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December 27, 2011 | last updated December 27, 2011 2:25 pm

Coffee by Design gets Zagat nod

Coffee shops are by nature cool, so making it to a top-ten list of the coolest coffee shops in the country is a feat.

Coffee by Design, a coffee shop with four locations in Portland and a micro roaster, has been included in Zagat.com's 10 coolest independent coffee shops. Mary Allen Lindemann and Alan Spear founded Coffee by Design on Congress Street in 1994, when the area was beginning its transformation into a thriving art scene. (Read more about the company's origins here.)

Zagat emphasizes the uniqueness of the coffee shops that made its list this year. "While most people know joints like Starbucks, Peaberry, and even Stumptown, lucky for us, a lot of great independent coffee houses still survive in different areas of the country," Linnea Covington of Zagat writes. "Mainly these places focus on quality drinks, perfectly-roasted coffee, a variety of beans, hip baristas and an artistic quality lacking from the name-brand chains out there."

Other coffee shops that made Zagat's list are El Beit in Brooklyn; Espresso Vivace in Seattle; Firestorm Cafe and Books in Asheville, N.C.; Flipnotics Coffeespace in Austin; Pablos Coffee in Denver; Philz Coffee in San Francisco; Press in Dayton, Ohio; Ristretto Roasters in Portland, Ore.; and Star Lounge in Chicago.

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