Though I wouldn't consider Houston a tourist destination, this city does attract a fair amount of visitors whether for work, conventions, or a stop on the way to a more exciting destination. I find myself in this Texas metropolis quite often as Jake goes there for work and my brother and sister-in-law live there. Since I work on my laptop from anywhere I happen to be I am ALWAYS looking for solid cafes and places to work. Hence why it was time to finally do a post on the best coffee shops in Houston.
I have to say; I have never been in a city where I had so many failed stops! I never understood why a chain like Starbucks was so popular and listed at the top on Google and Trip Advisor until I started researching the best coffee shops in Houston and saw how lacking Houston's coffee shop game was. Half way through my research I almost gave up and walked into one of the many well-designed Starbucks myself. I can’t believe I just said that.
This was probably the most frustrating search I have had for top coffee shops…but I persevered and did find some gems. So much so that I not only found 5 Houston coffee shops that have solid coffee and atmosphere, I also have 2 honorable mentions. These places are the best in Houston and I will happily be returning to them all each time I find myself in this city.
Whether you find yourself in Houston for fun or for work do not despair when in need of a caffeine fix. These spots are without a doubt the best coffee shops in Houston and worth a visit.
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Best coffee shops in Houston - TOP 5
1. Tout Suite – Downtown
The overall best coffee shop in Houston for coffee, food, energetic atmosphere, and work space.
My favorite and definitely one of the best coffee shops in Houston. Tout Suite has plenty of seating and workspace spread throughout two levels. Floor to ceiling windows let in plenty of light which means they don’t have to overdo the harsh overhead lighting like so many other coffee shops. Fast WiFi and plugs hidden everywhere from under tables and counters to the usual wall space. This is the most work friendly coffee shop in Houston.
It’s not just the atmosphere that makes this my favorite coffee shop in Houston…the food and coffee are true winners. Mouthwatering pastries, including vegan and gluten free, large salads, hearty bowls, smoothies, and fresh juices fill Tout Suite's menu. The coffee is great and any place that sells Stumptown cold brew by tap is always a winner in my book. The macarons, power bowl, breakfast croissant, and salmon toast were some of my favorite menu items.
Tout Suite was packed every time I visited, which means a steady stream of good (sometimes loud) background noise. There are a few parking spots in front of the building and if those are taken there were usually spots open along the street. The only downside is those floor to ceiling windows mentioned earlier don’t quite offer the best views since Tout Suite is downtown right next to the highway. You see the base of an upper level highway and under said highway is a homeless camp. I never felt unsafe, but I probably wouldn’t stay until closing time and walk to my car in the dark and alone.
2. Cavo Coffee – Greenway/Upper Kirby
One of the best coffee shops in Houston to work or study.
If you’re looking for a coffee shop in Houston that is a bit more quiet and refined than Tout Suite, Cavo Coffee is your place. There were always people working and meeting up with others whenever I visited, but it was never crowded or noisy. Plenty of tables and chairs, large windows, open space, and an overall great environment if you need to concentrate and get some work done.
There are two locations within 5 minutes from each other. I prefer the one on Bissonnet St. as it’s a little cozier than the one on Richmond Ave. Garage parking is available for the Richmond location and plenty of spots are available for the Bissonnet location.
A menu filled with gourmet sandwiches, tacos, overnight oats, and other treats mean you won’t go hungry. The menu at the Bissonnet is a little more extensive with salads and additional pastry options. Try the sweet corn cookie and a halogen siphon coffee!
3. Blonde Biscotti – Montrose
One of the best coffee shops in Houston for a sweet treat.
Even if the coffee at Blonde Biscotti was horrible, I would be tempted to add it to this list because a coffee shop dedicated to creating unique artisan soft baked biscotti is just genius. Thankfully the coffee was good too. The biscotti here isn’t tooth cracking hard like traditional biscotti. It’s a little softer and almost cake like. There are gluten free options and the flavors change depending on the day. I tried the red velvet and dark chocolate and both were so good I was temped to try 5 more flavors…but I refrained.
The atmosphere was bright with floor to ceiling windows. Tables and chairs along with plenty of counter space along the windows are available. The menu doesn’t stop at addicting biscotti, there are also breakfast casseroles, toasted bagels with an assortment of toppings, build your own parfait, and my favorite…croissant sandwiches. Try a coffee and espresso pairing. I go for the Midtown which includes an espresso, macchiato, sparkling chaser, and a biscotti.
4. Cafeza – First Ward (close to downtown)
The best coffee shop in houston for a european vibe.
This is one of the best Houston coffee shops if you want to feel like you’ve been transported to a European cafe. It was modeled after the cafes in Barcelona and Buenos Aires. If you are craving some Spanish flavor come for the churros, patatas bravas, empanadas, and bocadillos (little sandwiches). The fried plantains are also very good. Cafeza is more than just a Houston coffee shop, it also offers live music, serves awesome sangria among other alcoholic drinks and is open till midnight on the weekends. There is plenty of parking in the back and the servers are very friendly.
If you want to try something different get the Steampunk. It’s basically an upside-down French press that uses vacuum suction for a precise brewing method.
5. Boomtown Coffee – Greater Heights and Downtown
The best coffee shop in Houston for a hearty breakfast.
Boomtown Coffee has two locations that offer completely different vibes. If you love an energetic atmosphere and a vibe that feels more like the neighborhood breakfast spot, the Greater Heights location will the best Houston coffee shop for you. This location feels like it came straight out of Austin rather than Houston. Be prepared if you come on the weekends as the place is packed!
The downtown location is a 180 with a cute bistro feel. The food alone at both locations puts Boomtown on the list of the best coffee shops in Houston. Come here if you are hungry because the portions are generous and the menu will please any taste. Both menus offer delicious quiche, avocado toast, and boomtown tacos. The downtown location has a larger menu with salads, an amazing smoked salmon benedict, burger, and French toast.
Boomtown roasts its own coffee which is exceptionally smooth. The loose-leaf tea selection is also appreciated.
Honorable Mention – Agora – Montrose
The best coffee shop in Houston (and only place) to get an espresso or cappuccino freddo.
Agora is very similar to Cafeza. It lacks the extensive menu that Cafeza offers which is why it gets an honorable mention. Agora is a Greek café with old world charm. Dark woods and dim lighting throughout. Mismatched chairs and tables scattered around the first floor and the wrap around balcony on the second floor. There is also a nice patio, but you will be looking out to the street. After visiting Greece and becoming addicted to espresso freddo and cappuccino freddo I was beyond delighted to see these items on the menu. Both are cold drinks that are frothed beyond the normal amount. Who knew sticking plain espresso in a high powered frother could be so addicting and delicious?
You will see a mixture of people here. Students studying, digital nomads typing away on their computers, and others enjoying the company of their newspaper or friends.
Honorable Mention – Retrospect Coffee Bar – Midtown
One of the few Houston coffee shops that offers a large patio with picnic style seating.
Retrospect is another Houston coffee shop that feels like it came straight from Austin. This gas station turned coffee shop is perfect for when you want to be outside. The patio is spacious and the coffee and crepes are worth baring the heat and humidity in summer.
Are you a coffee shop addict? See my other coffee shop posts!