Bennu Coffee: Your 24-hour Epoch alternative

By Lara Berendt

Bennu Coffee interior

The eclectic and comfortable environment at Bennu Coffee on East MLK offers a creative drink menu and an ideal study spot. Photo by Lara Berendt.

I think I’ve found a new favorite coffee joint in Bennu. Located at 2001 E. MLK Blvd., this 24-hour java lounge reminds me of Epoch, but with friendlier, happier baristas and fewer sulky hipster-types glaring from behind laptops.

The clientele at Bennu, at least on Saturday morning when I was there, consisted mainly of students and professionals, and the owners advertise the lounge as an always-open study haven close to UT. The decor is a charming mishmash of old and new, with plenty of tables and an almost obscene number of power outlets.

A particular highlight was the bathroom, spotless and chic, complete with decorative river stones in the sink and a huge chalkboard inside the stall, which was artfully graffitied with inspirational quotes about how great it is to be a woman. I’m serious. It might sound cheesy but it was actually lovely.

Iced green tea and cappuccino from Bennu Coffee in Austin

An iced green tea and cappuccino adorn an antique chess table at Bennu, where games and socializing are welcome. Photo by Lara Berendt.

I was pleased to have a choice of several iced teas, and I chose one of the green varieties they offered, which was tasty and refreshing. The cappuccino was, unfortunately, not impressive—an over-steamed layer of foam indicating that it just wasn’t made properly. But how could I be mad at those jolly, smiling baristas?

They also have a lengthy menu of specialty mocha drinks, named after literary classics (the Pride and Prejudice, the Great Gatsby, etc.). Swoon! Prices were average, and food included the usual pizzas (from Hoboken Pie), sandwiches, wraps, bagels and pastries. This morning, I ran in for an iced coffee and Torchy’s breakfast taco, which were both satisfactory.

Bennu Coffee patio power outlet

Even on the patio, a power outlet is never far away from your chosen study spot. Photo by Lara Berendt.

The shop also has a cute patio with quite a few tables and, again, a ton of power outlets. They recycle, and support local and fair-trade vendors. There’s definitely room for improvement in the coffee drinks, as many Yelp reviewers have noted, but overall, I’m smitten with Bennu.

Bennu Coffee, Austin signage

Bennus website asserts that they are the closest 24-hour coffee shop to UT campus, giving Epoch a run for their money. Photo by Matt Berendt.


5 responses to “Bennu Coffee: Your 24-hour Epoch alternative

  1. The owners of this place are my former neighbors. I think they’ve done a great job. Glad to see they’re still doing well.

  2. Loving this blog, and your posts, Laura!

  3. My roommates and I really like Bennu. I often studied there a lot over the summer (before I became a hermit and started studying on my couch). I thought the fact that they named some of their specialty drinks after classics was clever, and I think The Great Gatsby was one of my favorites (both the beverage and the book). The only complaint I’ve ever heard is that sometimes people arrive late at night to study and find that it’s still pretty packed. Aside from that, though, I really like this place and if I ever move from my couch, I’ll definitely head back there.

  4. I think it’s pretty agreed upon that the baristas at Bennu are really friendly. I remember that being an important factor in making my experience there positive. I also like the interior design and relatively comfortable seating. A boring or unattractive interior, paired with uncomfortable chairs, can overshadow even great coffee (which I feel sometimes happens at Medici on the Drag with their hard, metal chairs).

  5. Bennu is probably one of the most popular places to study at. I fell in love with the environment instantly on my first visit last year. One downside is, the place is packed during midterm and finals week. You can’t even find a parking space near the location when you go there in the evening. However, a GREAT place to study as you enjoy their signature mocha drinks.

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