Searching for the best coffee in Austin was no easy task. Sure, the journey was delicious, but it took tough deliberation and analysis to determine which Austin coffee shop was worth the stop.
You see, our great city of Austin might be known for its deep love of breakfast tacos, but coffee doesn’t fall too far behind. This is obvious with the number of coffee shops sprouting up across the city, each one with die-hard customers using bold statements to justify their favorite spot. Some Austinites prefer a coffee house because they offer both light and dark roasts and make the foam on their latte sit just right. Others return to another roaster because they have ample room for working on your laptop, flipping through a good book or using elaborate hand gestures when catching up with friends. But which shop had the best coffee?
Here at Protect America, we took it upon ourselves to answer this very pressing question for you. Similar to our breakfast tacos mission, we sent another team of brave, dedicated and decaffeinated team members (Emily and Sarah) out into the wild. Their mission was, again, quite simple. Go taste the coffee and return with a victor.
For the sake of science, Emily and Sarah each ordered the same drink at each coffeehouse. Emily’s beverage of choice was a vanilla latte while Sarah switched things up a tiny bit with an iced vanilla latte.
Epoch Coffee Austin
“They have the best chai tea lattes in all of Austin.”
The team’s first stop was Epoch Coffee on North Loop. (Note: Epoch is actually pronounced /ˈepik/)
This shop might have been tucked within a strip plaza, but it certainly stood out thanks to the large metal letters on its roof that resembled miscellaneous trinkets one might find at a garage sale. Naturally, these letters spelled out Epoch.
The coffee roaster also had a large wooden outdoor patio where clusters of people sat around tables with laptops, binders, highlighters and cups filled with coffee.
Epoch’s interior was inviting and warm thanks to the large windows, funky furniture and unique music vibrating from the speakers. It was these touches that made our stop at Epoch feel like we were inside a friend’s home rather than a coffee roaster.
And now let’s talk about the coffee. While the menu had a lot to offer (including a large glass display booth showcasing every pastry one’s heart could desire) the team stuck to their vanilla lattes. Brownie points were immediately added when Emily noticed her drink had latte art.
“My first sip was incredible. This is honestly one of the best vanilla lattes I’ve ever had.” Emily
“I really like the flavors overall. It wasn’t too sweet and it wasn’t too bitter.” Sarah
Why You Should Go Here
Tourists and locals alike will appreciate Epoch for its cozy and welcoming environment. You could easily spend half a day getting work done or catching up with friends at the shop. And it seems the owners know this, considering the North Loop location leaves its doors open 24/7 and has free Wi-Fi. Epoch is also dog friendly, so don’t be afraid to bring your furry companion along for the ride.
Houndstooth Coffee Austin
“They have a caramel macchiato that I absolutely love.”
Houndstooth Coffee is nothing like Epoch. Sure, both roasters were tucked within plazas, but Houndstooth was sleek and shiny and dripping with minimalism. Its baristas stood behind glossy black countertops while brewing beans from a large, fancy espresso machine.
Another key difference was Houndstooth’s menu. It lacked the expansiveness of Epoch’s, choosing to instead focus on the classics. Houndstooth also wasn’t nearly as big as Epoch, making it seem like the type of roaster you pop into before running errands. There was a sense of openness to the environment, making it easy to survey the coffee bar and see if your drink is ready.
“I’m impressed, but I still think Epoch was just a little bit higher on my chart.” Emily
“I feel like the flavors of Houndstooth Coffee are a lot stronger than Epoch’s.” Sarah
Why You Should Go Here
We’re convinced Houndstooth is designed for the on-the-go consumer. The type of visitor who doesn’t have time to sit down and get comfortable (although you certainly could here). So if standing is more your thing, you’ll enjoy Houndstooth’s service area that lets you watch the barista’s brew and style your coffee. Houndstooth also has free Wi-Fi so, yes, you can check your email while you wait.
“They have cats running around. So you can go play with cats and drink your coffee.”
Cherrywood Coffeehouse is the cool and cozy neighborhood shop that embodies Austin’s eclecticism. As soon as you step inside, you can’t help but notice its bold, circular lantern light fixtures dispersed across the ceiling. The coffeehouse has a variety of seating options for customers to choose from, too. One sits in front of the long coffee bar while the other is tucked to the side to please those searching for solitude and quiet.
We, however, sipped our coffee outside on the spacious backyard patio. This was mostly because the team wanted to see the cats our team member, Amanda, spoke of. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a single cat.
But on with the coffee!
Out of the three coffee shops, Cherrywood’s menu made it the most difficult to stick to vanilla lattes. Their menu is for the experimental consumer who enjoys trying different syrups and coffee beverages. However, their take on the classic vanilla latte didn’t disappoint.
“I’ve never been to a place like Cherrywood. It’s very open and they have so much more to offer than just awesome coffee. Their vanilla latte is super good.” Emily
“I liked my iced vanilla latte. The flavor was pretty strong but it also had nice sweet, creamy vanilla undertones. I also love how fun and charming this shop is. It would make for a great weekend visit.” Sarah
Why You Should Go Here
The cool thing about Cherrywood Coffeehouse is that it offers more than just coffee and pastries. That’s right, Cherrywood’s food variety can easily rival your favorite Austin lunch stop. Combine this with their dog-friendly policy, free Wi-Fi and 24/7 hours of operation, Cherrywood immediately becomes the coffeehouse you’ll never want to leave.
Coffee is a delicious must-have for many in Austin. The beverage keeps us going and ready to seize the day, but it’s also ingrained in our city’s culture. However, after 3 cups each, both Emily and Sarah were ready to deliberate and determine who had the best coffee in Austin.
While each coffeehouse brought something unique to the table, both team members couldn’t stop thinking of the inviting warmth from their first stop that morning at Epoch Coffee.
Epoch checked off all of the boxes. From an inviting and spacious atmosphere to a friendly staff, exciting menu offerings and flavorful coffee, this shop had it all.