Your Guide to the Best Coffee in Austin
Like any large city, Austin, Texas, is overloaded with coffee shops, with a new one springing up every few months. So, when it’s time for a caffeine fix, how do you choose which cafe will tickle your fancy?
Although driving or walking distance to the coffee shop might be the easiest way to decide, don’t discount cafes that aren’t in your neighborhood—this hot and happening city is fueled by coffee, so there are a lot of creative, innovative players in the coffee game that shouldn’t be missed just because they’re a bit out of your way.
Whether you’re a coffee bean snob, someone who appreciates well-crafted latte art, or you’re just looking for a major caffeine infusion with a triple espresso to get you through the workday, these nine cafes brew up the best coffee in Austin:
- Houndstooth Coffee
- Terrible Love
- Radio Coffee
- Turnstile Coffee
- Cosmic Coffee
- Figure 8 Coffee Purveyors
- Merit Coffee
Let’s get started!
1. Houndstooth Coffee
Houndstooth is almost a household name in Austin, serving up one of the top-quality coffees in town from its own coffee roaster, Tweed. Having been around for over 12 years, Houndstooth boasts five locations across Austin (plus three more in Dallas), so you can take your pick of cafe setting for your workday.
The downtown Austin location of this coffee shop on Congress is considered by many Austinites to be a go-to location for seriously great coffee. While Houndstooth focuses on coffee, you will also find a well-curated selection of teas in case you’re in the mood for something a little lighter.
2. Terrible Love
If the name doesn’t intrigue you, what about the fact that this unique Austin coffee shop is actually a retrofitted horse trailer? And, not just any horse, but a small Shetland pony! While Terrible Love’s space is small—just enough to squeeze in a barista and a La Marzocco—the quality of the coffees it serves up is huge, carrying beans from just a few carefully selected, sustainability-focused roasters based both in Austin and outside of Texas.
3. Radio Coffee
Radio Coffee might be one of the most happening cafes in Austin. Although technically just outside the city limits, this one-location coffee shop has attracted a devoted following for its combination of quality coffee, craft beer, and food (the breakfast tacos are a favorite) in a gorgeous garden space.
But that’s not all—almost every night of the week, Radio Coffee brings on the fun, with local bands, trivia nights, bluegrass nights, and lectures on various topics.
Coffee connoisseurs consider Patika to be one of the top options for high-quality, locally roasted coffee in Austin. Located on South Lamar, this sort-of Scandinavian-themed coffee shop keeps things simple and focuses mostly on coffee and breakfast food, with pastries from local bakeries and a limited alcohol menu.
However, brunch is now served on the weekends, so while the weekdays attract plenty of remote workers and their laptops, the Wi-Fi gets turned off on Saturday and Sunday for a more relaxing weekend vibe. Patika is all about that work-life balance!
5. Turnstile Coffee
For a true Austin neighborhood coffee shop and bar experience, this is the place to check out. Turnstile is actually made up of two separate spaces: One serves coffee and tacos via a drive-thru for those who don’t have time to sit and sip, and the second adjacent space is the actual coffee shop.
Later in the day, Turnstile serves a rotating lineup of local craft beer and creative cocktails, and even has a full kitchen. You’ll also find pastries from Easy Tiger, one of Austin’s best bakeries. Baristas here are known to be laid-back and highly knowledgeable, the space is great for coworking, and themed trivia nights occur regularly.
6. Cosmic Coffee
This is not your ordinary coffee shop. In fact, despite the name, the specialty coffee served here isn’t even necessarily the main attraction—but its frozen boozy coffee brew has become a big hit! Cosmic Coffee’s only location in South Austin features a spacious beer garden complete with fire pits, extremely enticing BBQ and taco food trucks, and an indoor stage for concerts.
But what makes this space truly unique is its dedication to sustainability and permaculture. A visit to Cosmic Coffee is like entering a botanical garden, which is not a bad backdrop for getting some work done. Cosmic features 120 square feet of gardens that grow mostly native plants and herbs (many used in the cocktails and by the food truck chefs), a chicken coop, a compost system, rainwater harvesting, and a charming waterfall garden.
7. Figure 8 Coffee Purveyors
This is a solid place in Austin for those seeking seriously good coffee and a different kind of roasting style with each cup. Figure 8 offers a rotating selection of coffee from its house-roasted beans, as well as coffee roasters mostly in Austin (like Tweed from Houndstooth), San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland.
The space itself is tiny and a bit out of the way in East Austin, but the regulars obviously agree with the cafe’s slogan since it opened in 2014: “Worth the (ever-increasing) drive on 35.” Figure 8 is a true, old-school-style coffee shop that limits its focus to making an excellent brew, so food options are few (mostly pastries and tacos).
This tucked-away coffee shop is actually just a small trailer with a beautiful patio and a food truck (usually serving tacos), but the high quality of the coffee from several different coffee roasters (such as Flat Track, Superthing, and Wonderstate) is what keeps Austinites coming back to this East Austin spot. The owner couple initially raised money for the cafe through a Kickstarter campaign and finally opened Flitch in 2015, which has since grown into a popular community hangout.
9. Merit Coffee
Merit Coffee is a stand-out coffee shop chain and sustainable roastery and has been recognized nationally as one of the best-quality coffees Texas has to offer. Headquartered in San Antonio and originally known as Local Coffee, Merit also serves its special brew in three locations across Austin, as well as several in Dallas. The cafes are all cozy, beautiful, and modern spaces, attracting lots of laptop-wielding customers.
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