Coffee drinkers in San Antonio have an increasingly juiced-up number of caffeinated options to choose from for a refreshing cold brew or specialty latte. And more local coffeehouses seem to be brewing up business nearly every week. Check out our recommendations for some of the Alamo City’s newest coffee shops and java-centric businesses grinding it out.
Nestled among a strip of antique and floral shops, Bright Coffee opened in February in the Midtown neighborhood of Beacon Hill. By day, Bright is a specialty coffee shop featuring beans sourced from Estate Coffee.
Bright Coffee turns into a dance studio at night, when owners Rolando Almaraz and Hana Buck share their love for swing dance with the masses. They met social dancing seven years ago at the weekly Sam’s Burger Joint Swing Nite event.
As a couple, Almaraz and Buck created a side project, Puro Swing, hosting dance pop-ups around town, including at Shotgun House Coffee Roasters. The idea of a coffeehouse/dance studio grew from there.
“The dance community loved the event, so we hosted several more there. Eventually, that model proved successful. As a dance organization, we’re always looking for studio space to rent,” Buck says. “We figured we could just combine three of our passions — Lindy Hop, coffee, and art — to create our own space where we can prioritize these passions and foster an inspiring environment.”
Buck and Almaraz enjoy visiting the Blanco Road-area antique shops so much that, upon stumbling on an empty neighborhood space, they figured it was perfect for their concept.
Aside from a standard espresso menu and staples such as drip coffee, cold brew, and teas, Bright Coffee offers drinks inspired by Korean snacks and beverages that Buck had as a child. The coffee shop also currently carries treats and pastries from three local bakeries.
Pop in for the swing dance classes the San Antonio Swing Dance Society holds there on Tuesdays and Thursday nights.
Folklores Coffee House
Local coffee fans were excited about the opening of the original Folklores location on South Flores Street on the South Side. Owners Tatu and Emilie Herrera used Folklores to gather donated groceries to help community members in need at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring and summer of 2020.
Then, in late 2020, the Herreras closed the South Side Folklores storefront, pivoting to their newly opened Government Hill location on East Grayson Street. That Folklores spot, just outside Fort Sam Houston, is still open, but the Herreras have returned to the South Side, with plans to open a second Folklores locale at 359 Bustillos Dr., the former home of Cafe Azteca.
The new South Side Folklores had a soft opening in early February. Tatu Herrera says he’s awaiting deliveries of furniture and a few other items to finish outfitting the Bustillos Drive location.
For the Herreras, a thread of community service ties their coffeehouse ventures together. Tatu Herrera says he and his wife were happy to aid South Side neighbors following the pandemic’s start. And the new shop further solidifies their community connection to the neighborhood.
Aside from providing specialty and seasonal coffee drinks, the East Side Folklores has promoted local food trucks and neighboring small businesses and welcomed service members stationed at Fort Sam Houston.
Tatu Herrera tells CultureMap the South Side Folklores will be active in its community. The couple is already helping to recruit volunteers for a mass tree-planting event on February 26 at nearby Padre Park. The South Side location is also accepting donations of hardcover books to develop a mini-library for use by community members.
“It’s all about what we can do for the community,” Tatu Herrera says, adding that he and Emilie are mulling a West Side Folklores location in the not-to-distant future.
The local chain of drive-thru coffee shops is ramping up its footprint around San Antonio’s North Side, with plans to open at least five more locations in 2022: at 2838 N.E. Loop 1604 at Redland Road in February; 2342 N.W. Military Hwy. in March; 18450 Blanco Rd., building 2 and 4400 Fredericksburg Rd., both this late summer; and at 6005 Tezel Rd. early this fall.
Brevity, which opened in the summer of 2019, currently has locations at 5985 DeZavala Rd. and 8802 Huebner Rd. Brevity’s menu consists of traditional house coffees and specialty drinks alongside extras that come with an additional charge.
The owners of Tio Steppi’s Osteria and I Love Churros coffee shop opened Coffee Crush on the Far North Side last fall. The shop offers homemade desserts and pastries, in addition to traditional and specialty drinks.
Red Runner Coffee
Formerly named Toro Coffee, the local drive-thru coffee chain recently added a second Northeast Side location at 6238 FM 78, not far from Red Runner’s original locale at 6105 Walzem Rd. According to reports, Red Runner Coffee plans to open four more spots around town before year’s end in an effort to keep San Antonio caffeinated.