Food & Drink

The Best Coffee Shops in New Orleans

Published On 02/11/2015 Published On 02/11/2015
Revelator Coffee in New Orleans
Meredith Singer

When we turned our attention to New Orleans’ burgeoning coffee scene last year, the so-called "third wave" of coffee had just begun. Sixteen months later, there’s been a phenomenal amount of change: the city is now full of cool, funky places to relax while getting a pour-over, cortado, or Oji-brewed, single-bean cup of joe. Sure, chicory and café au lait are still around (and we truly are grateful for that), but now we’ve got new players passionate about the java game who are determined to shake up the coffee status quo.

Revelator Coffee Company

Warehouse District

Sidle up to the coffee bar and enjoy creations made from this Birmingham-based coffee roaster, which has locations all over the South. Also available are kombucha, baked goods from Gracious Bakery, and creative coffee drinks like The Weekender, made with tangerine juice, half & half, sparkling water, and a dash of vanilla, and topped with a shot of espresso. Check out the Friday happy hours, with free espressos available from noon-1pm.

Mojo Coffee House

Mojo Coffee House

LGD (& Freret)

Practically ancient in comparison to all the coffee shops that have opened in the last year or so, Mojo just celebrated its 10th birthday by announcing they haven’t run out of tricks yet. Its new small-batch, in-house coffee roasting program started this year, plus it partnered with local brewery Gnarly Barley for an experimental coffee-beer, and it'll be expanding its hugely popular Magazine Street location. Co-owner Demian Estevez prefers to think of the "third wave" coffee trend as the new "NOLA wave," and he’s glad to still be riding it.

Cherry Espresso Bar

Cherry Espresso Bar

Uptown

After a pop-up stint in New Orleans’ hippest delicatessen/beer store, Stein’s Market & Deli, power barista Lauren Fink has set up shop on her own Uptown corner. (The Stein’s pop-up is still in business as well.) She’s committed to using coffee from micro roasters like Heart Roasters, Quills Coffee, Roseline Coffee, and Ruby. The shop offers cuppings to the public twice a month, where the passionate staff walks customers through the sensory experience of tasting coffee.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters

Warehouse District

New Orleans has hit the big time now, with an Ace Hotel and attached Stumptown coffee shop. And just because Stumptown doesn't hail from New Orleans originally doesn’t mean it has discarded the historic coffee culture here. As Stumptown’s first Southern outpost, this shop is focusing on cold brew coffee (you know, ‘cuz it’s hot here), including refreshing coffee drinks like the "Endless Summer," a coffee variation on the mint julep. (Don’t worry, it still has all the awesome hot-brewing techniques in play.)

J Stephen Young

Willa Jean

CBD

This bakery/coffeehouse/restaurant serves Intelligentsia Coffee, the company that chef and co-founder Kelly Fields collaborated with in order to create the perfect custom roast for her restaurant. Willa Jean not only has the solutions to all your regular coffee needs (i.e. waking up; staying awake), but also has integrated coffee and tea into a special, wide-ranging cocktail menu. Also, the oft-overlooked second chord of coffee making, the milk, is sourced locally from Mauthe’s Progress Milk Barn, so you know it's fresh and amazing.

Courtesy of Mammoth Espresso

Mammoth Espresso

Warehouse District

Jonathan and Darlene Riethmaier moved to New Orleans from Washington, DC to open their dream: Mammoth Espresso’s sleek, retro-modern, family-friendly, high-quality coffee bar. With beans from Madcap Coffee, pastries from Scout Bakery, and Jonathan’s excellent technique, this is a place you’ll be going back to. They want to bring their love and appreciation of coffee to their customers as well, as demonstrated by the One & One double espresso -- one with steamed milk and one without -- that is ideal for understanding the nuances of the coffee and espresso process.

Arrow Cafe

Arrow Cafe

French Quarter

Much more than a kick-ass coffee shop, Arrow hosts Thai food pop-ups for lunch, sells bouquets of flowers from Pistil & Stamen, features pastries by Port City Pantry, and in general provides a laid-back space perfect for eating, drinking, and reading the coolest magazines published. The dedicated staff pull delicious espresso drinks with Four Barrel coffee.

Café Du Monde

French Quarter

You can’t get more old-school New Orleans than this for caffeine. It has one type of coffee drink: café au lait (although you do have the choice to get it hot or iced), and it's become a quintessential part of NOLA culture. And the thing about a place that only does one drink? It does it well.

Courtesy of Sólo Espresso

Sólo Espresso

Ninth Ward

Sólo serves delicious, reasonably priced coffee, and is always featuring local food pop-ups. In the past, it's offered a croissant pop-up, a plant-based breakfast pop-up, a biscuit & ice cream pop-up, a brunch pop-up... this place offers a great way to support the entire culinary and beverage community, all in one place.

Addiction

French Quarter

Using language to suggest that the caffeine addiction served here is an illicit one (referencing "dealers," "addicts," and "fixes"), Addiction wants you to know that it "gets" you. The logo is a picture of literal coffeeheads -- the generic man & woman outline with coffee cups for heads. Try the Miss Tracy’s Addiction Special, which is an espresso blended with coconut milk, honey, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper (also available iced). It's definitely willing to enable you in cultivating your coffee habit.

Spitfire Coffee

Spitfire Coffee

French Quarter

This teeny-tiny (seriously, itsy-bitsy) shop tucked away in the French Quarter has brought the new wave of coffee (i.e. non-chicory) to Downtown residents and visitors for over three years. Using beans from CREMA, Extracto, and BeanFruit Coffee Company, Spitfire turns out consistently excellent brews in a high-traffic neighborhood. It's also partnered up with local bakery Scout to provide high-quality treats to go with its high-quality java.

Hey! Cafe

Uptown

This funky coffee shop has turned its small coffee roaster into a powerhouse, having transitioned from roasting for its shop only to selling its product all over town. Recently, it also branched out into how coffee can be consumed, partnering with NOLA Brewing and Left Hand Brewing to create a coffee saison. Yum.

French Truck Coffee

French Truck Cafe

Uptown

The little yellow truck turned into a little yellow coffee shop on Magazine, and is now a grown-up cafe that serves breakfast, lunch, beer, wine, and evening snacks, in addition to coffee of all kinds. The new French Truck Cafe sources all its beans directly from farmers, which means staff take off for coffee-growing regions like Costa Rica from time to time. French Truck’s coffee beans are sold all over town in grocery stores, restaurants, and other coffee shops -- but it's worth trying out the wares at the original source.

Hivolt Coffee

HiVolt Coffee and HiVolt Bakery

LGD (& Uptown)

HiVolt’s funky LGD location serves up Counter Culture coffee and kick-ass vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. Recently, it expanded to a location up Magazine Street a stretch, with an in-house baking facility which now supplies both locations. Try the Shockproof coffee, blended with butter and MCT oil, and the Ozzy: two poached eggs over sauteed greens, avocado, cherry tomato, and quinoa, and drizzled with kefir herb dressing. May sound nutty, but both are fire.

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Nora McGunnigle is super-excited that French Truck coffee beans and concentrated iced coffee are now in her neighborhood grocery store. Follow her exciting freelance life on Twitter @noradeirdre or on Tumblr.

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1. Revelator Coffee Company 637 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

This NOLA coffee co. serves high-quality roasts in a minimalistic white and blue-clad space, every bit as carefully-curated as the coffee drinks themselves. Stationed in the middle of the Warehouse district, the cafè is one of few outposts for Birmingham's own Revelator Roasters, where all of the beans for the shop are roasted and packaged. The espresso blend changes seasonally, as do the more creative selection of "coffee cocktails" listed on the menu (i.e. espresso topped with cream, tangerine juice, sparkling water and vanilla). In addition to the always-available top-notch coffee drinks, the espresso bar serves a number of fresh pastries delivered daily from Gracious Bakery, and various tea and kombucha options, for those willing to pass up rich, expertly-prepared local coffee.

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2. Mojo Coffee House 1500 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Mojo Coffee House in Lower Garden District has become a cornerstone of the New Orleans coffee scene. The small-batch coffee is roasted in-house, and the shop's location on Magazine Street is always bustling. However, the quaint patio and the large interior provide plenty of room for customers, including students looking to work into the night (it's open until midnight). Mojo has also partnered with Gnarly Barley to experiment with coffee-beer.

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3. Cherry Espresso Bar 4875 Laurel St, New Orleans, LA 70115

Recognizable by its lime green front door, this espresso bar is the full-time incarnation of the coffee pop-up, once house in Stein's Deli. The Uptown cafè serves a number of brews from various microroasters -- Quills, Ruby Roasters, RoseLine, Heart Roasters, to name a few -- and a veritable selection of Lilette pastries to pair. Each morning at the Laurel street hub, espresso shots are carefully weighed to ensure that they run at precisely the right speed, milk frothers are aired out, and test shots are prepared and sampled -- Cherry cuts no corners when it comes to good coffee. With vintage hanging chandeliers, a wood paneled espresso bar, and walls of exposed red brick, the sunny space is just as appealing as the cappuccinos. Additionally, twice a month, the skilled baristas at this caffeine-mecca teach coffee lessons, focused just as much on the process of savoring quality espresso as the mechanics of the machines.

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4. Stumptown New Orleans 610 Carondelet St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Stumptown New Orleans is located in the Ace Hotel in the Warehouse District. This is the Portland-based company's first location in the South, and it focuses mostly on cold-brew coffee, especially in the summer months. Try the Endless Summer for a refreshing coffee variation on the mint julep. The dark coffee bar and wood-paneled walls create a cozy atmosphere, and the overall design matches the Art Deco look of the Ace Hotel.

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5. Willa Jean Bakery 611 O'Keefe Ave, New Orleans, LA 70113 (Central Business District)

This Central Business District bakery is run by the dream team of Kelly Fields and Lisa White, who design all the baked goods for John Besh's restaurant empire. Expect Southern-style baked goods, as well as a host of eats for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Willa Jean serves up Intelligentsia Coffee, and the varied cocktail menu will have you frequenting this sleek, sophisticated bakery for more than just its food.

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6. Mammoth Espresso 821 Baronne St, New Orleans, LA 70113 (Central Business District)

The sleek, retro-modern design of Mammoth Espresso in the Warehouse District offers a hip but family-friendly atmosphere to sip high-quality coffee. Madcap Coffee supplies the superior beans and Scout Bakery supplies sweet and savory pastries like prosciutto and provolone croissants and gluten-free compost cookies. For those looking to explore the espresso-making process, sample the One & One split double espresso, which features one with steamed milk and one without. Bonus: Ample free parking can be found by this cafe, which is rare in the bustling Central Business District.

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7. Arrow Cafe 628 N Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70112

Located right by Louis Armstrong Park, Arrow Cafe is a French Quarter coffee shop that pours espresso drinks from Four Barrel coffee beans. Although it bills itself as a coffee shop, the space is shared with a bike shop and an antique store, meaning you can kill three birds with one caffeinated Arrow. The laid-back atmosphere is perfect for reading, with wooden chairs and slatted tables appropriate for the park across the street. Make sure you leave plenty of time for finding parking because it's sparse in this area.

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8. Café Du Monde 800 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116 (French Quarter)

Originally established in 1862, Café Du Monde is the place to go for a quintessential New Orleans pick-me-up in the form of a beignet and cafe au lait. The patio, marked by a striped green-and-white awning, is a landmark in itself and the perfect place for people-watching in the French Quarter. The café gets busy during peak lunch and dinner hours, but its 24-seven schedule allows for plenty of opportunities to stop by, whether it's for a late-night sugar fix or an early-morning breakfast. Take-out orders can be placed through a quick-serve window, just be sure to take extra napkins -- those sugar-coated beignets are messy.

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9. Solo Espresso 1301 Poland Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117

Sólo Espresso in the Ninth Ward houses some of the most reasonably priced coffee in town, and the impeccable latte art gives a whimsical touch to any pour. The coffee shop itself is cozy as it is located in the basement of a house in a residential neighborhood. Sólo Espresso supports local eateries by offering pop-up opportunities featuring everything from croissants to ice cream.

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10. Addiction Coffeehouse 909 Iberville Street, New Orleans, LA 70112

Aptly titled, this French Quarter café serves coffee worth coming back for (again and again and again). The "farm to cup" coffee house is all about locally-roasted coffee beans, paired with sweeteners, herbal teas, and dairy products, sourced exclusively from Louisiana farms. The dim, wood-paneled space is small in stature, while the coffee menu is remarkably expansive, stretching across several pages. Featuring additives like coconut milk, honey, cinnamon and cayenne pepper (all Louisiana-sourced, of course), the selection of available caffeine-heavy beverages is curated with a focus on finding creative ways to (literally) spice up classic coffee-concoctions.

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11. Spitfire Coffee 627 St Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116 (French Quarter)

Among the first specialty coffee shops to lay roots in NOLA, this French-Quarter café serves coffee sourced from a variety of different American roasters. In the interest of maintaining an eclectic, balanced roster of flavors, the roasts are switched out seasonally, while customer favorites will remain. Known for its quality pour-overs, this espresso bar is dedicated to hand-crafted coffee drinks prepared both carefully and consciously -- and while all of the classic coffee drinks are impeccable, the spot offers a collection of creative house-creations as well (try the Hellfire mocha -- a traditional latte, blended with home-made chocolate syrup and habanero shrub). And while the space is small (a self-proclaimed "walk-in-closet"), there are fresh pastries delivered daily by Scout bakery, and the coffee drinks are well worth the trip.

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12. Hey! Cafe 4332 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115 (Uptown)

In true coffee house fashion, this affable Uptown café and roastery hosts a year-round series of live acoustic music sets. Additionally, as the only micro-roaster in all of New Orleans, this popular coffee joint roasts all of its beans in-house, serving fresh steaming cups of the stuff to locals, and bags of the small-batch beans to local retailers and restaurants. The Hey! staff is comprised of trained espresso-aficionados, just as knowledgable on the origins of the blends they serve as they are capable of producing perfect cappuccinos, and they are happy to discuss both of these things with inquisitive customers. And when the appeal of fresh caffeine begins to dwindle, guests can trade in their ceramic mugs for cold beers, and seat themselves in the shop's narrow, unpretentious backyard, while they wait for the musical stylings to begin.

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13. French Truck Coffee 1200 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Garden District)

This local micro-roaster has been supplying restaurants, local grocery stores, and coffee shops throughout New Orleans for years, but if you want the freshest, tastiest version of its joe, head to its Lower Garden District roastery and espresso bar, where you can not only buy the in-house roasted beans but also enjoy hot and iced espresso and coffee drinks, like the iced coffee which is flavored by chicory and strong as they come. The outpost is tangerine colored and impossible to miss, meaning you’re officially out of excuses to not come in for a taste.

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14. HiVolt Coffee 1829 Sophie Wright Pl, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Garden District)

This popular Garden District coffee shop is all about "third wave" coffee brewing techniques, from the pour over and the Oji drip, to Japanese iced and cold brewed blends. Beyond the inventive, contemporary treats, however, the classic steamed-milk espresso combos are prepared expertly, served hot, and always topped with a masterful milk-design, formed effortlessly by the barista-at-hand. The Rishi-curated tea program offers an eclectic roster of loose-leaf blends, fresh smoothies are made-to-order, and the matcha lattes are almost as tasty as the ones prepared with real shots of espresso. And when it comes to food, the menu features far more than pastries, boasting a collection of avocado and aoli-topped breakfast sandwiches, fresh quiches, and egg bowls packed with grains, sauteèd greens and colorful smatterings of local meat and produce.

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