Coffee Love: New Orleans is the Place to Bean
Due to several past Bon Vivant posts about tea, many of you don’t realize I’m actually a fiend for coffee. It’s possible that I signed something early in my journalism career legally binding me to never turn down a cup, no matter what brand, brewing technique or how long it has been sitting in the pot (or vending machine). There are of course exceptions to the rule, but it’s also like this with most of my industry colleagues who, like me, consider coffee an essential food group. That’s not to say I don’t know the difference between trash coffee and its finer siblings. Rather, I love the bean so much, that I appreciate it in every one of its forms, from newsroom vending machine sludge to an ethically sourced, fresh-ground, artisanal pour over. There is a time and a place for every type of coffee. By that I mean most of the time and in any place.
A few years ago, I wrote about New Orleans’ long and storied coffee history. To quote myself (and the Times-Picayune) from a 2015 Bon Vivant post, “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’.”
Needless to say, it’s easy (and fun) to find local roasters. Below is truly a teeny, tiny taste of the vast number of coffee roasters in this city, so please do share your favorites in the comments, along with links. I’ll remind you at the end.
During the week, my go-to is Community Coffee’s 5 Star Hotel Blend. It has a mellow, caramel finish and pairs well with my daily breakfast of granola and fruit. Feel Good Bonus: The company is donating a portion of its retail grocery sales to The Salvation Army through Oct. 31 to aid with Hurricane Laura relief efforts. We often switch off during the week with New Orleans Roast’s Southern Pecan. I’m normally not a fan of flavored coffees, but boy am I glad I didn’t turn my nose up at it. Try it, especially if like me you tend to be underwhelmed by flavored varieties.
On the weekend, I like to switch it up and taste test coffee from local roasters. (Though if we’ve been traveling or if I feel froggy, I’ll pick something up from a coffee house wherever we’re staying or order online from an out-of-town roaster. For example, Blue Bottle out of Oakland, California is a much-beloved brand.)
There are two Mojo Coffee houses and a Mojo Coffee Roasters location within two miles of our home, so needless to say, the company is high on my list due to proximity alone. No matter what blend I get though, it’s always top-notch. Also, as long as public health officials continue to recommend social distancing, the company is offering free delivery within one business day (to your home) of the products listed on its website. Meanwhile, the company also recently participated in a collaboration with five other independent roasters in the U.S., creating the Keurig, single-serve coffee pod “Love Blend.” Read more about the project in this piece by my colleague Rich Collins on MyNewOrleans.Com’s sister site, Biz.Com.
Most recently, I tried Coast Roasters’ Streetcar Medium Roast. Did I try it solely based on the name and the adorable streetcar stamped on the label? Yes. Was it delicious? Also, yes. The cold brew by the gallon and other blends are also on my radar for future tastings.
Next up however is Orleans Coffee’s Guatemala Antigua Finca Villaure and then a bag of the Guatemala Huehuetenan SHB from Hey Coffee Co. I have a serious weakness for Guatemalan blends. I just can’t resist the hints of chocolate and sweet finish.
On that note, what’s your favorite local coffee roaster?