how to find coffee when travelling

One of my favourite little rituals when we were travelling around the US in our camper van Elvis was finding a new place for coffee every day. I like not knowing where you’d end up, finding places in the middle of nowhere with great, locally roasted coffee, and getting a vibe for the area; who lives there, what they tend to do etc.

northern california coast

Some of the places that stand out from this ritual are; a coffee shop in Mammoth Lakes called The Looney Bean; a place along the only accessible road (the others were blocked by snow even in May!) to Mt St Helens that was firing up the grill and prepping hotdogs, potato salad and coleslaw ready for a long weekend; and a store and coffee place along Hwy 1 in North California. There was nothing much around it but the store was full of cool household items and gifts, and some pretty good coffee too.

Whilst I hate to admit it, I also liked stopping off at petrol stations to get my morning coffee fix. The coffee wasn’t the best but they always had a variety of different types, tonnes of syrups and different flavours of creamer: things you don’t see back home. The novelty factor won me over.

I liked driving and stopping off at random places, sometimes we wouldn’t be able to find anywhere apart from a McDonalds or a Starbucks.

Starbucks is somewhere I wouldn’t step foot in back home, but in the US it became our staple due to the guarantee of a toilet, free wifi and not feeling guilty about taking up a seat while we used their internet for a few hours.

We may have also spent a few evenings parked up by a Starbucks whilst we sat in Elvis streaming a film or TV show…

Introducing discoveree

discoveree app

Thom created an app that solved all our problems of not being able to find anywhere cool/somewhere that wasn’t a Starbucks and we’ve been using it ever since. We’ve called it discoveree and you can access the full, free app on

It’s currently available in England, Vancouver BC, Portland and Seattle. It makes it super easy to find a cool place to visit with friends for a catch up, somewhere to work, or somewhere with a stylish interior for those all important Instagram photos.

How to use discoveree

You simply type in where you are, or where you’re headed to and press “search area”. You’ll then see coffee shops in that area pop up. You can filter these by “buzziness”; a score we’ve come up with based on how many people are talking about it online amongst other things; whether the coffee shop is good for working, socialising or relaxing.

You can also look at photos of the different coffee places before you visit too.

discoveree’s unique features

We created it the app’s features on things we look for while travelling or exploring at the weekend.

For that reason, you’ll see we’ve included a section for each coffee shop that shows whether people tend to use laptops there (meaning there’s probably wifi and it’s a good place for working), whether there’s a bakery (we love our morning croissants!), donuts (why not?), or latte art for that artsy top-down photo of your coffee that’ll look great on your Instagram feed.

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These features make it different from Google. We often found a place with good reviews on Google only to find that you weren’t allowed to use laptops (looking at you super-hipster place in Shoreditch), or there was nothing to eat when our milk had gone off in the van and we just needed some breakfast! But, with discoveree we’d had known this before making our way over there.

Give it a go and let us know what you think

The app is a work in progress and Thom’s looking at including a section that shows how fast the wifi is too. We’d love it if you used it and let us know what you thought!

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