Tag Archives: airports

The Best Airports for Coffee Lovers (and Must-Try Cafes!)

Traveling is exhausting, and there’s nothing more frustrating than paying too much for a mediocre cup of coffee at the airport. Here’s some insurance against that scenario: a guide to the best airport coffee in the world.

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Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)

O’Hare is the busiest airport in the world by the number of takeoffs and landings, and there are a correspondingly large number of fantastic coffee shops at the disposal of travelers. The best of the best are Metropolis Coffee and Kofe by Intelligentsia, both located in Terminal 5. Metropolis does their own roasting with a focus on their espresso, which is complex and beguiling. Kofe features brews by Intelligentsia, a local favorite, and also offers a selection of snacks and baked goods.

As a bonus, Argo Tea has three locations in the airport in Terminals 2 and 3, and features a calm atmosphere as well as a wide selection of black, green, white, and herbals teas.

Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)

Philadelphia PHL’s Guava & Java, located in Concourse B, features coffee roasted by the local experts La Colombe, and is known for their single-origin blends. They also serve innovative smoothies and juices such as the Mixed Berry Tea Infusion.

Le Bus Cafe is another local option at the airport, also serving La Colombe coffee as well as excellent breads, pastries, and sandwiches. It’s the perfect place to stop for a great cuppa as well as a great meal: offerings such as the Thai turkey salad or the Chili Roasted Chicken sandwich are far better than average airport fare.

Portland International Airport (PDX)

There are two places in Portland that offer coffee by the excellent Stumptown Coffee Roasters, based in Portland but now nationally famous. Travellers in a rush should stop by Flying Elephants, which offers a variety of to-go meals, but those with a little extra time should be sure to visit Country Cat, where they specialize in Southern-style cooking with local ingredients. Try the eggs benedict on a biscuit and a glorious Bloody Mary for the best pre-flight meal in Portland.

A word of warning: beware of Coffee People, a former airport favorite. It was sold to Starbucks in 2006 and the coffee hasn’t been the same since.

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Copenhagen Airport (CPH) and Keflavik Airport (KEF)

Copenhagen’s and Keflavik’s spots on this list is secured by the presence of a single exceptional coffee shop in each airport, Joe and the Juice, an outpost of the local cafe. It was named the best airport coffee shop in the world in 2014 by the Airport Food and Beverage Awards, and makes an excellent cup of coffee as well as intriguing coffee drinks like the ginger latte. The hip and buzzing atmosphere of the cafe is supplemented by daily live music. They’re committed to healthy eating, and the juices, smoothies, and sandwiches are optimized for taste and nutritional content. Joe and the Juice rocks, end of story.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

San Francisco’s airport has coffee shops for every traveller’s needs. Those looking for an exceptional fair trade brew should head to the locally-based Equator Coffees and Teas in Terminal 2. Frequent flyers who need something a little stronger than a standard coffee will appreciate the famous Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista Cafe. For a bite to eat as well as a great cup, check out Klein’s Deli and Coffee Bar in Terminals 1 and 3. Their sandwiches are delicious and generously sized and the cookies make a great in-flight snack.

Bonus: Cafe Versailles at Miami International Airport (MIA)

Anyone flying to or from Miami should make time for a stop at Cafe Versailles, especially those in need of a caffeine boost. Cuban coffee is the specialty here, a dark roast espresso sweetened with demerara sugar as it brews. It packs a serious punch. The Cuban sandwiches and pastelitos are also fantastic.

5 Ways to Make the Airport a More Pleasant Place

[Note from the editor: This post was originally posted on NickLoper.com]

Airports should re-stake their claim as the most glamorous and interesting places we’ve invented. You’ve got people coming and going from all over the world, transported halfway around the globe in a matter of hours.

It’s the closest thing we have to a teleportation hub, and it should be awesome.

But more often it’s depressing.

Mired in bureaucracy and procedure, the inherent excitement is lost.

Here are 5 small ways to help.

1. Kill Noise Pollution

The airport is filled with unnecessary noise pollution. The building-wide announcement I would kill first:

The TSA has limited the items that can be transported through the security checkpoint…

First of all, 95% of the people hearing this are already PAST the security checkpoint. It’s irrelevant. And for the remaining 5%, they already know.

If you’re planning on carrying on that full tube of toothpaste, you lose. You’re already at the airport. It doesn’t matter.

And if you’re planning on carrying on a concealed weapon, you don’t care.

It’s pointless.

And the second building-wide announcement to die a much-belated death:

Unattended luggage is subject to search, inspection, and removal…

No one is leaving their stuff unattended (at least on purpose)! We don’t trust our fellow passengers enough to go to the drinking fountain without hauling our luggage with us.

And for the would-be suitcase bombers, they don’t care.

It’s pointless.

2. Streamline Security

We’ve invested millions (billions?) in improving airport security, but are we really any safer?

Let people keep their laptops in their bags.

Let people keep their shoes on.

Let people keeps their belts on.

Security is unnecessarily slow and de-humanizing. Fix it.

3. Improve the Waiting Area

Hook it up with the WiFi. SFO has this figured out.

Where are the outlets? There are like 2 power outlets for every 200 passengers and they’re nowhere near the seats.

Which brings us to the seats. When you have 100 seats for a 300 passenger plane, you can’t help but to have people “puppy guard” the gate.  They have no other option.

Then you tell them not to crowd the boarding area. Which leads to my next point.

4. Kill Boarding Anxiety

I understand this is more up to the individual airline than to the airport itself.

I’m admittedly a reluctant convert to the Southwest system of boarding. With every other airline though, you get people crowding the gate, eagerly awaiting their turn to board.

Jostling for position for no apparent reason. We’re all getting to the same place at the same time, right?

Bryn theory is it’s a competition for overhead bin space.

Southwest effectively kills this anxiety by assigning people a spot in line based on the time they checked in. Of course they’re not that egalitarian; if you want to pay them for cuts you can.

5. Quit Pretending a Kindle Can Crash a Place

Show me one documented instance of an electronic device causing any sort of problem, and I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong.

But in the meantime, what’s the point of pretending a cell phone or a Kindle or a Gameboy (or whatever kids these days play with) can bring down a plane?

Just like the joke goes, Al Qaeda went through an awful lot of unnecessary trouble if all they needed to do was leave their phone on.

So those are my 5 tips for making the airport a more pleasant place. What would you add?

Nick Loper

Nick is an amateur swimmer, skier, business student, softball player, golfer, dog walker, mountain climber and Mariners fan. By day you can find him walking at his treadmill desk, blogging at nickloper.com, selling shoes, and helping people reclaim their time by hiring virtual assistants.

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