Best Coffee Chains: Top 5 Trendy Shops, According To Experts

There’s no better way to start the morning than with a fresh cup of coffee. And while brewing at home is perfectly fine, it’s always nice to have your favorite drink brewed and prepared for you by your go-to local chain. Better yet, a coffee chain is a great way to get a consistent cup of coffee, regardless of if you’re at home or traveling. As soon as you find a shop with a drink you love, you can get that same flavor anywhere you can find the best coffee chains.

Believe it or not, you may want to add an afternoon coffee run to your routine. Studies suggest that drinking two or three cups of coffee a day could add years to your life by keeping your heart healthy. Researchers found that the world’s most popular beverage lowers the risk of heart disease and dangerous heart rhythms — helping people live longer. The team found that the optimum effects of drinking coffee appeared in people who had two or three cups each day. They had a 10 to 15-percent lower risk of developing coronary heart disease, heart failure, a heart rhythm problem, or dying for any reason.

A simple cup of joe with milk may also protect your body from harmful inflammation, according to researchers from the University of Copenhagen. Their study finds that adding milk to coffee doubles the protective power of the immune cells. To do this work, the team artificially enflamed immune cells and administered various doses of polyphenols that reacted with an amino acid, while others only received polyphenols. A control group received neither. Results show that immune cells treated with both polyphenols and amino acids were twice as effective at fighting inflammation as the cells receiving only polyphenols. Previous findings by this team have found similar results. They’ve found that polyphenols are capable of binding to milk and meat. This is great news for coffee lovers because coffee beans are full of antioxidants while milk is full of protein.

Whether you want to reap the health benefits of a daily cup of coffee or if you just are looking for a quick pick-me-up, a coffee chain is a great place to start. Once you find a favorite, you know a delicious cup of coffee is just minutes away. Of course, there are plenty of coffee chains to choose from. Depending on where you live, you may have several of the most popular shops in the immediate vicinity of your home. That’s why StudyFinds did the research for you, scouring expert reviews to find the best coffee chains. This list includes the most frequently recommended spots but be sure to let us know if you have a favorite we missed in the comments!

Starbucks coffee drinks lined up in a row.
Starbucks drinks (© dontree –

The List: Best Coffee Chains, According to Experts

1. Dunkin’

This classic New England favorite is a staple for many, with more than 10,000 locations worldwide. Offering coffee, donuts, and breakfast items, it’s a perfect morning pitstop on your way to work. “Dunkin’ is one of the largest coffee chains in the U.S. and many Dunkin’ fans are some of the most passionate coffee drinkers in the country,” claims The Daily Meal. “Feelings on the quality of the donuts aside, the coffee is usually consistent across its approximately 8,500 locations nationwide. This alone is an impressive feat. Wherever you go, you can get your Dunkin’ exactly how you like it.”

“Dunkin’ (yes, it has now dropped ‘donuts’ from its name to reflect its increasing emphasis on coffee and sandwiches) is by far the world champion of coffee franchising, and their motto that America Runs on Dunkin’ appears to be true,” claims Franchise Chatter. “Dunkin’ dates back to the mid-1940s when William Rosenberg opened a coffee and donut shop called Open Kettle, then changed the name to Dunkin’ Donuts in 1950. The brand is in a major ‘refresh’ effort that’s making a big bet on additions like espresso machines and cold-brew coffee beverages on tap.”

If your community is in need of a Dunkin’ location, you can actually open one yourself. Each one is individually owned, giving even a major chain a more local feel. As Restaurant Clicks explains, “Dunkin’ operates as a franchise where members of the local community can open a franchise as they choose. This coffee chain has about 12,000 locations in 42 countries. Pivoting from a donut store to a drink store, Dunkin’ focuses more on the creativity of its coffee drinks while still selling donuts as a side option to its customers.”

2. Peet’s Coffee

Coffee purists can appreciate Peet’s for its prioritization of real, organic, quality beans. A coffee from Peet’s is smooth, strong, and flavorful, and the rest of their menu makes sure even non-coffee drinkers have something to enjoy. Also, if you love espresso drinks, you actually have Peet’s to thank. As Restaurant Clicks says, “founded in Berkeley, California in 1966, Peet’s Coffee is credited with introducing the United States to darker roasted coffee like French Roast. It also introduced coffee dark roasted enough to be used as espresso.”

“Operating over 300 shops across the country, Peet’s Coffee and Tea has grown to be quite a coffee giant since its founding in 1966. It all began when the founder, Alfred Peet, left his job in the coffee import business to start his own shop that promised to use only the highest quality beans,” explains Eat This, Not That. “And that’s how Peet’s Coffee and Tea still operates today—by selectively sourcing the top 1% of coffee beans from the world’s best-growing regions.”

Even better, you can still enjoy top-notch Peet’s Coffee without leaving your home. Buying a blend from Peet’s can bring the delicious café experience to your kitchen. As The Daily Meal says, “when it comes to cafés for coffee and tea, Peet’s is a top-tier chain. But beyond that, it’s also one of the best options for brewing your own joe at home. According to a survey from The Strategist that asked writers about their favorite coffee bean brands, Peet’s is great at making these products. Multiple blends produced by Peet’s Coffee were recommended.”

3. Tim Hortons

The obvious choice for Canadians everywhere, Tim Hortons is popular for a reason. With coffee, sandwiches, and donuts, you can surely find a delicious drink and snack on their menu. “Tim Hortons is a full-blown quick-service Canadian restaurant chain, but is best known for its coffee and donuts,” notes Franchise Chatter. “Founded by Canadian hockey legend Tim Horton in 1964 and franchising since 1965, the number of locations has marched steadily upward in recent years from 4,853 in 2019 to the current total of 5,291.”

“Once a staple of Canadian fast-food breakfast, Tim Hortons now proudly serves coffee in several United States locations. There are Tim Hortons spread far and wide, from Maine to Texas,” lists The Daily Meal. “In addition to hot coffee and espresso offerings, Tim Hortons boasts an all-day menu of sandwiches, snacks, and more. Hortons is always there for a cup of joe and a few Timbits — the Tim Hortons equivalent of Dunkin’ Munchkins — but it also rivals Wawa and Sheetz in terms of its build-your-own sandwich menu.”

If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, you’ll particularly enjoy several of the most popular items on the Tim Hortons menu. From breakfast goods to sweet and flavorful coffees, it’s a great place to find a sweet pick-me-up. “The store debuted one of its most loved items, the Timbit (a small, fried doughnut piece), in 1976, and the chain has been adding new baked goods and coffee drinks ever since,” says Business Insider. “Today, the company’s Iced Capp, a blended, frozen coffee drink, is one of its most iconic beverage items.”

4. Starbucks

As the largest coffee chain in the United States, Starbucks is immediately recognizable. Thankfully, their impressive menu of drinks and food make a compelling case for their popularity. “Starbucks is the titan of coffee shops, with over 30,000 shops around the globe,” says Fried Coffee. “Today, you know them as one of the biggest coffee companies in the world having a presence almost everywhere. If you are looking for some kind of iced coffee drink, do try Starbucks!”

white and brown starbucks coffee cup on brown wooden table
Frappuccino from Starbucks (Photo by Angelica Reyes on Unsplash)

“A household name to many, Starbucks opened in Seattle’s Pike Place Market in 1971. By 1987, the brand was a full-blown coffeehouse rather than a small coffee maker in the marketplace. By the 1990s, Starbucks locations were popping up all around the US and internationally,” explains Full Coffee Roast. “They have found longstanding success because they are committed to running a prestigious brand. Their inventive menu items keep customers coming back. These are the reasons they are one of the top coffee chain brands in history.”

One of the best parts of Starbucks is the constantly revolving menu. With seasonal items and new drinks and snacks added all the time, even regular customers can enjoy new Starbucks experiences all the time. As The Daily Meal puts it, “over the years, Starbucks has evolved. The Pumpkin Spice Latte has become a household name, associated with an entire season. Over the years, the food offerings at Starbucks have also improved. Now, you can even buy branded merchandise and coffee pods for brewing at home from this chain.”

5. Caribou Coffee

While those on the East and West coasts may not recognize this one, Midwesterners are passionate about Caribou Coffee. If you find yourself in the vicinity of one, it’s well worth the trip for one of the company’s popular coffee beverages. “To Midwesterners, Caribou Coffee is an old, reliable stalwart,” claims The Daily Meal. “Its attractive locations are often equipped with drive-thrus and quality beans. The menu itself serves a welcome variety of hot and cold drinks, most caffeinated but some not, as well as a solid selection of hot food.”

“Caribou Coffee serves up what it calls high-quality, handcrafted coffee-forward beverages with the motto ‘Life is short. Stay awake for it.’ With a full range of both classic and signature coffee beverages, tea, cocoa, and other beverages, locations also serve up all-day breakfast sandwiches, bagels, and other baked goods,” lists Franchise Chatter. “Caribou is [also] proud of its commitment to sustainability, claiming several US coffeehouse firsts, including the first to reach 100% Rainforest Alliance certification and the first to serve 100% Clean Label beverages (using only real ingredients). It’s primary egg supply for all-day breakfast items features only cage-free eggs.”

While Caribou is still in its infancy compared to many of its competitors, it has grown healthily over the years. Now with hundreds of locations, the company is continuing to expand its reach. As Fried Coffee explains, “the Caribou Coffee Company is another of the younger companies in this list, founded in Minnesota back in 1992, this coffee shop became popular quite fast and is now among the most successful ones out there, with over 600 shops around the world.”

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links.


  1. The Viator Coffee Co
    Has thee most delectable tasting coffee that I have ever tasted. My first latte that I ordered was a euphoric experience! I immediately wanted to order another one, it’s just that good!💋

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