Houston is home to some top-notch coffee shops.

Among the largest cities in the United States, Houston usually evokes images of oil derricks and football, cotton and aerospace. Those industries and cultures that have made the city the modern metropolis it is today can sometimes obscure the other realities of contemporary Houston. For example, there is a vibrant market for the visual and performing arts. There is also a small but dedicated Goth culture in this town full of traditionalists. Most interesting is the plethora of coffee houses and internet cafes. In fact, the coffee culture in Houston is vibrant and expansive. It is also as unique as the city itself.

Sure, as in every other city, Starbucks is ubiquitous but that is not a factor in understanding Houston cafes. The renaissance of the downtown business district—top flight commercial space, luxury condominiums, and even more opulent hotels—now reflects a mobile, even transient population. Each new resident, commuter, and out-of-towner is looking for a taste of home in their new city. As a result, the best Houston cafes are hybrid mixes of coffee houses and wine bars, with substantial menus that dwarf the formulaic panini sandwiches and muffins so typical of the national chains. Yes, they have WiFi there but the atmosphere is different at local Houston cafes.

As Houston’s economy grows more diversified; as tech experts and millennial non-profit execs rub shoulders with energy tycoons and cattle traders; slowly but surely Houston cafes are becoming tonier, more artsy, and more demanding in their roast preferences and food tastes. As Ethiopian yirgacheffe espresso and avocado toast displace the standard cafe latte and a blueberry scone, the best Houston cafes tend to also be the priciest. Previously decaying neighborhoods like EaDo (East Downtown) are going upscale. Already affluent areas like Montrose are seeking to become even more so. High-end Houston internet cafes simply reflect this gentrification.

Reflective of this new coffee culture is the high profile and competitiveness of Houston baristas. One such expert travels the world teaching the fine crafts of roasting, grinding, brewing and making latte art. Local baristas invest much time and effort perfecting their skills in areas like the history of espresso, proper grinding procedures, basic pouring techniques, milk steaming, and texturing. Yes, they are that serious. They’re now comparable to a good sommelier in terms of tasting and palate development. In fact, Houston could well become the city where barista evolves from part-time job to bona fide profession.

Houston may not reach the level of Seattle when it comes to identifying with a coffee culture. Yet the culture is there to be sampled and even indulged. Those who care about the origin of their beans—Europe, Asia, Africa, e.g.—can now find passionate soul mates in Houston. Those seeking a gourmet snack that eclipses the cinnamon roll can find a bacon, egg, and goat cheese croissant in Houston. The quiet, scholarly, laid back, ambiance is all there too. Here are the 9 very best coffee shops in Houston based on service, the happiness of customers, ambiance and the quality of coffee, espresso, and tea.

#9 Coffeeshop Company

This Austrian company from Vienna opened its first store in the United States in The Woodlands Texas. The owner, Ahmed Ramadan, has lived in The Woodlands since 1976. During his business travels to Europe, he fell in love with the Coffeeshop Company and its unique atmosphere centered around friends and family.

#8 Fix Coffeebar

Known for their great customer service and fantastic coffee they have great ambiance, and they also serve beer. The WiFi is fast and everyone is very friendly.

#7 Crescent Moon Coffee Bar & Cafe

A nice small independent coffee shop in NW Houston. Besides great coffee, they also make really good breakfast. Omelets, quiches, and more healthy options. They also have fantastic iced coffee for hot days in Houston.

#6 The Nook Cafe

A good place for a casual work meeting. Great atmosphere, funky decor, great staff and really good lattes. They also have a small beer selection.

#5 Dunn Brothers Coffee

Located in Friendswood, they are known not just for their fantastic coffee but also welcoming atmosphere. All the employees are exceedingly friendly and the place has great service. A perfect place for hanging out with a group on a nice day.

#4 Catalina Coffee

Catalina Coffee has a pleasant atmosphere inside the cafe. It’s a cozy and friendly local coffee shop with excellent coffee and hot tea with good service. Local art is displayed and available for purchase.

#3 A 2nd Cup

Near downtown, they have amazing cappuccinos and it’s a nice place to have a personal meeting. They have WiFi, power outlets, a parking lot, and excellent coffee. The food menu has also some delicious items.

A 2nd Cup is a non-for-profit organization and the proceeds are used for a good cause; to stop human trafficking, and to help the survivors.

#2 Campesino Coffee House

Know for their latino-centric menu and sensibilities, they serve traditional style coffee drinks. They have a lot of indoor seating where you can sprawl out on a table to study or just have a nice chat with a friend. They WiFi is lightning fast and their cafe is perfect for working solo or chatting with a friend over coffee.

#1 Blacksmith

Of all the coffee shops in Houston, one just stands out above the rest. Blacksmith serves up specialty coffee and quality food with exceptional service. The coffee shop lives up to its name by making as much as possible by hand and seeking out the best purveyors of the products they sell. Because of this approach, Blacksmith has become a hub for Houston’s creative class.


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