The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Coffeehouses

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4. Revival Market

Not only can you get one of the best flat whites or cortados in town here, you can also get it with one of the city's best breakfast tacos in the morning. And when you're done, head into the market section of the store to get all your locally sourced produce, meat, egg, dairy, breads, olive oils and more, all in one fell swoop.

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3. Inversion

Inversion increased its esteem substantially in my eyes after making me a wicked Day of the Dead-decorated flat white last month, and in fact has consistently good cortados as well as their regular menu of flavored coffee drinks and smoothies. It's also my favorite spot to grab a butter cookie from Michael's Cookie Jar or a fat, flaky, sausage-and-gravy pocket pie from Oh My! Pocket Pies in the mornings.

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Photo by Gary R. Wise
A latte at Greenway Coffee.
2. Greenway Coffee (formerly Tuscany Premium Coffee)

In 2009, Robb Walsh recognized the raw talent in David Buehrer and his little coffee shop in a nondescript Greenway Plaza office building. Buehrer and the shop have since become icons for all that's right and progressive when it comes to coffee in Houston. Known for collaborating with area restaurants, bars and chefs to come up with coffee cocktails or coffee pairings, Buehrer is all about spreading the gospel of good coffee, good beans and good roasts -- not self-promotion. Parking is a bear, but don't get too worked up over it: Greenway validates. And, anyway, Buehrer and partner Ecky Prabanto are opening another coffee shop very soon: Blacksmith.

Location Info

Ben's Beans

1302 Dallas, Houston, TX

Category: General

Cafe Luz - CLOSED

907 Franklin, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Black Hole Coffee House

4504 Graustark St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Petite Sweets

2700 W. Alabama St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Antidote Coffee

729 Studewood, Houston, TX

Category: General

Agora

1712 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Music

Revival Market

550 Heights Blvd, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Inversion

1953 Montrose, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Catalina Coffee

2201 Washington, Houston, TX

Category: General

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52 comments
Richard Vera
Richard Vera

Hey does any one have any idea about  Black Hole Coffee House. I tried to find it at istorehours.com. But failed to find it there.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

It's called a book, people. It goes great with coffee, you can take it anywhere, and wifi is a non-issue.

cafeluz
cafeluz

I believe Katherine has not been in since Frank was here and we'd love to have you back! I think we may be the only shop in town that roasts in house as well as bakes/cooks in house- would loved to have seen that acknowledged! Perhaps the recent buzz about our local drinking chocolate could lure her in?

cthulula
cthulula

I like the people at Antidote, but I think the problem with their coffee is that it's really terrible coffee---one terrible coffee, sold as different kinds!  I've been several times, ordered wildly different types, viet namese coffee with sweetened condensed milk, and some light regular roast, etc., and it all had the identical, nasty, funky taste that I've been told is caused by something called 'quakers' or possible 'stinkers', different kinds of imperfect beans used in cheap coffee.  Good coffee, I'm told, contains a lower percentage of these bad beans....My friends who routinely and happily drink convenience store and truck stop coffee even admit Antidote's coffee is nasty.  Again, the people who work there are sweet as can be, they try very hard to please, the place is convenient to my neighborhood and has a good vibe, but I think they have wifi so people don't pay attention to what they're drinking.  I hope they'll get into a position to do better with their choice of product soon

jasonofthesea
jasonofthesea

So, it seems that there is a need for a publication and website called Just Outside Houston Press.  And, snooty barista is the new rude bartender

CoffeeIsMyLife
CoffeeIsMyLife

Unless inversion reformed Inversion majorly reformed their coffee in the last couple of months, I'm nothing less than offended that they nudged out Revival, much less made a top coffeehouse list AT ALL.  Inversion's coffee is just plain BAD...same for Black Hole.  In fact, the only acceptable coffeehouses on the list are Catalina, Greenway, and Revival.  This list should be shortened to the top (uhh..cross that out).. ONLY 3 coffeehouses in Houston.

ziggy smogdust
ziggy smogdust

Fioza uses Fontana Roasters, and they deserve a try over some places listed that use Katz.  Fioza has top notch food and coffee.  

Caroline
Caroline

While the foodie part of me is shocked that Fioza didn't get some love on this list, the part of me that recognizes the accuracy of other commenters in observing how Inside the Loop these options are isn't shocked at all by that omission. Perhaps next time the list could be a little more, shall we say, comprehensive of the Houston metro area?

Jack_Around
Jack_Around

Octane has been closed for awhile now, replaced by Shepherd Park Draught House.

OneTen
OneTen

Catalina may be number one on your list, but just wait till the next hurricane and see if you can borrow an electrical plug... you won't think so highly of them then. 

Ali
Ali

I can honestly say my one and only visit to Catalina didn't go over that well. I'm diabetic, so I asked for Splenda or Sweet N Low, which is apparently a crime. The horrified and disgusted look from the barista was enough to make me want to bitch slap his pretentious ass. Then he opened his mouth and said "We only use raw sugar" and said it as though I asked him to put dog shit and arsenic in it. Never went back cuz fuck that. I'm giving you money- don't be a pretentious prick. 

Onto something more positive- Revival has the greatest chocolate croissants I've ever eaten.

Mansgame
Mansgame

Sorry, without counting wifi now days your whole system is flawed.  The atmosphere matters and wifi is part of that.  Sure if you're out with someone, wifi doesn't matter but I'm not going to pay $4 for coffee and just stare at a wall while i drink it.

 I'm not one of those people who spends all day at a coffee shop but sometimes I'm by myself and need to relax after work  and catch up on some work and most of that requires wifi.  My time is important to me and a half hour of my time matters so I'd rather spend it at a place that appreciates that.  Catilina does not so I don't care how great their coffee is, I'll take my business and laptop somewhere else.

I usually stay a half hour-an hour...at least twice a week at a coffee shop.  at $4 average spent that's $8 a week $32 a month so Catilina has lost give or take $400 of business from me alone each year for the last 4 years since I became aware of them. 

missXminnie
missXminnie

Cajeta you say? You've just piqued my interest. :)

rgwalt
rgwalt

I'm not one of the Revival haters, or fans.  I think the market does some things really well.  Their some of their pastries, for example, are amazing.  A proscuto and butternut squash (or gruyere) danish?  A thousand times yes!  Their coffee is solid, but I'd rather go to Catalina or Dry Creek.  And their breakfast tacos?  I think they are generally dry and lacking in flavor.  A much better breakfast taco can be had for the same price (or less) down the street at Tacos A Go Go.

Jalapeno
Jalapeno

So Inversion used to look like that picture?  So cool, they should not have changed.  Actually, Black Hole should pick it up.

jim
jim

Wow, that map (like most of the Press's food coverage in recent months) looks like something out of My Table or Texas Monthly - there is absolutely nothing foodworthy east of downtown. (Except, of course, the "original" Ninfa's, which sucks.) If you ever get lost east of the white parts of town there's a little space called Bohemo's you should check out.

Chuck
Chuck

Note that Frank Freeman is no longer at Petite Sweets.

cafeluz
cafeluz

Antidote is more like a community center. Yes, their coffee sucks, but you have to love them. They can be a beer & wine cafe that happens to have a espresso menu. It's cool, whatever, they're open late, have a sweet patio, and are smack dab in the middle of an awesome neighborhood.

Antidotesux
Antidotesux

Antidote is GREAT!....if you like drinking dirty dishwater instead of coffee.

Catalinaisbetterthanyourshop
Catalinaisbetterthanyourshop

I sat down with my fresh coffee that day next an outlet filled with an assortment of electronics plugged in.  Nearby sat a young lady with a dried up coffee from obviously hours ago, as she sat there talking on her cell phone, listening to music on her computer and charging her ipod.  When I asked her if I could plug in my computer to do some work while I drank my coffee, she gave me a disgusted expression before she reluctantly took out one of her luxuries from the outlet....as if she owned it.  You want to talk about community?!  Catalina has loads of community and that was robbed from them that day by selfish and greedy people with no consideration for the 'community'...leaches that probably normally hang out at starbucks (uggh)...the exact opposite of the ordinarily very sweet group of people that visit the Catalina.  I'm glad Cat' removed the outlets and I hope the people that care about that never come back because I'm sure they don't appreciate their amazing COFFEE...which is what the shop is about..

Ali
Ali

That's my other complaint against them. What a gross lack of community when it was really needed. 

Frank Freeman
Frank Freeman

may you should open an electrical outlet shop.

Norro
Norro

Just wait one pretentious minute.... you won't put raw sugar in your coffee but you'll eat a chocolate croissant??? 

WTF?

cafeluz
cafeluz

There's different styles of coffee joints and neither are right or wrong. We love offering free wifi (and couches! Oh my!) because we like people (the same people) hanging out. We get to know them, they get to know us. Its just the vibe we want. Other places just want to make and sell good coffee, that's cool, but it's not what we're all about. Then again, we're also a full service kitchen & bakery so the people lingering often end up staying for lunch or dinner.But in an article about coffeehouses, in this context, I have to agree with Katherine on not including wifi. However, to be true to that criteria, the ranking should have been more focused on the product served & service and less on the trendy neighborhood.

H_e_x
H_e_x

Damn straight.

Lecantu
Lecantu

Any breakfast taco place that uses store bought tortillas instead of making their own FAILS.

Welch
Welch

Back then, when that building that sat on the property where Inversion is now, there wasn't a coffee shop there at all. It was part of the Art League, I believe. They created an art installation, then tore it down and built what we now know as Inversion.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Yep! It was an installation by Dan Havel and Dean Ruck of Art League Houston: http://www.artlies.org/article... Inversion the coffeehouse opened in 2007, after the installation was dismantled. You can still see a giant "photo" of it on the side of the building.

Kyle
Kyle

Yes, there was no coffeeshop at that time. Art League wanted to build a new building, so while they were working on financing and etc. they let a couple artists convert the existing bungalows into an art project. It was very cool.

They've got a new project they did in Fifth Ward. http://www.chron.com/life/gray...

Kyle
Kyle

I'm sorry jim, but the predictable gripe we were looking for is that none of the coffeeshops are outside the Loop. Better luck next time.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I love Bohemeo's, and in fact gave them a great review last year. Last week's review, for that matter, was of a place in the Third Ward. I'm often confused by how some of our commenters overlook the fact that we cover the very things they complain don't get any coverage.

When it comes down to it, Houston has an enormous concentration of coffeehouses, and a lot of really good ones. How lucky are we? Choosing just 10 for a list was incredibly tough, I promise you. Just because your favorite was left off a list doesn't mean it's without merit or intrinsic value.

Eric S
Eric S

Geez, really? Brandon Fisch thinks that guy needs to pick a place to work and stick with it.

DownhouseRules
DownhouseRules

Thanks for the correction...Just tried them for the first time..they live up to it.....Add DownHouse!

Taggart
Taggart

But it wasn't on the list. So you are kinda right.

Buddy
Buddy

Well aren't you clever. 

Buddy
Buddy

Or I'll go to a number of other coffee shops that have wifi whether it's Starbucks or mom and pop type places.  My problem is more with Houston Press for saying it's inconsiderate to expect wifi when you're paying a premium to drink at a coffee shop.

It's inconsiderate to sit there for 3 hours and not order anything else, but wifi itself does not equal selfish.   I make pretty damn good coffee myself but the reason I go out to drink it is to get out of the house or the office. 

Donovan
Donovan

I'll make that predictable gripe Kyle

Since my office is on the Beltway near 249 I'd love to find coffee shops that aren't named Starbucks

Wyatt
Wyatt

"I love Bohemeo's, and in fact gave them a great review last year. Last week's review, for that matter, was of a place in the Third Ward."

SHUT UP, I STILL WANT TO BITCH ABOUT SOMETHING!

cafeluz
cafeluz

Pretty surprised about Downhouse, much better than a lot of the places listed. And coffeeismylife, you obviously haven't been here. Please give Matt's coffee a try prior to passing judgement.

cafeluz
cafeluz

You need to come in for agave sodas then! Or agave mocha. It's much better for you than splenda!

Ali
Ali

HA. Yeah, I guess that does seem weird to people who don't know me.

I've had type 1 diabetes for 21 years. I can pretty much eat whatever I want in moderation, but there are certain things I always avoid - adding sugar to coffee, teas, etc is one of them. I pretty much avoid anything that is straight sugar with no fat or protein to help it not spike my glucose level. Things like regular soda, sweetened drinks, hard candy. I drink coffee every day, but I don't have pastries daily... Not that I don't want to!

cafeluz
cafeluz

$45 a month. Seriously? It's not a money matter or about 'paying for a service.' wifi is about whether or not you want (or need) to be making money off of every single person in your establishment at any given movement. The rest is subjective, but to say wifi shouldn't be free because it costs money to provide is ridiculous. What kind of business can exist without an ISP?

Frank Freeman
Frank Freeman

my guess? shops that don't offer wifi, plugs or frilly ice cream drinks, yet are constantly full and featured constantly on best lists because they do a fantastic job

jasonofthesea
jasonofthesea

So, who's going to change 'the perception of the cafe?' Looking forward to that

Frank Freeman
Frank Freeman

Here's what I think is silly: Expecting a service that costs money to be served for free. I think it's great that some places so it, but it's a nice amenity that certainly shouldn't be an expected requirement for anything other than a place that sells wifi. 

Bars, where it is ASTRONOMICALLY more commonplace to order multiple drinks and linger for hours, aren't rated based on wifi provision, and no one says they aren't bars for not having it (though a good number indeed do) because the job of a bar is to serve booze (and sometimes have "the game" or whatever on if they're really nice:). I think it's equally true that it should be a coffee shop's job to serve coffee (and sometimes have wifi, if they're really nice).I think it's a ridiculous notion that because you pay "premium" prices for drinking coffee in a shop, you deserve wifi. I also think that if you purchased a few espresso grinders and a machine for 10k - 15k for your house, meanwhile trying to make your money back and profit at $3 average gross ticket per customer, and trying to pay your employees a wage you can feel like not a total piece of shit about, you would probably have a very different perception of what "premium" prices even are.I'm all about hanging out in the coffee shop. But I think the perception of the cafe needs to change. There are shops that are deliberately set up to feel like your living room (or better sometimes!). By all means, go to those places, but it's a total misnomer to think that that very specific, narrow-minded stereotype has to define the industry.

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