I began encountering some of the best coffee shops in Austin the first week I arrived.
My e-commerce conference (so cliche, I know) was held at the W Hotel across the street from Halcyon.
Halcyon reminded me of some of the grungier cafes I hung out in when I was younger. After renting an apartment a few blocks away, it became my go-to spot.
Since then, I've continued to explore Austin's cafe scene with as much an eye toward the location, design, accessibility of electric outlets, and food offerings as the coffee quality.
I'm a social coffee drinker and enjoy going to coffee shops for the full experience, whether working alone, co-working, or catching up with friends.
With all that in mind, I've put together a list of what I consider the best coffee shops in Austin, organized by neighborhood. Click the link below to jump to that part of the list.
Austin's Top Cafes
As downtown Austin continues to grow, so does the number of cafes in the city center.
Halcyon is a sentimental favorite, as I mentioned at the top. Centrally located, it's one of the last remaining vestiges of Austin's old city center.
As shiny glass office towers and hotels continue to go up around it, I hope Halcyon can hang on to its original location.
During the day, Halcyon attracts a young, casual crowd. The inside is a little dark, and the music can be too loud to concentrate on work, so I prefer it for socializing.
While they no longer offer the avocado toast with smoked salmon I liked, they still have enough to choose from for a quick bite. Their s'mores dessert is popular.
Halcyon transitions to a bar and lounge in the evening, with weekly live music shows and other events. It's an all-around great place to hang out.
Halcyon opened a second, more modern, kid-friendly cafe in the Mueller neighborhood, which I'll cover below.
218 W 4th St, Downtown Austin, halcyoncoffeebar.com
See also: Best Speakeasies in Austin
After moving to Austin, I learned Lance Armstrong is one of a handful of celebs making his home here.
Despite his tumultuous past, there's no denying the popularity of his downtown bike shop, Mellow Johnnys.
When my friend Alicia offered to introduce me to Juan Pelota (which translates as "one ball," referring to Armstrong's battle with testicular cancer), I went with an open mind.
The cafe is small but pleasant. The location within a bike shop adds some visual interest to getting a coffee here.
We spent a few hours working. I enjoyed a nicely prepared cappuccino and the Brown Cow smoothie with banana, peanut butter, chocolate, and milk.
I was also happy to see Juan Pelota features pastries from Lady Quackenbush's Cakery, one of my favorite pastry shops.
400 Nueces St, Downtown Austin, austin.mellowjohnnys.com
Opened in August 2019, Intelligentsia is one of the newer arrivals to Austin's downtown cafe scene.
My only previous experience with Intelligtentisa was visiting their coffee bar at the High Line Hotel in New York City.
This small, ultra-minimalist cafe is on the ground floor of the Facebook building.
A glass facade allows plenty of natural light, and a tall ceiling leaves lots of room for their colorful tile backdrop to shine.
Intelligentsia has multiple offerings on tap, including a nitro cold brew, nitro latte, and nitro matcha latte ($6.75).
After tasting them all, I ordered the nitro matcha latte and a mushroom goat cheese pastry. Easy Tiger and Odd Duck supply the pastries.
This cafe is best suited for a drink on the go or a quick snack, not a long work session or a comfy coffee date.
607 W 3rd St, Downtown Austin, intelligentsiacoffee.com
See also: Best Restaurants in Austin
Codependent Cocktails + Coffee
Codependent is a chic, Italian-inspired lounge one block west of Intelligentsia on the ground floor of the Independent condo tower.
The arrival of this cozy bar and cafe in 2020 offers downtown residents and visitors a more comfortable space to relax with friends over coffee or a date during aperitivo.
A laptop-free policy after 4 p.m. encourages guests to connect with people instead of using the space solely for work.
301 West Ave, Suite 110, Downtown Austin, codependentatx.com
Related: Italian Coffee Culture in Milan
Head to Alta's Cafe on the Hike and Bike Trail near The Four Seasons for a gorgeous view of Ladybird Lake while you sip your iced latte.
Usually, when I stop here after going for a long walk, it's to get a smoothie.
My favorite is Milkin' the Cacao with almond milk, banana, almond butter, raw cacao, and raw honey ($7.50).
They also offer plenty of food options, including breakfast tacos, avocado toast, a turkey and pesto sandwich, and an Antonelli's cheese and charcuterie plate.
Given the views, it's also a popular happy hour spot. They serve wine and beer, too.
74 Trinity St, Downtown Austin, altascafe.com
Cenote was one of the first coffee shops I visited in East Austin. I love that the owners created a cafe in a historic building that dates back to 1887.
In 2011, they received a "Merit Award for Adaptive Use" from the Heritage Society of Austin. I usually sit inside, though there's tons of outdoor seating on their patio.
In addition to great coffee and house-made chai tea, they offer Texas craft beers, wine, and a full breakfast/lunch/dinner menu.
Be sure and try Paper Route Bakery while you're there. This small-batch bakery makes excellent cakes which they sell by the slice.
1010 E Cesar Chavez St, East Austin, cenoteaustin.com
Related: Fika - Traditional Swedish Coffee Break
Wright Bros. Brew and Brew
Brew and Brew is a local favorite located on East 5th Street, across from Target and a few blocks from downtown.
Here, you'll find a friendly neighborhood cafe serving coffee, craft beer, and, more recently, cocktails.
Breakfast is served until 2:30 p.m., including Rosen's Bagels, and they've got some excellent sandwich options.
My favorite feature of Brew and Brew is the outdoor seating area which wraps around the corner of the building. It's an excellent spot for people-watching.
500 San Marcos St #105, East Austin, thebrewandbrew.com
Cuvee Coffee Bar
My first experience with nitro cold brew on tap is courtesy of Cuvee Coffee Bar in East Austin. I've been fond of the brand ever since.
My Airbnb host took me there, and I was an instant fan of the experience, perhaps because it reminded me of Guinness.
The coffee shop is a bit too dark and bare for me to hang out in for a long time, so I'm glad they led the way in creating nitro cold brews in a can.
The first three products were nitro black coffee, hemp oil, and horchata (all non-dairy). Additional flavors continue to be released.
2000 E 6th St, East Austin, cuveecoffee.com
Greater Goods Coffee Roasting Co.
If you like to drink your ethically-sourced coffee from local roasters, check out Greater Good's flagship cafe in East Austin.
In 2019, Food & Wine Magazine named Greater Goods the best coffee in Texas, and Roast Magazine recognized them as their 2021 Micro Roaster of the Year.
This spacious coffee shop offers plenty of seating and natural light, though I don't find the seating options as comfortable as other spots on this list.
A portion of proceeds from the sale of bags of coffee goes to support local charities, including the Central Texas Food Bank, Autism Society of Central Texas, and Austin Pets Alive!
2501 E 5th St, East Austin, greatergoodsroasting.com
Related: Best Brunch in Austin
Figure 8 Coffee Purveyors
Figure 8 has been around for a few years, but I only caught wind of it recently.
While writing this article, I stopped by for a cappuccino and liked the interior decor, at least in the main room.
A second room offers benches made of reclaimed wood but looks otherwise bare. Outdoor seating is also available.
Figure 8 offers a standard variety of coffee made using a beautiful white Italian espresso machine.
1111 Chicon St, East Austin, figure8coffeepurveyors.com
Opa Coffee and Wine Bar
The Greek-inspired, family-owned Opa Coffee and Wine Bar is one of my favorite coffee shops in South Austin.
The large patio is well-shaded by trees, making it an option even in Austin's hot summers.
The inside is what you'd expect of an old wooden house-turned-cafe and wine bar. It's comfortable, but I'd rather be outside under the giant oak tree.
The coffee menu includes all the usual favorites, plus Greek coffee as a house specialty.
The food menu features some pastries for breakfast and hummus, baked feta, Greek salad, gyros (my favorite), falafels, moussaka, etc.
2050 S Lamar Blvd, South Austin, opacoffeeandwinebar.com
Cosmic Coffee and Beer Garden
Cosmic Coffee and Beer Garden has a waterfall and koi pond in the middle of their outdoor patio. How cool is that!?
According to their website, they "utilize rainwater harvesting, chicken coops, on-site composting, biological ponds, raised-bed, rainwater, and waterfall gardens that attract pollinators and provide us with herbs, nuts, vegetables, eggs, and fruit."
Plus, their menu is incredible. Like the landscaping, the seasonal drinks are next-level.
Check out a few of these options from their latest winter menu:
- Cosmic Comet with cold brew, Mexican vanilla, orange honey, and oat milk
- Apple Chai-der with microbrewed chai and fresh apple cider
- Lavender matcha latte
Boozy coffees include classic Irish Coffee, Rum Thai Iced Coffee, and more.
Need something heartier? Check out the food trucks, including LeRoy and Lewis BBQ and Pueblo Viejo for tacos.
121 Pickle Rd, South Austin, cosmiccoffeebeer.com
Plaza Colombian Coffee
Plaza Colombian Coffee is a few blocks south of Cosmic on South Congress Avenue.
I'm a massive fan of Colombia. It feels like my second home after living there for so many years.
Moving to Austin has been fantastic in many ways, but I still miss Colombian culture, including the food and drinks.
So when I learned about Plaza Colombian Coffee, I invited my friend Jenn to join me.
Walking up to the cafe, you pass a small old jeep, like the ones still used today in the countryside.
The cafe is in a standalone building, meaning plenty of space. An outdoor bar serves Colombia-inspired tiki drinks.
They roast 100% Colombian coffee and offer a variety of traditional sweets and savory foods.
Specialty coffees include:
- Houston Bogota, a honey cinnamon iced cappuccino
- Late con Arequipe, a latte sweetened with Colombian arequipe (similar to dulce de leche)
- Oatiest Chai Latte
Getting together for food, drinks, music, and salsa dancing is a big part of Colombian culture. Plaza Colombian Coffee regularly hosts live music.
3842 S Congress Ave, South Austin, plazacolombiancoffee.com
Opened in February 2017 by mother-daughter duo Elena Sanguinetti and Gladys Benitez, Cafe Nena'i brings a Latin touch to Austin's cafe scene.
Since moving to the city, I've kept one eye open for businesses that remind me of my years living and traveling in South America.
Cafe Nena'i fits the bill. Elena was born in Paraguay, and "Nena'i" was her childhood nickname.
Savory pastries include empanadas, Venezuelan arepas, and Paraguayan cheese bread.
On the sweet side, there are Argentinian alfajors (yum!), medialunas (little croissants), arroz con leche (rice milk with cinnamon), and more.
Cuban espresso drinks are available, plus a cocido con leche, an infusion of yerba mate with milk. Mate is a popular tea drink in Argentina and Uruguay.
1700 Montopolis Dr, South Austin, cafenenai.com
The neon sign advertising "Espresso, Champagne, and Chain Lube" says it all. Or at least captures your curiosity if you're driving down South Congress.
Equal parts cafe, wine shop, and bike shop, The Meteor offers a welcoming space for everyone.
Housed in a renovated mid-century building, The Meteor is a partnership between two cycling enthusiasts -- Doug Zell, founder of Intelligentsia Coffee, and Chris St. Peter, a former lawyer.
Coffee, pastries, Roman-style pizza, and natural wines are on the menu. And for cyclists, you've got access to another bike shop and community in the city.
2110 S Congress Ave, Austin, espressochampagnechainlube.com
The Two Hands coffee shop began in NYC and expanded to Austin and Nashville.
They've been a welcome addition to the Music Lane development on South Congress Avenue.
You can enjoy an extensive drink menu here, from a great cup of coffee to specialties like turmeric chai latte and purple taro latte. Teas, juices, lemonades, and smoothies are also available.
In the mood for something more robust? Order a cocktail and snacks during their daily happy hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
1011 S Congress Ave Suite 170, South Austin, twohandsnyc.com
Radio Coffee & Beer
A few minutes' drive west of Cosmic Coffee and Plaza Colombian is Radio Coffee & Beer.
This popular South Austin cafe, which opened in 2014, serves its own coffee and offers guests a large outdoor patio with three food trucks:
- Veracruz (tacos)
- Dee Dee (northeastern Thai)
- Briscuits (biscuits and barbecue)
4204 Menchaca Rd, South Austin, radiocoffeeandbeer.com
I discovered Ovenbird last year and was immediately hooked on their Central and Eastern European baked goods, many of which I'd never heard of before.
Every visit is a fresh opportunity to try new pastries, like a Franzbroetchen (German-style cinnamon roll), sochniki (Ukrainian cheese scone), and chocolate babka.
They've WOW'd me with their seasonal drink menu, too. Last fall, I enjoyed a toasted black sesame latte.
More recently, I ordered a campfire white mocha with caramelized white chocolate mixed with cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, and a shot of espresso. Have mercy!
Ovenbird serves breakfast and a small selection of sandwiches and salads Tuesday through Sunday, from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
6501 S Congress Ave #211, South Austin, ovenbirdatx.com
Swedish Hill is a bakery, deli, and cafe in the exact location of its predecessor, the family-owned Sweetish Hill.
The bright, modern space was designed by McGuire Moorman Hospitality, a group responsible for some of the most stylish eateries in town, including June's, Josephine House, and Elizabeth St. Cafe.
The standard coffee options are available, and Fronk's nut milk is an additional $2. The tea selection is from The Steeping Room.
Fresh juices, mocktails, and a variety of beer, cider, and wine are also available.
As it's a bakery, you'll find some of the city's best pastries, bagels, and bread.
Signature sandwiches are available at 11 a.m., or you can make your own. The deli case is full of fish, meats, and caviar if you feel fancy.
1120 W 6th St, West Austin, swedishhillaustin.com
Better Half Coffee & Cocktails
A block south of Swedish Hill is Better Half Coffee & Cocktails, resulting from a partnership between three East Austin cafe owners—the Wright brothers (Brew and Brew) and Matthew Bolick (Flat Track).
Better Half opened in 2016 as a coffee shop and bar that delivered a tasty all-day food menu.
In 2018, they were named Eater's Austin Restaurant of the Year. Since then, the guys have also opened Hold Out Brewing next door.
Better Half's coffee menu currently features a cardamom clove latte and a rosemary lavender latte, which has me wondering why I'm not working from there right now!
406 Walsh St, West Austin, betterhalfbar.com
Mozart's Coffee Roasters
For fresh air, head to Mozart's Coffee Roasters. No list of the best coffee shops in Austin would be complete without this one.
An Austin original dating back to 1993, Mozart's is on the banks of the Colorado River at the western edge of the Tarrytown neighborhood.
It's known for its ample outdoor seating, including a multi-level wooden deck, on-site coffee roasting, and bottomless cups of hot coffee and cold brew.
Plus, it's a full bakery pumping out lots of sweet and savory pastries.
Every December, Mozart's strings up one million LED Christmas lights over the deck and play holiday music. It's a scene that attracts visitors from across the region.
In 2021, I dropped by when they hosted a meetup of Ferrari owners, which filled the parking lot with dozens of gorgeous Italian supercars.
3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, mozartscoffee.com
Civil Goat Coffee Co.
The original Civil Goat Coffee Co. cafe is a 30-minute drive west of downtown Austin.
Butters is the resident pygmy goat, and due to health codes, he's only allowed to hang out on the outdoor deck.
Soon after I ordered a cappuccino and avocado toast, Butters showed up. This was around noon.
The website suggests you will likely see him between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
He's a headstrong goat, as in he'll happily push his hard head into your shins for as long as you'll let him.
In addition to petting Butters, I watched him eat, poop, and push a staff member across the deck. He's a hoot!
When I had my fill, I returned to the cafe and ate one of their chocolate doughnuts before heading home.
The cafe's interior is small but comfortable and full of natural light.
Several people worked on laptops the first time I visited; I later co-worked there myself.
In 2020, Civil Goat Coffee Co. wisely opened a second, more accessible coffee shop in downtown Austin.
I visited the new space, which features an indoor coffee bar and a small outdoor patio.
Unlike the Cuernavaca location, the downtown cafe lacks roasting equipment, and Butters won't be making any appearances.
Original Shop & Roastery: 704 Cuernavaca Dr. N, West Austin, civilgoat.com
Downtown: 3423 Guadalupe St, Austin
Related: Malasadas at Leonard's Bakery
I have my friend Amanda to thank for introducing me to Hank's when we began co-working together.
The minute I arrived, I was enamored with the huge patio and minimalist aesthetic.
The pastries are delicious (hello brown butter chocolate chip cookie with sea salt), the lunch menu is a good value, and the service is friendly.
Oh, and there's coffee, of course—my first cup was the mint cold brew.
Inside, there's music, but it's not distracting. Power strips make it easy to stay plugged in, and the Wi-Fi has been sufficient for work purposes.
You'll find me working from one of the round tables in the shade in the spring and fall months. Hank's is, without a doubt, one of the best coffee shops in Austin.
5811 Berkman Dr, North Austin, hanksaustin.com
Halcyon Mueller is another of my favorite coffee shops for co-working.
It is opened in the Mueller neighborhood northeast of downtown and features high ceilings, geometrically designed stools, and plenty of natural light.
There's a long counter, lots of electric outlets, good Wi-Fi, and music that's not too loud.
Oh, and coffee, of course. They also offer fresh fruit smoothies and a more extensive food menu than the original downtown location.
Halcyon Mueller is a block from Lady Quackenbush's Cakery (1900 Simond Ave, Suite 300), where you'll find some of the city's best cupcakes.
1905 Aldrich St, Suite 110, North Austin, halcyoncoffeebar.com
My initial experiences with Houndstooth were through their downtown cafe at 401 Congress Ave in the Frost Tower, as I was living nearby.
It's a small, bare cafe, better suited for a quick coffee than a place to hang out.
So, I branched out and visited the North Lamar location in the same building as Uchiko, one of my favorite sushi restaurants, and a block south of Austin's Lamborghini dealership.
This cafe is relatively small, too, however, it's brightly lit, and the seating is more comfortable.
I was pleasantly surprised by the Arnold Pommer - cold brew coffee with pomegranate, lemon juice, and honey syrup (pictured above).
Houndstooth's popularity as one of Austin's best coffee shops has led to its expansion. They now operate five cafes in Austin and three in Dallas.
4200 N Lamar Blvd #120, Austin, houndstoothcoffee.com
Epoch Coffee is closing out my list of the best coffee shops in Austin.
The original North Loop location was established in 2006, making it one of the older cafes you'll come across.
Like the original downtown Halcyon location, it's a bit more rustic. But what it lacks in modern decor, it makes up for with a warm, friendly vibe and long hours.
Before 2020, Epoch Coffee was open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, making it a favorite among North Austin night owls. Today, they're available from 6 a.m. to midnight.
221 W N Loop Blvd, North Austin, epochcoffee.com
And there you have it, my recommendations for the best coffee shops in Austin, Texas.
I'll update this list annually to reflect what's new on the scene.