Satisfy Your Caffeine Needs at These 15 Buzzy Austin Coffee Shops
Right this way to perfectly pulled espresso shots and slow-brewed pour overs.
Listen, there are a lot of things Austin could do better. Rent is out of control, and our traffic system breaks down when more than ten people get on the road. But one arena where Austin excels is in the versatility of its coffee shop scene. Do you want somewhere grungy or polished? Cozy or expansive? Do you want to park somewhere for 10 hours of remote work or hit up the best place for a carefree first date? Whatever it is you’re looking for, Austin has a dedicated spot to meet your needs. We’ve put together this list to help you track down a quality roast, an efficient work spot, or a cool place to hang out. Without further ado, here are 15 of the greatest Austin coffee shops.
Spokesman Coffee is in the conversation for the best roasts in town. Even a standard latte is incredibly well-balanced. Spokesman’s slate of roasts yield a lot of complexity without being overbearing—plus, they’re simply pleasant to drink. The artsy atmosphere makes for a great hangout spot, work-from-home sesh, and sweet date. It’s downright cool with its thoughtfully placed lighting and floor-to-ceiling, graffiti-style murals from talented artist Briks. And with its ample seating, parking, and a modest amount of outlets—it's also an excellent virtual office. Find pastries and breakfast tacos, plus plenty of food trucks nearby including li'l Nonnas, an excellent vegan pizza spot, and Spicy Boys Fried Chicken. As the workday ends, Spokesman transitions seamlessly into a happening bar lined with purple neon lighting.
Freddo scores major points for the beauty and versatility of its building. They have a massive outdoor patio with picnic tables and swing seats, plus rooms throughout the two-story Victorian-style house. Natural light floods the place, but if you’re looking for a dimmer environment, you can move to one of the backrooms. There are places to chat, places to work or read—you have the ability to pick the mood you want. In addition to coffee and alcohol—try the signature Freddo Carmelcinno or frosé—Freddo has a full selection of Greek food with gyros, flatbreads, and salads.
Barrett's Micro Roast Coffee
A smaller shop, about a street away from both the H-mart and the board game bar Vigilante, Barrett’s is the kind of place you want to catch up with an old friend. Intimate, not cramped, cool yet welcoming, small but mighty. The laid-back atmosphere also makes it a good place to get some focused work in. This is another place with exceptional coffee quality. House specials are a real treat, such as local favorite Ohayo (a breve cappuccino with brown sugar).
Sa-Tén Coffee and Eats
Sa-Tén strikes a skillful balance of quirky and relaxed. The little things that make it an extra cool spot. The Canopy location has a display case full of Ultraman action figures and an aquarium in an old TV, while the Airport outpost features art by zany local artist Peelander Yellow. Beyond the great atmosphere, it’s perfect for those who like a more substantial menu to go with their coffee. Try the Saifa, a take on Vietnamese coffee made with condensed milk that is both very strong and sweet. Sa-Tén offers delicious bites like chicken katsu and a variety of curries and Japanese toasts.
Madrone Coffee Co
Walk into Madrone and feel transported to a cozy mountain ski lodge. But we’re in Oak Hill, and outside there’s a smattering of picnic tables and food trucks in the Texas sun. Inside, pull up a seat under the pitched ceiling amongst natural wood floors, cobblestone walls, and a warm fireplace, weather permitting. There aren’t many other businesses close by, adding to the venue’s quiet and secluded atmosphere. That said, don’t miss regular performances from local blues players, jazz musicians, and swing bands. With a full commitment to the theme, tasty house blends are all named after Texas mountains.
Operating in East Austin for over 15 years, Thunderbird is a favorite among locals. It has the eclectic, down-to-earth vibe you want from an Austin shop. Indoor seating can be a bit sparse at times, but with all of the outdoor seating options, you won’t be hurting to find a spot. They have great specialty drinks like the Turning Violet Latte (espresso and blueberry lavender) and the Honey Nut Latte (espresso, hazelnut, honey, and cinnamon). The sandwiches are also delicious and make a great midday meal for anyone looking to stay a few hours. (Note to the lactose intolerant: sandwiches are premade and all have some sort of dairy.) Early birds can also enjoy the in-house breakfast tacos served until 11 am during the week and till noon on weekends.
Located at the back of Colton House Hotel, Simona’s is one of Ausitn’s most beautiful coffee bars. It was designed by interior extraordinaire Patrice Rios. Sip under perfectly curated furnishings, fabrics, and lighting fixtures, in a two-story space that feels more like a chic townhouse than a coffee shop. There’s also a secluded outdoor patio shaded with oak trees, lots of snacks like croissants, muffins, and rich cookies, plus a cocktail and wine list to reward yourself at the end of the working day. Try their wildflower mocktails or the purple rain, a signature cocktail made with bergamot liqueur and chamomile thyme butterfly pea simple syrup.
Austin doesn’t have a single bad location of Merit Coffee. Each offers a very clean aesthetic with a lot of natural light and outlets, making them ideal spots for posting up with your virtual workload. The Triangle and South Lamar locations have plenty of parking (at South Lamar, the lot directly north of their main spaces also allows Merit customers). The Seaholm district is very convenient for residents within walking distance, though others do often have to pay for street parking. But all locations take their beans very seriously, and the coffee proves it. Their coffee bags make great gifts, given the quality and the fact that they are a beautiful shade of blue.
Walton's Fancy and Staple
This joint is full of warm Southern charm and best known for legendary baked treats (the cake counter at the front is hard to resist). The interior is busy in a good way, with lots of plants and a rustic brick wall. Line your stomach at breakfast with a coffee and pastry, and look forward to building your own sandwich come lunch, complete with oven-fresh bread. A long day in the office requires generous helpings of carbs, after all. And caffeine.
Wright Bros. Brew & Brew
This coffee shop and beer bar has plenty of seating, a buzzy open space, and a solid selection of food, coffee, and beer. It’s open later than most shops, operating until midnight Tuesday through Saturday. Patrons can count on caffeinated classics made with a rotating selection of beans from top roasteries like Flat Track and Heart Roasters, alongside a list of stellar craft beers on tap.
Better Half Coffee & Cocktails
Better Half is a well-balanced spot. It’s a perfectly good location to do virtual work, but they also prioritize making a fun environment to hang out in. They don’t allow laptops in the few dedicated booths, but work-from-home folks have plenty of options with their counter space and large patio. Come by any time of day for great food, coffee, well-prepared cocktails, and a killer selection of beer and wine. Its central location and casual atmosphere make it a wonderful first-date spot. They have espresso, cold brew, and exciting drinks like a Cinnamon and Cardamom Latte. You can also appreciate the cafe’s boozy offerings, like natural wine sold by the glass and bottle, plus creative cocktails and local beer.
Radio Coffee & Beer
Radio Coffee & Beer is a great place to hunker down and get things done with a cup of liquid motivation at one of the spot’s shady outdoor tables. The ever-present parade of patio pups means you’ll have no shortage of furry distractions (should you need to avert your gaze from your screen), and it also happens to be a legit South Austin food and drink destination. In addition to coffee classics from small-batch roasters, it’s home to a strong cocktail menu and some of Austin’s best food trucks by way of Veracruz All Natural and DEE DEE.
Mañana Coffee & Juice
With two locations, Mañana offers bright, welcoming spaces dominated by colorful Mexican tiling and the hypnotic smell of fresh baked goods (both sweet and savory). While it can get pretty packed at peak times, the benefit of setting up at Mañana is that your meeting can easily migrate outdoors to the modern courtyards at both locations. Try an Iced Japanese Flash Brew paired with a bakeshop treat, and stick around for live music events and happy hours.
Flat Track Coffee
Flat Track’s owners are obsessed with all things vintage and wheeled, so it makes sense that they share their industrial modern space bike shop Cycleast. Grab a shot of espresso or pour-over made with Flat Track’s house-roasted beans while browsing the bicycles for sale. Or sit on the adjoining patio while you sip on a Chingona (horchata and Mexican mocha with a shot of espresso) as you mull over that email you’ve been putting off all week.
Greater Goods Coffee Roasters
Greater Goods’s East Austin flagship location is gorgeous, a former automotive shop stripped bare and re-clad in matte black and translucent panels. It has a modern feel to it, with unique indoor and outdoor seating options, as well as a particularly cozy reading nook with a view of the in-house industrial roaster responsible for the beans sold and brewed here.