The ultimate coffee shop playlist
A collaborative effort between coffee shops that pair good coffee and good jams with doing good for their communities
Local coffee shops have become more than just a place to get your caffeine fix. They’ve become community gathering spaces — ones that foster creativity and culture and reflect and elevate the neighborhoods they serve.
They’re also typically the neighborhood spots with the best vibes and playlists around. For this snack, we compiled music recommendations from a handful of purpose-driven coffee brands and shops across the United States, from Cape Cod to Los Angeles.
It’s time to treat yourself this morning: Pour yourself a cup of your favorite roast, crank up the jams in our playlist below, and read on to learn more about the inspiring coffee businesses who selected the songs!
Portrait Coffee (Atlanta, GA)
Based in southwest Atlanta, the six-person team of Portrait founders is rewriting the specialty coffee narrative to include the Black and Brown folks who have been formerly cropped out of it. They’re focused on lifting up Atlanta’s historic West End — which has a rich history of Black culture and entrepreneurship — by creating meaningful career opportunities for Black and Brown members of the local community.
In 2019, John Onwuchekwa, Marcus Hollinger, Khalid Smith, Shawndra Onwuchekwa, Aaron Fender, and Erin Fender joined forces to build out Portrait’s brand and cafe, which offers “exceptionally roasted coffee and culture in a socially conscious way.” The founders raised more than $35,000 on Kickstarter and $50,000 from Google for Startups' Black Founders Fund to finance their vision.
Snowy Owl (Cape Cod, MA)
Co-founded by Shayna Ferullo and Manuel Ainzuain in 2015 — way out on the easternmost arm of Massachusetts — Snowy Owl’s three cafe locations are frequented year-round by Cape Cod locals and tourists alike. They serve “meticulously prepared coffees” in an approachable and inclusive environment where staff members treat each other like family.
Snowy Owl sources their coffee from small-lot growers and cooperatives that emphasize environmental sustainability, economic development, and educational enhancement programs. In addition to focusing on quality, they also aim to be as transparent as possible with customers — prioritizing education along with the quality of their coffees.
Shop Snowy Owl coffee and goods here.
Drip Coffee (Brooklyn, NY)
Drip Coffee founder Nigel Price believes good coffee is worth slowing down for. Nigel started out serving coffee by himself from a mobile cart, and he now operates several Drip locations in neighborhoods around Brooklyn and Manhattan. Even more impressive, Drip was recently named one of Time Out’s best coffee shops in the entire city.
Their hand-crafted pour-overs — the ones you take your time making and drinking — are the real attraction, but they’ve expanded their offerings if you’re in a rush, too.
No Free Coffee (Los Angeles, CA)
No Free Coffee was founded by creative producer Mario Kristian as a part-cafe, part-streetwear pop-up shop where style and art and community come together around great coffee. They offer a limited specialty coffee menu with rotating baked goods, all served from tiny windows that double as art installations inspired by the Renaissance-era wine windows of Florence, Italy.
Mario’s background is in film and production — in the past he’s worked as a music video producer — but he invested significant time into studying the coffee-making process and coffee bean sourcing to get No Free Coffee up and running.
Follow along with No Free Coffee (and snag some merch) here.