The best coffee and roasting houses in Austin

Join Queen Mary Geography student and Turing Scheme grant recipient, Isabelle Austin in discovering some of the best coffee spots in Austin, Texas.

Surprisingly, one of the best and most notable aspects about my time studying abroad at UT Austin, has been its ability to satisfy my insatiable coffee habit, with its range of niche, quaint roasting houses, to the more vibrant and enigmatic Mozart’s, home to Austin’s renown Christmas light and music show. Despite the amazing attractions to be seen in Austin, from its grand state capital, to the DKR memorial stadium, home to the Longhorn football team, to Barton Creek, and Zilker Park, some of my fondest memories have been over a 16 oz hot vanilla latte with my friends. On to my recommendations…

  1. I think that one of the staple locations that my friends and I meet up at when we have a long day of studying ahead of us, would be Bennu. One of Austin’s only 24-hour coffee houses, as well as independently owned with locally sourced food. Most notable is their vast range of signature Mochas named after the likes of Moby Dick, Don Quixote and Pride & Prejudice (a delicious blend of chocolate powder, whipped cream and chocolate shavings). Here was the location my friends and I planned and booked our trip to Dallas for the OU game, where we spent hours debating whose music taste was better, applying for societies, orgs, booking festival tickets and of course where we all went for our first week of midterms.

2. As weeks passed, we set out to explore some more locations and not so subtly stumbled across Mozart’s. After many a recommendation from friends and online sources, we had high hopes for this new study (or socializing) spot. Running since 1993, situated along Lake Austin, with the luxury of live music (thanks to the outside piano), this coffee shop proves that it is that, but also so much more. Their menu has everything you could possibly want, and I would be lying if I said I hadn’t tried my fair share. Ranging from the Vietnamese iced coffee, Toddy Brau cold brew, Con Panna espresso to a simple flat white and not so simple Japanese matcha green tea, and that’s before starting on the house made pastries; such as the staple Texas pecan coffee cake, the pistachio cannoli, empanadas and Italian calzone. This is one of the best locations to go with friends for a cosy relaxed evening or for making memories on the lake watching their Christmas light show, singing along to Mariah Carey with a jug of hot coffee.

3. However, nothing has quite lived up to the crafted coffee served at Merit, located along South Lamar Blvd, between some of the most tantalising restaurants. If you are a coffee lover and want to indulge in some quality coffee from South America and Africa, Merit is the place to go. After a long shopping trip at the local thrift store down the road called ‘Pavement’, and wanting to get a drink in the sweltering Texas heat, we fell into Merit, and it did nothing less than live up to its name. This is one of those places you could stay and chat in forever, or simply watch the cars drive by or enjoy the abundance of dogs that grace the shop with their owners after a long walk at the nearby dog parks. It’s safe to say that if Merit ever decides to stop selling coffee, they’ll make a fortune from their delicious yoghurts and pastries alone. Yet with that being said, if you get the chance, whether to use their stunning study spots and free Wi-Fi, or just to relax outside on the benches under the shade of the trees, you need to try a good old flat white, as you will not be disappointed.

4. Now, if we’re talking about Austin, we’ve got to recognise its quirkiness and uniqueness, and nothing represents that more than Revival Coffee. Not only is it a locally owned restaurant, but it has recently been redesigned by Gabriela Bucio a proud Latina, and the owner of beautiful Taquero Mucho, which similarly has the same bold and unapologetic vibrant all-over pink design. This coffee shop was also featured in the recent Netflix series ‘Twentysomethings: Austin’ along with its sister concepts, all of which are stunning and delicious and an absolute vibe. Offering their own house specials such as the Iced Demi-Latte, to the Abuelita Latte and Fruity Pebbles. If you want a picture-perfect location for a new Instagram post or a very aesthetic study spot where you can have a Coffee and a Concha, you’ll love to experience Revival.

Now, to conclude my tangent of Austin’s coffee shops, which unsurprisingly could go on forever, I would not be able to experience the majority of these amazing things, if not for the help I received from the Turing Scheme and its subsequent grant. As we are all well aware, travelling out to a variety of restaurants, bars (if you’re over 21) and coffee shops in a city such as Austin or anywhere in the world really as a student, is not cheap and without their help I wouldn’t be as lucky as I have been in exploring, making the memories I have, bringing me closer to friends, discovering locations to help me study, to booking trips across the state and country, to just meeting other UT students and making the most of my study abroad programme. The grant has thus enabled me to do all these things and more! With half of my spring semester left to go, I can’t want to see what new places I discover and new adventures I have, but for now here are some of the other memories aside from those coffee related ones that I have been lucky enough to have here in the United States, and with that, keep Austin weird and Hook’Em.

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