Alexandria has more coffee shops per resident than nation’s top metropolises – Alexandria Echo Press

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ALEXANDRIA — Coffee, coffee, coffee. They say it’s an acquired taste, but even so, it goes without saying that it is a very popular drink.

In fact, according to

, it is the number one drink of choice in the United States. In a survey, 59% said they consume the caffeinated drink daily. And those numbers seem to match up locally.

A 2022 study from ApartmentGuide listed the U.S. cities with the most coffee shops per capita. Number one was Berkeley, California with one coffee shop for every 2,073 people. Then it went to Vancouver, Washington with one per 2,224 people, San Francisco, California with one per 2,297 people and Seattle, Washington, with one per 2,308 people.

Other top contenders include Orlando, Florida; Honolulu, Hawaii; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and New York City (maybe that’s why it’s known as the “city that never sleeps”).

The Echo Press wanted to find out where Alexandria would rank on the list. After all, the “easy to get to, hard to leave” town definitely has its fair share of coffee shops:

  • Common Grounds Coffee House
  • Deja Bleu House of Coffee
  • Hello Beautiful Boutique and Coffee Shop
  • Two Caribou Coffees
  • Two Starbucks
  • Scooter’s Coffee
  • Dunn Brothers Coffee
  • The Edge Co.

Calculations show that Alexandria, with a population of 14,690, has one coffee shop for every 1,469 people, ranking the home of Big Ole well above the metropolises mentioned above. Those numbers don’t include popular coffee-sipping spots like Travelers Inn, Northwoods Cafe, Jan’s Place and of course, The Coffee Pot, among others.
And still, that doesn’t seem to be enough.

On Monday, Dec. 19, a conditional use permit and replat for a drive-in Caribou Coffee from Java Companies out of the Twin Cities were both recommended for approval by the Alexandria Planning Commission and will go to the City Council for consideration next Tuesday, Dec. 27, according to Mike Weber, Alexandria’s community development director.

A diagram provided by the planning commission displays the layout of the new Caribou Coffee located to the east of Viking Bank.

Contributed image

The third Caribou would be located at 4277 Dakota Street where it will share a driveway with Viking Bank.

The Echo Press wanted to find out how locals feel about coffee. From social media polls on the newspaper’s Instagram and Facebook sites. Angela Rantasha says she consumes coffee up to four times a week and goes to local coffee shops to “socialize, have work meetings and support local (businesses).” When asked if there should be more she said, “Yes, why not? Every shop has a different vibe that attracts their tribe.”

“I have a cup of coffee every morning at home. But about once a month, I like to go to one of the coffee shops and meet a friend,” said Karen McBrady. “I love sitting in one of their cozy little corners with a beverage, not always coffee, and have some great conversation.”

Although Sandy Schoenack thinks there are plenty of “great coffee shops to choose from” already, she goes to “support our community.”

The history of coffee is rooted in myth and legend as it goes back farther than history was recorded. But, recent history shows that its popularity in the United States is rooted in one of the most famous events in our nation’s history; it started with a tea party.

According to the

National Coffee Association USA

(NCA, established in 1911), coffee entered the ‘New World’ in the mid-1600s, in present-day New York.

Thomas Jefferson was quoted on Feb. 14, 1824, in a letter to an Edmund Rogers, “Coffee, the favorite drink of the civilized world.”

During the pre-birth of the United States, coffee houses began to pop up throughout the colonies even though tea remained the more popular beverage. That is until King George III implemented a large tax on tea which led to the famous colonists’ revolt known as the Boston Tea Party.
Since then, coffee began to grow in popularity as American citizens’ drink of choice. A trend that continues to rise today.

2020 data trends

collected by the NCA found that since 2015, coffee consumption among Americans has increased by 5%. A total of 62% drink coffee every day and the average drinker consumes over three cups per day.

The drink’s popularity even survived COVID.


Drinking warm beverages such as coffee swirled in a fun pattern can be a light in the dark of winter.

Alexandria Echo Press file photo

“Coffee popularity not dampened by financial concerns, even though the number of coffee drinkers who say their financial situation is worse than it was four months ago has increased by 59% since January (2020),” according to the NCA.

While it appears coffee has cemented its position in society from casual sippers, and early morning risers to loose lip gossipers and all those in between, some predict a future without coffee.



from National Geographic reports that by 2050 there will be a decrease in land around the globe suitable for growing coffee beans as a result of climate change.

“By 2050, in all three climate scenarios, the number of regions most highly suited for growing coffee declined by 50 percent. The decline was primarily the result of increasing annual temperatures in coffee-producing countries like Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Colombia,” according to the article. “Scientists and farmers are already experimenting with crossbreeding certain crops to create hardier traits that can better survive climate change. In some regions, as in the state of Georgia and Sicily, entirely new species of crops are being planted. But the study cautions that may not be enough.”

At the same time, the article also mentioned that there may be some land that could see an increase in suitability for the plant but not as much as the decrease.

For now, it’s fair to say there is plenty of coffee to go around in the Alexandria area.

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