#7 Leslie Coffee Co. in Wichita, Kansas

“There are still plenty of smaller cities around the country where you can open a pretty good coffee shop, and reel in the accolades, but Wichita is not necessarily one of them; Kansas is no stranger to local coffee, or places to drink the stuff, and when Sarah Leslie decided to move home from New York, she was definitely going to have to raise the bar. Having years of industry experience definitely helped—Leslie recently served as chair of the Barista Guild of America; in her 2,000-square-foot shop, inhabiting the bright and beautiful ground floor of an old brick structure in the city’s happening Delano neighborhood, the visitor can immediately sense that someone who knows a thing or two about coffee shops is in charge here—everything just goes, everything flows beautifully. The shop isn’t just woman-owned, it’s largely woman-powered, too; Leslie operates on a sustainable model that ensures a living wage without asking for tips, providing the proper training to ensure that the rotating selection of coffees results in some of the most exacting espresso drinks for miles around. Any city in the country would be fortunate to have a place run with this much care; Wichita got lucky.”

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