Everyone has had to drink a lot of coffee to keep up with San Antonio's booming hospitality scene. Luckily, now you can get your caffeine fix on almost every corner, while keeping it local. This year, we are honoring the shops that keep Alamo City going by introducing a new Favorite Coffee Shop category to our annual CultureMap Tastemaker Awards that’s sure to perk you up.
Meet the nominees below, then lift your cup to the winner at our awards ceremony and tasting held April 12 at Austin’s Fair Market.
Pastry wizards Anne Ng and Jeremy Mandrell are perhaps best known for their baked treats — including the cult macarons that are de rigueur on any San Antonio Instagram account. Far less talked about is the experience they have created with co-owner Charlie Biedenharn. Each of the San Antonio shops has its own stamp (the Millennial pink at the new Rim shop is a particularly nice touch), but they share the same commitment to quality and service. And, yes, macarons for breakfast are pretty cool.
If the spirit of San Antonio was distilled into a coffee shop, it would surely look and feel like this West Side hangout. Instead of only offering basic cappuccinos and lattes, Barrio Barista pays tribute to the city’s flavors in an Abuelitas chocolate mocha and the insanely delicious signature drink, the horchata latte. That goes for the food too, where a grilled cheese on thick toast is smothered with rich barbacoa. The shop is on a brief hiatus so owner Gilbert De Hoyos can spiff it up.
Some coffeehouses might make their bucks on a quick turnover, but Candlelight has remained popular by doing the opposite of that. Sink into one of the mismatched couches or camp out on the lush patio and enjoy a lingering brunch. You’ll want to go big with an order of the decadent eggs Benedict, a cup (or five) of the specially curated roasts, and a round of mimosas, of course.
Indy Coffee Club
This ultra-hip cafe always had a good thing going, so it was no surprise when it gave up a truck for a permanent locale. Still, who would have thought Indy would become a bona fide lifestyle brand? Selling home goods, accessories, and some of the most smartly branded apparel in the city (the currently out-of-stock Fiesta Hoops tee — a tribute to the Spurs — oozes cool), Indy is a destination as much as it is a coffee shop. But with carefully sourced beans and snacks like scratch biscuits, it kicks butt at that, too.
Local might not be strictly "local" anymore after opening an Austin shop, and eventually, the budding empire will be renamed under the banner of its roasting company, Merit. Whatever you call it, the six San Antonio locations are essential stops for coffee nerds, as Local brews its own beans and boasts a considered selection from coveted guest roasters. At Local, coffee is not merely about waking up; it’s about capturing a few moments of bliss in a cup.
Revolución Coffee + Juice
Fitness nuts have been flocking to this coffee and juice shop since the first location opened to buy up detox kits, chlorophyll water, and energy-boosting vegetarian tacos. But you don’t have to spend your days at GNC to appreciate what this spot has to offer. The coffee is expertly selected, the acai and pitaya bowls are delicious, and the cold-pressed juice paletas are the bomb — perfect whether you want to jump on a treadmill or just binge Netflix.
Rosella Coffee Co.
If the clamoring crowds filling the space on weekend nights is any indication, Rosella at the Rand is already a success. But for purest coffee house experience, head to the downtown OG, where you can sit down with your laptop and pretend to work. The industrial space doesn’t offer all that many frills, but when it comes to powering your day, it's the tops.
White Elephant Coffee Company
The outside of White Elephant may be nondescript, but inside the space is filled with Southtown charm. From the comfy seats to the contemporary artwork on the wall, this is the kind of place where you want to spend hours debating with your friends while drinking refills of coffee at only 75 cents per cup.