The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Coffee Shops

Categories: Caffeine, Top 10

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Photo by emmiegrn
The Pig Stand may not be around anymore, but these great spots are.
The last time we compiled a list of Houston's best coffee houses was in February 2011, and things have certainly changed since then.

In just the last several months, Houston's caffeine scene has benefited from several new entrants, all of which are determined to raise the city's coffee profile just as our bar and restaurant profiles have both been raised in the past year.

What makes a great coffee shop? It's not just the brews. The quality of product is important, of course, but so is the atmosphere (the physical feel of the space) and overall vibe (the emotional connection -- do you feel welcome there?). Personally, I don't consider wi-fi as a determining factor although some may disagree. Coffee shops should not be expected to do double duty as your living room or home office. That said, several of the shops on this list do actively encourage patrons to hunker down and stay awhile, starting with the No. 10 pick.

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Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
Ben's Beans
10. Minuti Coffee / Ben's Beans (tie)

These two very different coffee shops share one thing in common: a downtown address. Minuti Coffee in the Rice Hotel is the epitome of the small, easily accessed coffee shop that I wish were more prevalent downtown. The coffee selection is diverse enough to cater to all crowds, the staff is friendly and laid back but their speed gets you in and out and back to work quickly. Ben's Beans, across the street from the House of Blues, is massive. A large, quiet back room is practically custom-made for studying, and you'll often find South Texas law students sprawled out as a result. In fact, the overall feel is less coffee shop, more student union building. Both shops also offer free wi-fi.

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Photo by Troy Fields
Bohemeo's
9. Bohemeo's / Doshi House (tie)

The only thing I don't like about Bohemeo's is that it's not in my immediate neighborhood. Lucky East Enders and University of Houston students are, however, in close proximity to this little jewel. I'm a sucker for a pourover here along with a sweet potato bar (imagine a brownie made with sweet potatoes), especially on nights when there's live music on the patio and a breeze. Those who crave sweeter drinks will love Bohemeo's mochachino, a grown-up version of the old Starbucks favorite. Doshi House is a lot like Bohemeo's: the only coffee shop in the neighborhood (the Third Ward, in this case), but offers a wide selection of vegetarian and vegan fare along with fresh-squeezed juices for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
Black Hole
8. Black Hole / Inversion (tie)

These two Montrose coffee shops feature everything a neighborhood resident could want in a coffee shop: plenty of comfortable seating, food from local vendors such as Michael's Cookie Jar and Radical Eats, welcoming patios and free wi-fi. Both also conveniently feature evening hours, for those nighttime coffee cravings that can't be satisfied at places like Blacksmith or Catalina. Black Hole is a popular haunt for St. Thomas students doing laundry next door and studying, while Inversion draws a diverse crowd and a rotating slate of food trucks during breakfast and lunch. Try the 24-hour cold brewed coffee at Inversion for something sweet but light, and refreshing on a muggy day.


Location Info

Map

Minuti Coffee

909 Texas St., Houston, TX

Category: General

Ben's Beans

1302 Dallas, Houston, TX

Category: General

Bohemeo's

708 Telephone Road, Houston, TX

Category: General

Doshi House Cafe

3419 Dowling St., Houston, TX

Category: General

Black Hole Coffee House

4504 Graustark St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Inversion

1953 Montrose, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Antidote Coffee

729 Studewood, Houston, TX

Category: General

Down House

1801 Yale, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Revival Market

550 Heights Blvd, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Eatsie Boys

4100 Montrose Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: General

Boomtown Coffee

242 W. 19th St., Houston, TX

Category: General

Southside Espresso

904 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX

Category: General

Blacksmith Coffee Bar

1022 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX

Category: General

Catalina Coffee

2201 Washington, Houston, TX

Category: General


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34 comments
ryansupak
ryansupak

Houston Press food reviews often strike me as the mechanical regurgitation of whatever the trendy "foodie blogger" status quo is at the moment. (I come to this conclusion after having read them for many years).

With the exception of Catalina which can't even be touched by anything else in Houston, this almost could have been a top-10 list of the places with trendy ingredients in trendy neighborhoods, or a top-10 list of places to see designer yoga pants.

Maybe the "Indie Yuppie" thing is, in truth, the "aspirational lifestyle" that the people who click on Houston Press inline ads desire in the year 2013. If that's the case, then the articles are doing their job, and I have no complaint.

rs

wumpusmonkey
wumpusmonkey

Waldo's definitely needs to be on this list. There have been MAJOR changes in staff, menu, even the building itself since last July. The coffee's good, and the atmosphere is comfortable. If you haven't been recently, you're doing yourself a disservice.

Fredsix66
Fredsix66

I was hoping Fioza Cafe would make this list too. They do a great job over there in the Meyerland rivaling anything Catalina Coffee is doing. 

randomreader
randomreader

Inversion/Black Hole tie for 10th

Bohemeo's/Doshi Housetie for 12th

Minuti Coffee/Ben's Beans tie for 14th

Robert Knox
Robert Knox

Oh man, how did Double Trouble get left off this list? Great coffee, great atmosphere and the friendliest damn baristas/bartenders I've ever met.

Rene Reed
Rene Reed

My favorite coffee is the pot that is brewed and waiting for me each morning in my kitchen. There is never a line and it is always made just the way I like it. Boring, perhaps, but perfect.

Glenn Ray
Glenn Ray

Anytime I'm within five miles of Catalina Coffee they've got my business. However, my daily favorite in NW area is The Daily Brew (Eldridge & Cypress North Houston).

Descent Into Madness
Descent Into Madness

No Cafe Europe? All we get are these anemic concrete/metal warehouses with comfort-opposed chairs? The author needs to have a reality check.

Jeff Gilmer
Jeff Gilmer

You mean top 15? lol. Seriously though Catalina is the tops for me by far. Black Hole would be my #2

Barbara Pender
Barbara Pender

Right in my kitchen, however the the breakfast klub..never disappoints.

Peggy Lane
Peggy Lane

Great article, I don't agree with all the list but then I don't have to agree! What I truly enjoy is the bounty of fab coffee we now have in Houston. A great followup with be on local coffee roasters - not all with their own storefront. (And my roaster list would not match my coffee list).

timblack2
timblack2 topcommenter

Here are the Top 15 shops for the Top 10....wha??

Kylejack
Kylejack topcommenter

Double Trouble is #1 on my list. Rail access, nice people, wifi, a fantastic latte, and comfortable seating. Bring a few breakfast tacos and it's a party!

Johnc
Johnc

Can an honorable mention be given to Waldo's.  They always had a great coffee but it was sometimes not the most welcoming place.  Between the recent renovations and new menu items its taken a great leap towards a more go-to shop,

FRL713
FRL713

We desperately need an independent coffee shop west of The Galleria, nothing but Starubucks and Grocery Store options out here.

amesbuehrer
amesbuehrer

Congrats Catalina! And to my son, Ecky and all their talented co-coffee meisters!  I agree with Jalapeno - there's just too much great coffee in H-town to make this a "Top 10" list. I would also add Paulie's, and anyone whose had one of those delicious cookies with their coffee for an afternoon snack would concur!

Paulie's carries Ecky's Greenway roasted beans, along with Doshi House, Revival Market and Eatsie Boys, among others.

Jalapeno
Jalapeno

Too many ties.  Why not a top 20?

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editor

@Descent Into Madness Hello. Author here. Although people visit/use coffee shops for many different reasons (I usually get a cup of coffee and leave, or stay for as long as it takes to finish the cup and have a nice chat with a friend) the chairs and sofas at the following places are just right for resting your buns: Antidote, Down House, Ben's Beans, Black Hole, the giant wall couch at Inversion and Boomtown Coffee. All places on the list, all places with great, comfy seating. Thanks for your kind and considerate comment.

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editor

@Kylejack I am beating myself up for neglecting Double Trouble. Total oversight. It's my own fault for almost always getting cocktails when I go; I tend to think of it as a bar first, coffee shop second - which it's not. It's equal parts. Thanks for the note!

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editor

@Johnc Consider it honorable mentioned. It reminds me of my old college coffee shop, Common Grounds. Very sweet little place.

someonex
someonex

@Johnc I love Waldo's.  It's a great place to get studying done, and the coffee's very good.

timblack2
timblack2 topcommenter

@kshilcutt @timblack2 I shall I shall. Off topic: I left a comment on the Westchase top 10 about the area between Westchase and Galleria....thoughts?

Peggy
Peggy

DT deserves an edit to the list. Tag it up with another - there's already doubles/trios on the list.

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