I have always loved coffee shops especially those gritty, hole in the wall places where you can listen in on local conversations. My mother was watching some videos from our family vacation in Charleston, South Carolina, and I can be heard in the background asking "Is that a coffee shop? When can we go to a coffee shop?" At that time, I wasn't even drinking coffee. I probably just wanted an Italian soda, but I still wanted to go there and check it out. I connected with coffee and conversation spaces early in my life.
I have learned more about the culture of some places from listening in at the local coffee shop. At World Cup Coffee in Taos, NM, a man with a Rottweiler asked the barista 'Where is Jennifer?" The barista replied "Oh she got one of those corporate jobs. You know the 9 to 5 where you stay stuck in an office all day. She is going to hate that." Not much value is placed on corporate America in that space. There were "Frack the Plutocracy" bumper stickers over the barista's head as he made my Flat White.
I have had 10 years to explore Houston Coffee Shops and here are some of my suggestions. I have also included information about nearby cultural spaces and some restaurants. Click on the name of the coffee shop, cultural space, or restaurant to see the location's website. Enjoy and let me know if you would like to add to this list! I may feature your suggestions in an upcoming blog post. These are in no particular order.
1. Kraftsmen Cafe: 611 W. 22nd Street, Houston, Texas, 77008. This bakery/coffee shop is located in an old Textile mill in the Historic Heights district and features antique seating areas, great sourdough bread, and artisan local products. It is interesting to walk around the historic neighborhood and check out the historic homes.
2. A 2nd Cup. 1111 E. 11th Street, Houston, Texas, 77009. Coffee with a purpose. This business helps the victims of sex trafficking through coffee sales. The Brazilian Arts Foundation is near this coffee shop. They have samba classes, capoeira, Portuguese classes, and art events.
3. EQ Heights. 1030 Heights Blvd, Houston, Texas, 77009. This is Lincoln's favorite coffee shop. You can sit on the patio and watch the park that is in the middle of the street in front of the coffee shop. The park is a good place to walk and has sculptures, memorials, and beautiful trees. Lincoln likes to drink Chai Tea Latte, and I have had the Cuban sandwich and various salads. There are also several antique shops on this strip, and 19th street is not far. 19th street in the Heights has art galleries, specialty shops, antique stores, and thrift shops. Happy Fatz is nearby and this restaurant has fantastic hot dogs and pastries!
3. Maryam's Cafe: 315 W. 19th Street, Houston, Texas, 77008. This is more of a restaurant than a coffee shop, but the coffee is still good. They also have the biggest Hawaiian snow cone that I have ever seen. It is a mix of ice, ice cream, and has homemade syrup and condensed milk on top.
4. Boomtown Coffee: 242 W. 16th St. Houston, Texas, 77008. We like their breakfast tacos, and I love their flat whites. They also have different types of flavored drinks and coffee that you do not find in other coffee shops. Those will be on the board to the right as you enter the shop.
5. Blacksmith: 1018 Westheimer, Houston, Texas, 77006. I go here for the sausage, cheese, and egg biscuit. The biscuit with creme fraiche and jelly is also quite good. The space is small and seating is limited. One of the biggest Half Price books in Houston is across the street. The Museum of Fine Arts, the Houston Center for Photography, the Menil Collection, the Holocaust Museum, the Health Museum, and the Contemporary Arts Museum are not far. Also close to Blacksmith are Common Bond Bakery, Brasil Cafe (this place has nothing to do with Brazilian food, but it is still good), and Empire Cafe. If you go on Saturday or Sunday morning, there will be long lines at these restaurants unless you go close to when they open.
6. The Path of Tea: 234 W. Alabama Street, Houston, Texas, 77098. This place is calming and features 100 types of tea, a tea smelling table, and the owner is knowledgeable and can guide you to choose the right tea. We have been coming here for several years and love it as a reading space. This is close to Pondicheri which is one of my favorite Indian fusion restaurants.
7. Doshi House: 3419 Dowling Street, Houston, Texas. This coffee shop features Indian-inspired soups and sandwiches. My favorite drink is the Hawaiano which is espresso with coconut milk. This coffee shop is close to the University of Houston Blaffer Museum of Art and Project Row Houses. Project Row Houses is a nonprofit that works to preserve parts of the historic 3rd ward through shot gun house preservation, art exhibits, programs that provide a space for single mothers to educate themselves, and community building activities. It is one of my favorite nonprofits of Houston, and you can see photos from a couple of their events under my Events on this webpage. Check out this video.
8. Antidote: 729 Studewood Street, Houston, Texas, 77077.
9. Catalina Coffee: 2201 Washington Ave, Houston, Texas, 77007. They do not have wifi here and will not make your drinks to order. The baristas will say "If you want coffee your way, go to Starbucks." I love the old brick building, the really tasty coffee, and they always have local artists on the walls.
10. Inversion Coffee House. 1953 Montrose Blvd, Houston, Texas, 77006. This coffee house is right next door to the Arts League of Houston which has art exhibits and art classes. It is also close to Texas Art Supply which is the biggest art supply store in Houston (it is a dangerous place!).
12: Agora: 1712 Westheimer Road, Houston, Texas, 77098. This coffee shop also has extensive wine offerings.
13. Beans Cafe: 1127 Eldridge #100, Houston, Texas, 77077. This is one of the only locally owned coffee shops in the Energy Corridor or West Houston. They always feature local art. It is also close to Terry Hershey Bike Park and George Bush Park. Close to this coffee shop, you have two great Italian Restaurants Achille and George's Pastaria.