Author Archives: Lara Berendt

One blogger’s favorite Austin coffee shop discoveries

By Lara Berendt

Everyone has their own favorite coffee lounges, and I’m no different. In choosing which shops to review for this blog, it’s been tempting to go to my regular spots, and I’ve hit up most of them since the blog’s inception. But my trips to unfamiliar coffee houses have been more rewarding because some have turned out to be real gems that I’m excited to revisit. Here are my top three newly discovered coffee shops, and tips on when to visit them and when it might be better to stick with your own regular spot.

Bennu Coffee interior

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

1.  Bennu Coffee
Why: It’s cozy, the music is always awesome, the baristas are charming, and they have three different varieties of vegetarian breakfast tacos from Torchy’s.
When to go: If you want to get work done. There are more power outlets for your laptop in this place than there are hipsters—and there are plenty of hipsters.
When to skip it: If you want a really superb espresso drink. I love you Bennu, but you gotta step it up in this area. Continue reading

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Lola Savannah is a posh lounge for espresso or vino

By Lara Berendt

Lola Savannah Coffee Lounge, West Lake Hills, Texas

Lola Savannah is a neighborhood favorite for West Lake residents. Photo by Lara Berendt.

For full disclosure, I must preface this post with the admission that my husband is managing partner at Lola Savannah Coffee Lounge in West Lake Hills. He’s also the reason I’ve become somewhat picky about espresso quality, and I’m not just plugging his business when I say, Lola serves some of the absolute best espresso drinks in the greater-Austin area. Continue reading

Tea Embassy offers fine teas and Victorian charm

By Lara Berendt

Tea Embassy, Austin, Texas

This family-owned business sells an extensive selection of quality teas and teaware. Photo by Lara Berendt.

While obviously not a coffee house, the Tea Embassy is one of my favorite caffeine suppliers in Austin. Whether you’re a tea novice or a tea connoisseur, this shop undoubtedly has something that will delight you. Continue reading

Once Over Coffee Bar is worth a second look

By Lara Berendt

Once Over Coffee Bar, Austin, Texas, baristas

The baristas at Once Over were working their buns off when I visited on a Sunday morning, but they were friendly as can be. Photo by Lara Berendt.

I’ve found another South Austin treasure in Once Over Coffee Bar on South First Street. After reading many glowing reviews of the quality of their espresso drinks, my husband and I dropped in last Sunday to try out a couple of cappuccinos. We weren’t disappointed. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Summermoon: South Austin’s coffee secret

By Lara Berendt

Summermoon Coffee Bar interior. Photo by Lara Berendt.

Summermoon Coffee Bar on South First Street offers delicious fire-roasted coffee drinks, served by charming, happy baristas. Photo by Lara Berendt.

I’ve been excited to visit Summermoon Coffee Bar since I first read their many rave reviews on Yelp, but I live northeast of downtown, and don’t get to South Austin very often. Today I finally stopped into the chic lounge on South First Street and, although it’s sort of a hole in the wall, it exceeded my expectations. Continue reading

Top five things I look for in a coffee house

By Lara Berendt

I’m sure everyone has their own idea of what makes the perfect coffee house. Here are my top five make-or-break criteria, some obvious, others more personal.

1. Atmosphere. If I’m in the mood to read or work, but employees have opted to blast heavy metal, it’s a bad fit. Noise level is a key component at coffee shops, and if music is playing, I’d rather it be chill, soothing or happy—not angry, overloud or obnoxious (and by obnoxious, I generally mean thumping and electronic). The soft, classic jazz at Flightpath or stimulating discourse of an NPR talk show at Corona were ideal. Furniture and décor also greatly impact whether I want to spend time at a shop and run up a bar tab. Uncomfortable chairs? Not enough outlets? No fun. Continue reading