Seattle may be the birthplace of the largest coffee chain ever created, but the city of New Orleans is home to one of America's earliest coffee cultures. Aside from quite possibly inventing the morning coffee break, New Orleans was at one point the second-largest importer of coffee in all of America.
All that is to say that Nola still has one hell of a coffee scene and when you think of truly unparalleled coffee, you should be thinking of New Orleans. From the classic chicory cafe au lait to third-wave coffeehouses sporting more Chemex than there are puddles of vomit on Bourbon Street, all your coffee needs will handily be met there.
Here are our picks for the best and brightest coffee spots in all of New Orleans. For more tips on where to go and what to eat while in New Orleans, check out the complete MUNCHIES Guide to New Orleans.
Sólo Espresso: Tucked away in the Bywater, this small coffee joint uses Chemex and Clever Drippers, so this place is for the methodical, well-brewed cup of coffee. It also hosts small food popups, and the basement coffee joint almost feels like a speakeasy. The space is small, but the coffee is great.
Mammoth Espresso: This spot is all about trying to bring people back to espresso and exploring the wide world of teas. Using Madcap beans, Mammoth has equipment that squirts out water at various temperatures, depending on the beans or tea. As a heads up, the cafe is only open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., so don't stop by late in the day.
Satsuma Cafe: This spot has two locations in the city and you're lucky for it. Folks are quick to call it hipster, likely because it has a healthy menu, it's quick and casual, and it has with fresh-pressed juice. Order the Green Eggs and Ham sandwich: eggs, pesto, ham, and swiss cheese on a croissant. This is a safe space if you're looking for a break from the heavy, coma-inducing food that New Orleans serves up regularly. As a heads up, they turn off the internet during their busiest hours.
Fair Grinds Coffeehouse: During peak business hours, it can be a little tough to find a table here, but the coffee always has your back and the internet is pretty solid. Plus, they have a nice patio when the weather isn't brutal. On the ultimate upside, between Thanksgiving and March, the horse races are on at the nearby horse track. It's worth a visit.
The Orange Couch: This coffee shop not only has an orange couch and coffee, but also Vietnamese coffee, mochi ice cream, affogato, and Thai iced tea. The big draw is that the place is overrun by local writers, artists, and other creatives who are all working on various projects. The wifi is always solid, so if you need to do some work or just check your email, this is a good place to hang out, doodle, and strike up a conversation.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters: Find this coffee chain in the lobby of the Ace Hotel. This place has a brass and marble tap system that pours out its cold brew coffee, as well as pastries from its upscale restaurant, Josephine Estelle. It's chic, classy, and a good place to relax with a cup of coffee.
Mojo Coffee House: There are two Mojo Coffee Houses in New Orleans. They both have some outdoor seating and are known as easy, laidback spots. They're open until midnight and have some of the kindest servers in the city. Definitely a place to people watch or relax and check your email.
Cherry Espresso Bar: Once just a corner stand inside Stein's Deli on Magazine Street, Cherry Espresso follows the "third wave" approach to coffee, which includes measuring shots with a digital scale, the use of timers, and knowing all the facts behind your beans. Lauren Fink, the owner, is one of the most engaged and lovely baristas you can find anywhere. The original stand is still at Stein's, but Fink's new building is inside an old fire station.
HiVolt: This is a solid place to do work and hang out with some engaged locals. They have wifi and outlets (although the internet is iffy at times), and have a great menu with vegan options. Plus, when you're ready to head out, there are plenty of bars and great restaurants nearby to start your night.
Sacred Grinds: Want to drink coffee surrounded by cemeteries? Luckily you can because Sacred Grinds exists. The coffee spot with a giant front porch is zombie-themed and serves up locally-roasted coffee, iced coffee, and fruit smoothies. But the best part of this place is that you can grab a cup of coffee and take a long walk around the above-ground, ornately-decorated graves.
Spitfire Coffee: This aptly-named coffee shop is tiny and serves up some incredibly well-brewed coffee. It's been open for a few years now, and its top-quality product is why it has become such a high-traffic area. The baristas are known for their incredible skill at producing those beloved pour overs and espresso drinks.
Church Alley Coffee Bar: At the end of December, Church Alley is closing its location in Central City (where it occupied the front room of an impromptu movie theater) and moving to Mid City. This coffee shop is always great with quality food and internet, and it serves as a well-intentioned and engaging community space. The new location will have weekend brunch and will likely continue to be a favorite of locals.
For our complete list, check out the rest of our picks for New Orleans in the MUNCHIES Guide to New Orleans.