12 Great Airport Alternatives to Starbucks

Coffee on the Fly

I love a good cup of coffee. And while I enjoy a nice cup of Starbucks, I like to try different brands. And while most airports have a Starbucks or other national brands like Peets, Caribou and Seattle’s Best, there are also local brands represented. When they’re available in the terminal, I’ll always try out the local talent.  Below are 12 coffee places you should put on your list for your next trip.

  • Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall AirportMayorga Coffee, located in the Concourse A food court, features freshly roasted organic coffees from around the world, along with your usual favorite coffee-based drinks and teas.
  • Keflavik Airport:  If you’re flying to Europe via Iceland’s Keflavik Airport, you will have a layover. And even if you’re final destination is Iceland, you will have a wait for the buses that transfer you to Reykjavik. During our family vacation to the Scandinavian island nation, we perched ourselves at local favorite Joe and the Juice. With outlets pre- and post-security, the shop offered locally roasted coffees in different sizes, along with coffee-based drinks, pastries, sandwiches and an amazing selection of healthy smoothies and shakes.
  • Portland International AirportCoffee People is a local favorite that was sold to California-based Diedrich Coffee, which also owns Gloria Jean's Coffees. You can get your basic cup of Joe, along with coffee drinks and pastries. It has one pre-security and four post-security shops. 
  • Boise Airport: Big City Coffee is a local woman-owned cafe that not only serves assorted coffees and espressos, but it also serves breakfast and lunch.
  • Austin-Bergstrom International Airport:  Founded in 1995, Austin Java claims to offer travelers a true taste of Austin. It features coffees from around the world, along with popular flavors like Texas Pecan. It also offers fresh pastries.
  • London Heathrow Airport:  London-based Caffe Nero was founded in 1997 and focuses exclusively on hand-blended and roasted Italian coffees. Its eight outlets at London Heathrow -- pre- and post-security - offer a guaranteed 15-minute menu for travelers, including pastries, cookies and sandwiches.
  • General Mitchell International Airport: Formed in 1993, Colectivo takes pride in sourcing coffee from its origin and roasting it in-house to perfection. It also offers salads, sandwiches, and pastries, with outlets in the Main Terminal, along with Concourses C & D.
  • Miami International Airport: Every time I’m at this airport, I make a beeline to Cafe Versailles for a cup of Cuban coffee -- an espresso shot that’s sweetened with demerara sugar. There are three outlets post-security in Terminal D, one in Terminal F and one in the E Satellite. Be patient, because there’s always a line. And if you’re hungry, try the empanadas and the guava and cream cheese pie.
  • Salt Lake City International AirportMillcreek Coffee Roasters is a local favorite with an outlet in the airport’s Concourse C. The owners visit countries of origin to be sure that farming practices are sustainable and fair, then roast the bean on site. it also serves baked goods, sandwiches and paninis.
  • Zurich International Airport: The brainchild of Claude Nobs, a trained chef and a founder of the Montreaux Jazz Festival, Montreaux Jazz Cafes are also located in Geneva International and Abu Dhabi International airports. They feature great coffee drinks, along with foods named after international musicians who have performed at the world-famous jazz festival.
  • Denver International Airport:  The twist of family-owned Dazbog is its focus on its Russian heritage and traditions when roasting coffee. Located in Concourse C near Gate 47, it serves all your favorite coffee drinks, along with teas and pastries.
  • Albuquerque International SunportBlack Mesa Coffee/Bakery has two outlets in the airport --  Concourse A near Gate A9 and in the mail terminal pre-security. Coffee lovers can get cups of the store’ namesake blend, along with other coffee types and favorite coffee-based drinks. It also serves smoothies and iced coffee drinks, along with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.​