The Top 10 Coffee Houses in Houston
Last week's First Look at Black Hole Cafe prompted some interesting discussions in the comments section, namely a lively debate about the merits of weighing a just-opened coffee house against other, more established locations.
Photo by Gary R. Wise Greenway Coffee, one of Houston's leading coffee houses.
Said commenter "guest" (clever name) about the write-up:
This isn't a review, but a comparison which is very unfair to black hole and people who haven't been yet. Review it for what it was, not what everyone else is. If had never been to catalina or inversion, the article implies i shouldn't even step foot in black hole. Let them know it wasn't good while you're there, don't slander them on the backbone-less internet.
Fair enough, guest. That wasn't a review -- you're right -- merely a First Look. And I wouldn't consider it backbone-less to...well...do my job, with my name firmly attached to my opinion. But you gave us an idea: to compare Houston's well-established coffee shops and determine which are the 10 best in the city.
Taken into account are the three most important determining factors in any coffee house: quality of product, atmosphere (the physical feel of the space) and vibe (the emotional connection -- do you feel welcome there?). The results are below.
Note: Wi-fi is not considered a factor in determining the best coffee shop. Houston's coffee shops are not your living rooms or home offices. Have a little consideration for your fellow customers and don't be a wi-fi hog.
4005 Montrose, 713-526-1319
Even the basic drip coffee at Dirk's -- formerly Diedrich Coffee -- is good. But the service doesn't match the drinks here, and can be downright cold if you don't fit the neighborhood demographic. Solution: I always get my coffee to go from Dirk's and enjoy it at home, or take it out on the patio during nicer weather and take in the view into the Museum District from Montrose.
9. River Oaks Coffee House
3601 Westheimer, 713-621-0226
An overlooked little spot just to the west of the giant St. Luke's United Methodist Church in River Oaks (as the name would imply), River Oaks Coffee House has almost the exact opposite situation as Dirk's: While the coffee here is only so-so, the service is always fabulous. Expect a warm welcome and a quiet spot to relax, but don't expect a perfectly pulled latte and you'll be fine. Bonus: A lack of high schoolers since nearby Lamar replaced its library with a coffee shop. (I'm only half-kidding here.)
2808 Milam, 713-523-7775
A slice of heaven for anyone homesick for the Big Easy, Khon's is a familiar spot for Louisiana ex-pats craving Abita beer and chicory coffee. That's right -- Khon's serves booze, too, which instantly bumps it up in my book. Add to that stellar service from owners Khon and Ashley Lu as well as their staff of eager bartenders and baristas, and you have a coffee house that's as cozy as your own kitchen. It's also an ideal stop for downtown commuters heading out after work.