Houston, travel, Uncategorized

Visit Houston Part Two – 4 Places for Coffee Lovers in Houston

It is no surprise to anyone who knows me that visiting local coffee shops while I was in Houston was high on my list. I’m not ashamed to admit that I partake of my fair share of Starbucks. Local coffee out here in the suburbs isn’t exactly common; and one thing I came to understand about myself during my time in Houston that I truly am a city girl. Also, just how much I love local coffee shops and how badly we need more of those here. In Houston, it’s about more than just the coffee. It’s about the atmosphere, which often includes a jukebox or some live music. Houston really knows what it’s doing as far as coffee goes. There are a few more places that I just didn’t get to that are now on the “Next Time” list, which is getting longer every day. So if you want to check out more than what is on this list – Tout Suite, Campesino, Siphon, EQ Heights, A 2nd Cup and Black Hole.

Agora {1712 Westheimer}

In my last Houston post I mentioned that some of the coffee shops double as bars, Agora, located in Montrose, is one of them. Nestled behind a greenery-covered and rich, dark wood entrance Agora isn’t what you expect to find in a coffee shop. Agora, which is Greek for “Gathering Place” is a tribute to the owner’s heritage and contributes to the uniqueness of the place.  One of the coolest parts, aside from the Juke Box, is the eclectic mix of furniture that they have put together. It sets Agora apart and makes it what it a truly unique experience. The seating area is quite large, with an upstairs with additional seating and a few TVs to watch a game that might be on. Agora also provides, in true local coffee shop fashion, artisan coffees with specialty flavors that you won’t find just anywhere. The Brown Sugar latte is awesome, make sure you spot that lump of brown sugar on the saucer and drop it in! From the dark wood floors, open floor plan and exposed beams, Agora is everything you should be looking for in a Houston coffee shop.

Catalina {2201 Washington Ave} 

The first stop on my Houston coffee shop tour was Catalina coffee. Similar to other local-style coffee shops in the area Catalina pays attention to what and how they brew their coffee, as well as offering unique flavors and pastries. Local company, Amaya Coffee, is the brew of choice but Catalina often features guest roasters! The beans are obviously a local favorite but lots of people came to pick up a bag during the couple hours that I was there. That says a lot to me about a company. From the exposed brick walls and uneven concrete floor, Catalina teeters on the edge of Hipsterness but it totally works. The one downside is a lot of the seating is family style, long tables and chairs without backs. It doesn’t necessarily make for the most comfortable seating. There is a good amount of space, and fun outdoor seating  to choose from. The Lavender Latte and Spice Latte (when available) are absolutely yummy. And, if they aren’t sold out grab yourself a yummy giant cookie from another Houston favorite Weights+Measures Bakery! Friendly staff that seems to truly gets to know their local customers make Catalina a place you want to visit often. While there check out the rotating display of art or photography from locals.

Cafeza {1720 Houston Ave}

ocated in the First Ward, is a coffee bar with a Spanish twist, which also doubles as a bar and music venue featuring local Jazz and Indie artists. Grab some churros, breakfast tacos with a tapas-style influence as well as traditional coffee shop pastries. The seating area isn’t extremely large, with a few Europena type tables, chairs and stools in the front half, near where the music happens. You can choose from the long bar or on nice days you can sit outside on the open-air patio. Walls are covered with art that matches the ‘street-art’ style of Houston, all painted by local artists making the vibe extremely unique. Cafeza also has something called Steampunk coffee, which sounds like the most hipster thing in all the land. The coolest part of ordering it is watching them make it. Order one and it’s enough for two to drink AND I didn’t need to add a single thing to this cup of coffee, and I”m not normally a black coffee drinker. That is the first clue that this is quality coffee with great care being taken in the roasting and brewing process. Their happy hour prices are hard to beat, and make sure to check the calendar for their Tapas nights and drink deals every week!

Amaya Coffee { Finn Hall, 712 Main Street, Downtown} 

Amaya Coffee has opened up a small coffee bar in the newish Finn Hall in Downtown Houston. Amaya Roasting Co., a local Houston favorite used in many of the shops there, is dedicated to using ethically sourced and imported coffees from places like Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ethiopia and more. This location is Amaya’s first coffee shop, and fans of the above-mentioned Catalina coffee will be happy that they now can get their favorite coffee in Downtown. You can find the same good stuff like Chai, Lavender and Spice Latte’s that you find at Catalina. What I personally love about Amaya coffee is the lack of a dark, almost burnt, roasting flavor that is so often found in coffees not done well. It’s a smooth, light flavored coffee that highlights the flavors that should be highlighted in a good coffee. I’ve become truly spoiled by Houston coffee and its hard to go back to a stark lack of local coffee shops.

I hope you know how lucky you all are in Houston! You not only have amazing local coffee, roasters that are conscious of how coffee should taste, as well as owners that truly pay attention to how the vibe of a coffee shop should feel. Bringing in the surrounding community by music or art brings out the true flavors of Houston that make it feel comfortable and homey.

Make sure to read my other Houston Posts!

Houston Bars and Houston Arts and Entertainment

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