flavors of the original beans. Not in the mood for java? Try a refreshing bubble tea with flavors such as coconut, grapefruit and black cherry.

Jack Mormon Coffee Co

Coffee Shop, American
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Behind its cheeky and clever cultural references, Jack Mormon Coffee Co can back up its claims of making some of the best coffee in Utah. Not only is the cafe a great place to enjoy a cup of coffee and a bite to eat, but it also sells the freshest roasted coffee money can buy. Stop in and pick out some green beans, then grab a drink while you wait for them to be roasted. You’ll be walking out with a hand-selected, boutique batch of beans to brew at home.

La Barba Coffee

Coffee Shop, American
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When this company first opened in 2012, it was called Charming Beard, with baristas sporting full lumberjack beards and man buns. The playful image got a grown-up revamp when the place changed its name to La Barba. It has a few locations around Salt Lake City. The attitude has always been a fun and creative one, but when it comes to making coffee, the cafe takes it seriously – the aim being slowing down and basking in the pleasure of a handcrafted drink.

Publik Coffee Roasters

Coffee Shop, Coffee
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“Quality over quantity. Community over corporate. Planet over profit.” Publik Coffee Roasters’ mantra makes us want to hug a unicorn and fight for world peace. It embodies some of the best principles we can think of when it comes to creating great food and beverages and being part of a community. With careful sourcing and a genuine artisanal attitude, it reveals great attention to detail and dedication to good coffee with each cup brewed. You can try it at one of its four locations, including Publik Kitchen, which serves its great coffee alongside a full menu.

Rawbean Coffee

Coffee Shop, American
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Unassuming and approachable, Rawbean Coffee is the kind of coffee shop every neighborhood needs, with friendly baristas getting your beverage to you quickly and correctly. It’s known for creating whimsical specials that play on the current weather, seasons or pop-culture trends. For example, one month saw Star Wars-themed drinks, including the Baby Yoda (a macadamia-nut tan mocha) and the Han Solo (a toffee and caramel latte). Another month saw a Beatles theme, with offerings such as a blackberry mocha called the Blackbird, and a peach green tea dubbed the Yellow Submarine.

The Rose Establishment

Coffee Shop, American, $$$
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Hipsters and artists alike converge on the Rose Establishment, occupying a former lunchtime soup cafe. In the beginning, it only served made-to-order coffee and a few pastries but has grown to encompass a full breakfast and lunch menu, along with its craft coffee drinks. Pastries and baked goods are all made in-house, and the menu is seasonally driven. However, some favorites remain, such as the smashed-avocado toast (avocado, olive oil, black pepper and fleur de sel on a five-seed bread). It pairs perfectly with a pulled shot of espresso.

The Salt Lake Roasting Co

Coffee Shop, Coffee
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As the oldest coffee roaster in the city, the Salt Lake Roasting Co has experience and longevity, sourcing beans that are always Fair Trade- and Rainforest Alliance-certified. The company sells its roasted coffee by the pound and serves it in its cafes, one downtown and the other near the public library. Both are ideal for gatherings with friends or merely alone time while you indulge.

Sugar House Coffee

Coffee Shop, Coffee
Map View
© Laurie Brey / Courtesy of Sugar House Coffee
The name alone has significance for people living in the Sugar House area, south of downtown Salt Lake. It’s an eclectic neighborhood attracting all kinds of customers, from students and artists to professionals and soccer moms. Sugar House Coffee embraces the local bohemian tradition, with changes of location over the years as developments have been made to the historic center of the neighborhood. You’ll find a welcoming and friendly haunt serving amazing coffee from local roaster Rimini Coffee. It also hosts live musicians regularly, so check its website.

Alex Allen contributed additional reporting to this article.

These recommendations were updated on May 1, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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