Thunderbird keeps East Austin hipsters lubricated

By Lara Berendt

Thunderbird to go

An iced coffee and Tacodeli breakfast taco from the always-packed Thunderbird Coffee on Manor Road. Photo by Lara Berendt.

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Thunderbird Coffee’s Manor Road location since back when it still went by the name of Clementine Coffee, a few years ago. I pass by the shop at least once a day, every day, so it’s sometimes hard to avoid stopping in. Yesterday morning I ran in to grab a quick snack before class.

If you’re early enough or lucky enough to find seating inside when it’s busy, this is a fun locale at which to set up shop, plug in your laptop, and spy on trendy, artistic-looking East Austinites for an hour or two. I like to try to discern what people are reading, especially the ubiquitous, fashionably brooding, intellectual types.

The Manor Road branch has a sizable patio area, which is usually humming with people once the weather permits. They feature about a dozen beers on tap, including some tasty local brews, and some nights they host live music outside. Food offerings include the standard bagel and pastry fare, along with a selection of paninis that they make in-house.

But now for the most important component of the coffee shop experience: the coffee. This is where the “hate” in my love/hate relationship surfaces. These adorable and super-friendly baristas have served me up one too many burnt espresso drinks.

Thunderbird’s improved, snazzy new website has renewed my hope that the drinks have also undergone a makeover of sorts. I’m ready to give them another try. . . .soon. But yesterday, I was in a rush, so I played it safe with an iced coffee and a papas, egg and cheese taco supplied by Tacodeli. I’m happy to say, neither item disappointed.

Thunderbird Coffee
2200 Manor Rd
Austin, TX 78723
(512) 472-9900
View Yelp page

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