We Drank So Much Caffeine to Find the Best Coffee Shops in Louisville
Louisvillians love their coffee almost as much as they love their bourbon (OK, not all of us are fans). Thankfully, there are a multitude of local joints turning out high-quality cups of joe in nearly every corner of the city. So skip the grab-and-go spots and stop by some of these local coffee shops if you're looking for the best beans in the ‘Ville.
You don’t have to look too far to find Sunergos coffee in this city. In addition to running a handful of espresso bars throughout Louisville, the ever popular micro-roastery also provides a variety of local restaurants with its own beans.
Since “I know where Highland Coffee is” is the slogan at this Louisville favorite, it comes as no surprise that there's a bit of a cult following. Having set up shop in one of the city's most eclectic neighborhoods over 17 years ago, this place is known for the extensive variety of custom bean blends, that famous draft nitro-cold coffee, and having a delicious vegan-friendly menu (read: dairy free delights and milk substitutes for your cappuccino). Not into coffee? No problem. Highland makes the best chai tea latte in the 'Ville.
Louisvillians don’t have to look far to find a Heine Brothers'; this home-grown local chain plays host to 13 locations scattered throughout the city. Founded in 1994, it prides itself on being a 100% fair trade and organic coffee roaster. The daily brew is ever-changing, so there's no shortage of new flavors. In fact, keep an eye out for the new "Explorers Series": a collection of small-lot coffees that showcase unique flavor profiles and production methods from across the world. The series is being rolled out throughout 2016.
The mishmash of seating areas set amongst stacks of board games and books at this neighborhood coffee joint creates a just-cozy-enough vibe for any time of day. This place opened back in 1994 and has ever since been offering some wonderful coffeehouse classics, with beans sourced from Montanos Brothers Roasters in San Francisco. In addition, Day’s also offers a large selection of loose-leaf teas and snacks from neighboring local favorites, Kizito Cookies.
The East End has been sorely lacking in local food and beverage haunts. Thankfully the family behind La Grange Coffee Roasters didn’t let the location deter them when they opened on Main St. Committed to "putting the ‘special’ back in specialty coffee," La Grange Coffee Roasters creates its own bean blends and bakes a variety of pastries in house. Bluegrass music fans should plan to visit on Monday nights, when various local musicians gather to jam from 6:30-8:30pm.
Press on Market is located on the corner of Market and Floyd, right in between the central business district and NuLu. With new offices surrounding this nook of Downtown, Press has proven to be a welcomed addition to the corner. Those within walking distance are happy to sip Press’s expertly crafted espresso drinks made with beans roasted by local favorite, Good Folks Coffee Co.
After over two years in Butchertown, Gallery K recently made the move to the edge of Germantown and the Highlands and has laid down new roots on Barret Ave. The beans are locally sourced and dogs are welcome to join customers in the shop while they sip. But it's more than just a coffee shop: Gallery K boasts rotating art exhibitions and weekly open-mic standup comedy nights as well as life-drawing workshops.
Named after the owner’s beloved dog, Smokey, this coffee shop is relatively new to the Old Louisville scene and is filling a much-needed java hole in the city’s oldest neighborhood. Well-behaved dogs are welcome to join their owners for a cup of joe made from custom bean blends by local roaster Good Folks. And if you're looking for something a bit different, try the Special Gooey Caramel Latte, an indulgent blend of caramel sauce and vanilla syrup spiked with a shot of espresso and steamed milk.
What happens when you mix vinyl records, coffee, and the best damn cookie in the city? You get Please & Thank You. This idiosyncratic NuLu coffee house/record store has always been an instant hit with Louisvillians and tourists alike. It's a quirky shop well known for its quality coffee and oh-so-amazing baked goods. The business has expanded in recent years, opening Hot Coffee -- the bakery location in Portland -- and Please & Thank You on The Avenue in Clifton earlier this year.
It didn’t take long for Quills to establish itself as one of the most legit coffee shops in town, probably because the owners take their love of coffee very seriously. They're committed to crafting the perfect cup by roasting, brewing, and sourcing beans from all over the globe. And trust us, they do. Also, hand-in-hand with the premium coffee is cultivating a sense of community in the various shops, a mission that's surely working given the continuous stream of locals filling the seats at locations throughout the city.
Located across the street from Iroquois Amphitheater, Sister Bean's opened in 2005. The brainchild of brother-sister duo Corky Girodo and Teresa Gailor serves custom bean blends crafted by Crimson Cup in Ohio. The shop itself is a great try, thanks to the drive-thru and outdoor seating area (because rain or shine, you need the Sister Bean's coffee and cake/pastry menu in your life).
"Local, Organic, Micro-Lot Coffees" is painted at the entrance of Safai, making it clear upon arrival just where the place's priorities lie. While the retail shop on Bardstown Rd offers an extensive list of caffeinated creations along with beer and wine for the post-5pm crowd, Safai may be best known for those wholesale offerings (translation: buy them beans). The extensive roasting facilities allows Safai to craft custom bean blends to share with both Louisvillians and those living outside of the state alike.
VINT is technically part of the Heine Brothers’ family, but it maintains its own unique character and is a staple for those living in the Clifton neighborhood. The place has an expansive covered patio as well as a drive-thru and ample indoor seating. Plus, a small selection of wine and beer is on offer for those wishing to move from caffeine to cocktails.
This drive-thru-only establishment has made quite an impression on Louisville since opening in 2006. As a small-batch organic coffee roaster, Red Hot Roasters' beans can be found for sale at local grocery stores throughout the city. In fact, owner Sondra Powell will even come to you via the oh-so-in-demand Red Hot Roasters catering services, should you care to go that route.
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