When it comes to my love of coffee, I’m at “Gilmore Girls” level. (If you’ve never seen the Warner Bros. series, “Gilmore Girls,” shame on you and a) cue it up in Nexflix and watch every episode right now, b) look for the upcoming revival of the series and c) the main characters, “Lorelei” and “Rory” were fiends for the bean.) At home, we enjoy simple, black Community Coffee most of the time, but I also occasionally whip up espresso, lattes and cappuccinos or employ the French press when the mood strikes. One of my favorite pastimes however is visiting a favorite local coffee haunt or trying a new one.
New Orleans of course has a long and storied history when it comes to coffee. The city is not only known for chicory and café au lait, but also as a port city, New Orleans has been a major player in the coffee game for more than a century. In the 19th and 20th centuries, New Orleans was the biggest coffee port in the country and countless companies, roasters and distributors have been in the Crescent City for decades, according “Coffee: The Times-Picayune covers 175 years of New Orleans History.”
It’s no surprise that New Orleans is seeing a bit of a bean boom in recent years. Many have dubbed the new shops featuring craft techniques and high quality beans the third wave coffee movement. Whether it’s first, second or third wave, the variety of choices is putting a little more pep in this coffee lovers step. In celebration of New Orleans’ coffee history and of coffee in general, I’m offering up my list of go-to New Orleans caffeine purveyors for those who like me, enjoy a well made cup of coffee — or 20.
HiVolt (pictured above)
Lower Garden District
1829 Sophie Wright Place
This is the place for serious lovers of coffee. High quality, sustainable beans roasted by Durham, North Carolina-based Counter Culture Coffee are crafted into pour overs, drip, cold pressed, espresso, cappuccinos and, my personal favorite, lattes and pretty much any other coffee drink you can dream up. The interior is bright, modern and open and they also serve vegetarian and vegan friendly fare. The lattes are so creamy and delicious, you’ll find yourself day dreaming about them several times a week. I often pick HiVolt as a place to meet for a coffee date, because everyone is always so blown away by how good the coffee after taking that first sip.
627 St. Peter St.
Spitfire is similar to HiVolt in terms of the quality of its coffee and the skill of the baristas. It’s nestled in a diminutive space not far from Jackson Square and is the perfect place to stop for a to-go cup of Joe or perch on one of the stools for a few minutes sipping and people watching out the window. Latte art included.
District Hand Pie & Coffee Bar
5637 Magazine St.
Also committed to quality roasted coffee, District Hand Pie & Coffee Bar — the little sister (or brother?) to District Donuts Sliders Brew — uses small batch roasted coffee from 1000 Faces. While there isn’t any indoor seating, on a nice day I recommend taking your brew outside and grabbing a spot at one of the charming vintage-style benches.
Revelator Coffee Company
Revelator Coffee is part of a chain with locations across the South in Birmingham, Alabama; Atlanta, Georgia; and Chattanooga and Nashville, Tennessee. But, you wouldn’t know it when you step inside the spartan, modern space on Tchoupitoulas. The local branch sources some of its beans in New Orleans and roasts all its coffee in-house. American-made herbal teas, equipment, stoneware and even the aprons on the baristas (which come from the New Orleans brand Holt McCall) are some of the company’s signatures and seriously delicious coffee is on tap.
7901 Maple St.
3218 Dauphine St.
The Maple Street location of Satsuma is one of those places I go when I want a little me time in the morning before heading into the office. With a philosophy centered on fresh, healthy, local and organic ingredients for its homemade food, Satsuma also is a great place to grab breakfast, so give yourself time to linger over your fair trade coffee and “green eggs and ham breakfast sandwich.”
New Orleans Coffee & Beignet Co.
4141 St. Charles Ave.
Lest I be labeled a coffee snob, I thought it important to include New Orleans Coffee & Beignet Co. We live near the one on St. Charles Avenue, so the convenience factor is undeniable, but the beignets and café au lait are great and the atmosphere has charm to spare. The staff is always friendly and helpful and if you are regular, the punch card is a must so you can earn a free coffee. It’s tucked away behind the New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood Co. too, so it feels like a bit of a neighborhood secret. Don’t worry, I’m not disparaging or comparing NOCBC to Morning Call, the French Quarter’s iconic Café du Monde or the ever-delightful Café Beignet, but I wanted it to be known that I have much love for my neighborhood beignet shop.
Rue De La Course
1140 S. Carrollton Ave.
Rue De La Course could get an honorable mention for atmosphere and friendly staff alone, but it also has delicious, locally roasted, small batch coffee (and yummy sandwiches and pastries). Admittedly, I’m a fan more of its regular drip coffee than the espresso drinks, but don’t let my preferences deter you from trying the lattes and cappuccinos. Housed in an historic bank building, the space has impossibly high ceilings, creating an airy and vast feeling, even in the loft area. I love going there to write or enjoy coffee and conversation.
What’s your favorite coffee shop in town and why? Share in the comments or email me at Melanie@MyNewOrleans.Com.