Top Coffee Shops in Houston
Where You Bean?
The Houston coffee scene is excessively friendly in a way that is so uniquely Houston. Owners of coffee shops, baristas, managers, and roasters all support and encourage each other instead of operating as competitors. Different coffee shops will host pour-offs with the city’s best baristas, hold charity events, and generally intermingle by bonding over the universal love of a great cup of Joe.
Sure, Houston might land on the national radar for its position in the energy, medical and aerospace sectors, but the Third Coast city is also a front runner in the coffee biz, too.
It's been more than a decade since Houston was designated as a green coffee exchange port on the New York Board of Trade – one of only four in the U.S. – a designation that enables unroasted beans to be stored and distributed in the nation's fourth-largest city.
Houston's baristas deliver enough brew to keep Houston buzzing all-year-long. Check out these not-to-miss coffee emporiums:
A 2nd Cup
1111 E 11th Street
Neighborhood: The Heights
Based on the theory of 'good does good', A 2nd Cup was opened to raise awareness of human trafficking issues in the region; in addition to, developing resources to help create a second chance for survivors. What's more, all the beans come from Boomtown Coffee, which are ethically sourced and bought directly from farmers for prices that are usually 50% higher than fair trade practices. Go do some good and support local.
1712 Westheimer Road
Situated in what was once a large, Westheimer-fronting home, Agora is a Greek-owned coffee shop and meeting place that boasts a mix of European ex-pats and low-key neighborhood regulars. There are plenty of tables, chairs, couches and conversation-starting tchotchkes scattered throughout. Up the steep staircase, cozy seating areas and a large-screen TV offer a quiet respite. Expect a vast drink selection of wine and beer, along with light bites.
Antidote Coffee House
729 Studewood Street
Neighborhood: The Heights
The loft-like interior of Antidote Coffee House, with its rubbed concrete floors, exposed brick walls and open vent work is filled with an array of eclectic furniture and artwork produced by local artisans. There's free Wi-Fi and plenty of plug-ins, but you know what they say about all work and no play.
4505 Graustark Street
Although the Black Hole appeals to the everyday, coffee-on-the-way-to-work crowd with its full menu of traditional coffee shop offerings, guests that want to spend a little more time at the Montrose-set venture will also find an expanded, sit-down menu.
1018 Westheimer Road
Greenway Coffee and Tea owners David Buehrer and Ecky Prabanto partnered with the owners of Underbelly and The Hay Merchant to develop their Blacksmith coffee shop on Lower Westheimer. Blacksmith's baristas hail from around the country (New York City, New Orleans, Grand Rapids and Seattle), as well as from Houston. Although the spot appeals to the every day, coffee-on-the-way-to-work crowd with its full menu of traditional coffee shop offerings, guests that want to spend a little more time at the Montrose-set venture will also find an expanded, sit-down menu on offer.
307 Fairview Street
Charm and old-world accents abound at Houston native Morgan Holleman's Montrose-set outpost Boheme. The unpretentious, laid-back spot is popular with nearby residents and a post-college crowd that comes for happy hour specials, free WiFi, and live jazz music, as well as a killer cup of coffee. Choose from an array of organic, fair trade varieties brewed fresh-to-order and espresso made using vintage equipment.
242 W 19th Street
Neighborhood: The Heights
What better name for a Houston coffee shop than Boomtown? This eclectic little café on 19th Street in the Heights sports a gushing oil derrick on its signage—homage to the black stuff that helped build Houston and a fitting tie to the other black stuff served inside. Boomtown Coffee offers its own small-batch artisan roasts, sourcing quality beans from around the world and, if guests get hungry, they can find food trucks frequently parked out front. Looking for something closer? They also have a location in downtown, at 300 Main Street.
2604 Dunlavy Street
Artsy types, poetry buffs and music lovers from all walks of life count Montrose's warm Brasil coffeehouse as a favorite. Brasil frequently hosts musicians of all persuasions, from fusion jazz to experimental noise to ambient grooves and, if you get thirsty during performances, Brasil boasts a wide selection of coffee, wine, beer, soft drinks and herbal teas. You can also order pizza, sandwiches or Brasil's spinach quiche, a fan favorite.
2201 Washington Avenue
Neighborhood: The Heights
Named one of the ‘100 Best Places to Drink in the South,' by Imbibe magazine, Catalina Coffee is serious about its brew. The independently-owned, Washington-Avenue-set shop offers up art-worthy lattes and cappuccinos. Display cases offer an assortment of pastries and light-bites, too. Need to get some work done? CC's has free wi-fi, but outlets are hard to come by, so make sure that computer is juiced-up before stopping in.
218 Gray Street, Suite A
Crepes may be the main claim-to-fame at this Midtown spot, but visitors to Coco's Crepes & Coffee can also expect a bevy of espresso-infused drinks, teas, smoothies and a solid panini selection. Grab a seat inside or score a table on the patio and dig into a signature crepe or build your own from an array of options like roasted-red peppers, feta, basil pesto and several other selections.
3622 Main Street
Just a short distance away on the light rail line, Double Trouble Caffeine & Cocktails is a comfortable space to enjoy a morning coffee...or have an evening cocktail. The two female proprietors created a sophisticated tiki look that mixes bamboo and wood elements with antique chairs and vintage details. While the interior is on the smaller side, there is a covered patio with reliable WiFi and a pleasant soundscape that allows for studying and socializing alike.
A Montrose mainstay, Empire Cafe is a funky, yet friendly vibe, with good food and great desserts. The magic words: half-price cake night. Every Monday, you can sample a slice of pineapple-carrot cake, French chocolate or Toll House Cookie Crunch cake, among others, on the cheap. Pair it with the Peruvian brew. This hip coffeehouse is a hotspot for students busily debating how many piercings are too many, while the more buttoned-up crowd stays for the omelets and fluffy frittatas served all day.
2400 Karbach Street
Neighborhood: Spring Branch
With more than 60 flavors, Katz Coffee remains the go-to roaster for many of H-Town's top coffee shops and restaurants. And while you won't find owner Avi Katz running his own brew shop, he does sell his selections online and stocks some of the city's most beloved coffee bars. Craving a cup? Find Katz at Agora, Empire Café, Waldo's and Inversion Café.
701 W Alabama Street
From a brewing technique perfected over 160 years ago, Siphon Coffee in Montrose brings a slow-brewed cup of joe only found in a handful of places in the U.S. Formed via a vacuum process, water is pulled through a filter, extracting oils and flavors from the coffee beans along the way to create a rich flavor. So flavorful, in fact, added sweetener are said to take away from the natural taste. Siphon also offers baked goods and small bites made in-house including paninis, Argentine-style empanadas and breakfast tacos.
Pro-Tip: Looking for a different type of brew?