Despite the sweltering summers, Austinites love a fresh cup of coffee. When they aren’t brewing up their caffeine at home, they are often frequenting cafés with friends, enjoying an interesting drink or two.
Set yourself up for the day ahead with Café Nenaí’s South American-style espresso
The newcomer to the scene is a South American coffee shop that is tucked out of the way in the far reaches of East Austin. However, it’s worth the journey. The strong sense of community behind the café’s doors is complemented by the even stronger coffee, which you can dilute with a splash of milk or a teaspoon of sugar. However, don’t be put off by the size – one shot of its espresso will really get you going.
Bennu Coffee serves first-class mocha 24 hours a day, seven days a week
Cafe, Coffee Shop, Pastries, $$$
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Bennu Coffee specializes in mocha | @ Vox Communications
A late-night staple for over a decade, Bennu is open 24/7 and always lively. A favorite spot for the college crowd, it’s also the ideal choice if you really like mocha. Instead of focusing on expanding its coffee menu, Bennu brought mocha to a place where it could compete with even the best cappuccino. If you aren’t sure where to start, try the Raven. At Bennu, you can open a tab and stay as long as you want, providing you purchase something from the menu. This makes it dangerous for those who need a constant stream of caffeine while getting work done. However, Bennu’s fantastic coffee, free Wi-Fi, food from local Austin restaurants and 24-hour service make it one of the best places in the city to study.
Previously Vintage Heart Coffee, this neighborhood favorite is nestled into a bungalow on East 7th Street. Its simple menu of espresso and coffee beverages is made spectacular by its use of a local roast from Third Coast Coffee and house-made syrups. The café also has an expansive outdoor patio where you can enjoy wine and beer or maybe even a pastry in the sunshine.
Deep in South Austin is Radio Coffee where great coffee, cold beer, good food and entertainment all come together. One of America’s favorite roasteries, Stumptown, supplies the coffee. Most of the beer that fills the taps is local, and a rotating list of food trucks are around to keep you fed. The cafés program of events, however, is what keeps folks coming back. Choose from music or outdoor movies on any night of the week.
Fleet Coffee has so much flavor packed into every cup that it seems to flow out of its pocket-size space. The baristas here specialize in inventive drinks like the ET, which is a dose of tonic water, espresso, lime and simple syrup. Even if you’ve been here dozens of times, there is always something new to try.
Shake things up with a stop at Brew & Brew. Many local roasters hang out at this coffee house because it doubles as one of the city’s best beer bars. Try local beans or a local brew, depending on the time of day. It’s also one of the few spots in town where you can sample some AeroPress coffee, which might change the way you think about caffeination forever.
Although it’s only been around for a few years, Cenote has earned a status as a staple in the East César Chávez district. This indoor-outdoor café is built into an old church and still has a calm vibe even at the busiest of times. Baristas consistently pass out mellow pour-over coffees alongside balanced espresso drinks that go perfectly with the café’s breakfast tacos. There’s also french-press coffee, beer, wine, open mic night on Fridays, food from local farms and organic tortillas. If you’re there later in the day, remember: wine bottles are half price on Wednesdays.
With two locations, this Japanese-inspired coffee house predictably incorporates strong bold flavors and matcha. Instead of a mid-morning pastry, try one of its toasts alongside a fresh-brewed espresso. You’ll be surprised how well the flavors of the East meet those of the West.
Pacha sells organic brews, sandwiches and snacks in a fun environment. It has amazing home-made pancakes and quiches, making Pacha a great place to eat while you study. Although it’s known for its in-house breakfasts, its coffee is noteworthy as well. What the menu lacks in complicated creations, however, it makes up for with consistency. The space is relatively small and more of a café than a coffeehouse, but its casual vibe and homey service (it’s run by the original owners) make it a pleasant place to spend your afternoon studying and sipping coffee.