Tag Archives: coffee shop

Best Coffee roasters in austin

Austin is home to a plethora of great coffee shops, but only a select few roast their own coffee beans. Whether you like to brew your own at home or let the baristas do what they do best, using the best quality beans can make a world of difference. That said, let’s break down some of the best coffee roasters in Austin.

Trippy Buck

Trippy Buck is a little food truck located on the UT campus. It may seem unsuspecting but there is more to their service than meets the eye. They market themselves as a ‘farm-to-cup’ experience, sourcing their own coffee beans from their farm in Ecuador. They offer a variety of different roasts including green coffee, light, and dark roasts, but our personal favorite is the classic ‘Hacienda Roast.’

Summermoon Coffee Co.

Summermoon Coffee is a chain of coffee shops based in Texas. They have multiple locations near and in Austin where you can pick up a bag of their coffee beans. They offer multiple roasts but the ‘Velvet Blaze’ roast is what they use for their drinks in-house.

Wild Gift

As a five-person run coffee roaster, Wild Gift pumps out an impressive array of nine different roasts. You can find hints of honey, chocolate, lime, and jasmine in their selection. Their bags are adorned with a quaint drawing of a budding coffee plant. They can be picked up at Epoch Coffee and at Austin-area Central Market locations.

Austin Java

Austin Java has been brewing coffee since 1995. They follow the tenet of “people over product” and this can very easily be seen at their Manchaca location. They have numerous signature blends like ‘Fog Cutter’ which is a darker roast, along with ‘Morning Glory’ which is more of a sweet, light roast. Their coffee beans can be picked up at Austin Central Market locations as well as at Austin Java’s own locations.

This listicle is only a sip of what Austin has to offer but thankfully it is very easy to pick up local roasts. The best option would be to buy directly from local roasters through their roast houses, coffee shops, or online stores. This option is better than grocery stores because they are often closer to their roast date at the point of sale. 

Featured image by Ren Breach

Is it a Rip-Off?: SoCo Edition

South Congress district, usually referred to as SoCo, is one of Austin’s most popular attractions for tourists and locals alike. It’s full of unique shops and funky restaurants — and half of them are complete rip-offs. So I’m here to tell you what’s best and what’s a mess. This week’s subject: SoCo.

  1. Jo’s Coffee 
Photo courtesy of: The Austin Chronicle 

Verdict: Worth it!

Why: You may say there are better places for coffee in Austin and you’re probably right, but Jo’s isn’t just selling specialized coffee, they’re also selling an experience. You can get a one-of-a-kind cup of jo (pun intended), the feeling of supporting a local business and an Instagram-worthy picture in front of the iconic “I love you so much” mural.  Seems worth it to me!

  1. Hopdoddy’s Burger Bar
Image courtesy of: Flickr and Thomas Hawk

Verdict: Rip-Off!

Why: The burgers are good but are they worth $10? I don’t think so. Combine this with having to pay an extra $5 for some fries and brutal wait times, and you have all the makings of a total rip-off. 

  1. TOMS
Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Verdict: Rip-Off

Why: Honestly, this feels like a given. $50-$150 for mediocre shoes according to Vox reporting. Not to mention, having a huge company on SoCo feels wrong. The space is supposed to be for off-beat local— or at least semi-local businesses— not national giants. 

  1. Home Slice Pizza
Photo courtesy of: The Business Journals

Verdict: Worth It

Why: I have two words for you: Garlic Knots. When paired with a slice or two of Home Slice’s mouth-watering pizza, complimentary post-dinner candy and the electric decor, you can’t deny this is the place to be on a Friday night. 

  1. Amy’s Ice Creams 
Photo Courtesy of: Flickr and Jim Nix 

Verdict: Rip-Off AND Worth It

Why: I’ll be real. This place is pricey! One pint of ice cream costs almost $15. In that way, it’s a huge rip-off, but it’s also so worth it. All of the ice creams have a delicious sweet cream base and the menu is constantly full of one-of-a-kind flavors like Zilker Mint Chip. After snacking at Amy’s, your wallet may hurt but your taste buds will be singing. 

Now go forward and strut down SoCo with a Jo’s latte in one hand and your Home Slice leftovers in the other. You’re ready for this! You won’t be scammed today.

Featured image by Morgan Scruggs

5 Starbucks to drink to get you through your 8:00 AMS: As told by a Starbucks barista

  1. Starbucks Doubleshot on Ice

What it is: LOTS of espresso over ice, mixed with classic syrup , and topped with 2% milk.

Why we love it: The Doubleshot is a great way to get your caffeine fix while also staying cool in the Texas heat. It is an awesome mix of strong and sweet, just like us Longhorns.

How to make it your own: The Doubleshot is one of the most easy to customize drinks on the Starbucks menu! You can substitute any syrup on the menu (caramel, vanilla, hazelnut, sugar-free cinnamon dolce, etc.) for the classic syrup or ask for no syrup at all. You can also swap out the 2% for a variety of kinds of milk (almond, whole, heavy cream, etc.).

Barista tip: Try adding vanilla bean powder for a bit of added sweetness and texture!

2. Chai Tea Latte

What it is: Black tea infused with an element of spice, a hint of water, and 2% milk.

Why we love it: The Chai tea latte is the perfect way for tea lovers to get a kick of caffeine. It is also a great combination of spicy and sweet.

How to make it your own: Chai tea lattes can come hot or iced. Plus, you can switch the standard 2% milk for any milk (coconut, soy, breve, and so on). If you are in the mood for a richer drink, you can request no water and all milk for the hot version of the chai tea latte (the iced version automatically comes with no water added).

Barista tip: Try adding vanilla syrup (regular or sugar-free) to make your tea, and day, a little sweeter.

3. Caffè Vanilla Frappuccino®

What it is: Whole milk, vanilla bean powder, ice, and coffee blended together and topped with whipped cream.

Why we love it: Between the coffee and the sugar in this drink, it’s sure to give you an energy boost to help you make it through any study session. It’s also the perfect treat to congratulate yourself with for a job well done or just for going to all your classes that day.

How to make it your own: The whole milk in frappuccinos can easily be swapped out for a different type. You can also add java chips or hazelnut syrup to create a more complex and unique flavor.

Barista tip: Add an affogato shot (a shot of espresso poured over the whipped cream and Frappuccino) for some extra caffeine and a stronger taste.

4. Guava Passionfruit Drink

What it is: Coconut milk, a guava juice blend, and pineapple-ginger syrup shaken over ice. 

Why we love it: This is the perfect summer drink. It’s fruity, bright, sweet, and most importantly cold. Plus, the vibrant pink color of the Guava Passionfruit Drink makes it a great addition to anyones Instagram.   

How to make it your own: The coconut milk in this drink can be swapped for any other milk on the menu. If you’re not a guava fan, you can also ask to substitute a peach juice blend in place of the guava. Plus, depending on how much on a sweet tooth you have, the number of pumps of pineapple-ginger syrup is completely customizable. 

Barista tip: Try getting the Guava Passionfruit Drink blended with creme base for a delicious slushie-like version. 

5. Cold Brew with Dark Cocoa Almondmilk Foam 

What it is: Cold brew (brewed for 20 hours), ice, and a topping of almond milk blended with mocha syrup and cocoa powder. 

Why we love it: This is the drink you have been waiting for, dairy-intolerant folks! There is just almondmilk in this delicious drink. The strength of the cold brew mixed with the sweetness of the chocolate foam makes a yummy and low-calorie (only 40 calories in a grande) treat. 

How to make it your own: Even though “almondmilk” is in the name of the drink, you can still swap it out for any other milk. If you’re a chocolate-lover, you can ask for pumps of the mocha syrup in the cold brew as well as in the foam. 

A Beginner’s Guide to Espresso Drinks

An espresso machine hums behind the sounds of chatter and clicking keyboards. The smell of coffee lies heavy in the air, while people sip beverages and twirl spoons. People mutter words like “macchiato,” “americano” and “cappuccino” to cashiers behind counters. 

Coffee shops can be the ideal location for many events. Maybe you have a big test that you need to study for, or you’re meeting up with a new friend for the first time. A coffee shop is the perfect place to go, because it can be casual, cozy and relaxing. However, if you have only ever consumed coffee at Starbucks, local coffee shop’s menus can seem confusing. 

Although coffee jargon might seem advanced, coffee orders are simpler than they sound. Here are some basic espresso drinks that will help you find your dream caffeine.

1. Lattes

Photo by Jesus Angel

A latte is a deliciously common drink because it is customizable to your likings. At its core, a latte is 1 part espresso and 3 parts steamed milk with milk foam on top. 

 Beyond that, a latte can take many forms. You can order an artistic hot latte with a poured design, or a refreshing latte over ice. You can also alter your milk preference. Most lattes are made with whole milk, but feel free to ask for a non-dairy substitute like almond or soy milk.

 If you prefer your coffee sweet, add pumps of flavored syrup to your drink. Some flavors include, vanilla, caramel and hazelnut, but be sure to ask the barista what syrups they keep in their store.

2. Mocha

Photo by Jesus Angel

A mocha is very similar to a latte, because they share the same milk to espresso ratio. However, mochas are much richer. A mocha has an added chocolate powder or syrup, blending together hot chocolate and coffee for a cozy drink of your dreams. 

Mochas can also be altered in their milk contents, temperature and  sweetness. If you are already a fan of mochas, try making your order a little more festive with a pump of peppermint, cinnamon dolce, or pumpkin spice.

3. Cappuccino

Photo by Jesus Angel

Cappuccinos are great for people who enjoy the natural taste of espresso, but still want the richness of cream inside of  their coffee. A cappuccino is 1 part espresso and 2 parts milk with foam at the top, making it a little lighter than a latte. 

It is not very common to add syrup to cappuccinos, but mixing the drink with a cube of brown sugar makes the perfect blend of sweet to bitter, and thin to creamy. 

4. Macchiato

Photo by Jesus Angel

Unlike a latte or a cappuccino, macchiatos don’t have any milk foam. A macchiato is 2 parts espresso and 1 part steamed milk. This drink is perfect for people who want a drink even lighter than a cappuccino but richer than an americano. 

This is a great drink to pair with a slightly sweeter cookie, danish or scone, for the perfect afternoon snack.

5. Americano

Photo by Jesus Angel

An americano is a drink for the brave and bold. An americano doesn’t bother with cream or sugar, but rather relies on the rich flavor profile of the espresso itself. An americano is composed of espresso and hot water only, and the ratio is dependent on your order. Some people prefer a stronger coffee taste and will order a double shot of espresso, while others will order a single shot. 

This guide to espresso drinks is just a start to the endless amounts of coffee combinations available to you. Don’t be afraid to ask your barista for recommendations or try something new on a whim.

The next time you’re ordering at a coffee shop, remember to stay calm, stay creative and most importantly, stay caffeinated.

Featured image by Jesus Angel.