Best of the best: Coffee shops in Austin

If you don’t have a coffee habit yet, you likely will soon. If you think Starbucks and the campus coffee shops are going to be your only options over the next four years, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Coffee shops seem to pop up around town every other day. Here are a few to get you started on your journey toward constant caffeination, for everything from fancy brunch-y celebrations to quiet exam-week hideaways.

Bouldin Creek Cafe

This is a good place to go if you’re in it for the long haul on an essay or test review. They’re open 24 hours and serve food for all three meals. Plus, there are a few different rooms to choose from depending on your preferred noise level and general ambiance. Good for brunch, study sessions, late-night snacks, dates, and even parent visits – they’ll be so impressed with how “Austiny” you have become. Go you!


Buzzmill wears many hats. As another 24-hour coffee shop, Buzzmill sees it all – the early risers, the brunch crowd, the industrious academics and, late at night, crowds of music lovers for a variety of acts. For this reason, it’s probably not the best idea to go to Buzzmill in the wee hours seeking to burn the midnight oil on a take-home exam or annotated bibliography. However, there is a secluded, piney study room hidden in the back that is impressively soundproof with multiple power outlets at each study nook. So if you can find the willpower to walk past all the nighttime festitivies going on in the rest of the cafe and make it to this back room, you’ve got a foolproof study spot – with plenty of parking outside, too.

Flightpath Coffee House

If you want to get out of your usual neck of the woods for a quick weekend retreat, give Flightpath a try. It’s in the trendy Hyde Park neighborhood and has plenty of room to accommodate you, your friends, and any laptops or textbooks they might bring. This is a particularly good option if you want to meet up with friends who go to the University of Texas and whine any time you mention them coming south of the lake. Their granola bar selection is on point as well.

Sage Cafe

This option is one of the closest to campus, yet is still a bit of a hidden gem. It’s literally across the street, next to the garden center. Sage Cafe has a beautiful patio view, lots of bread options for their sandwiches, and a killer chai latte. It’s cute and quaint, but the tiny interior and limited seating makes it less than ideal for studying. Still, try it on a weekday for a nice change from Jo’s and Ragsdale cafeteria fare.

Dominican Joe Coffee Shop

Dominican Joe is the perfect end to a Saturday spent walking around SoCo. Always perfectly air-conditioned and never too bright, Dominican Joe serves your standard cafe fare as well as a respectable variety of smoothies and local snacks. Their online menu is printed in Papyrus font, but do not let that deter you! They also offer plenty of power outlets, comfortable furniture, and occasional live music to make up for it.


Opa is a homey, laid-back coffee shop and Greek food restaurant on South Lamar Boulevard. They have excellent lunch items and one of the biggest patios of any coffee shop in Austin. The one drawback to Opa’s cozy quarters and big flavor is that you will probably have to wash your clothes and hair when you come home – the experience stays with you so much that you tend to smell very Greek for hours after leaving the cafe. But those lattes! And free Dum Dums at the cash register!

Thai Fresh Coffee Bar & Restaurant

Thai Fresh is made for Sunday mornings. They offer not just delicious coffee, but some of the best brunches Austin can offer. The joint restaurant-bakery-coffee shop boasts an impressive selection of lunch and dinner entrees, vegan and gluten-free baked goods, and even ice cream. Basically, you never have to leave!

Starbucks at William Cannon and Mopac

I get it. Austin’s a great city for independent coffee shops. It’s fun to see the cute drink names these local cafes come up with, marvel at their eccentric decor or try a new baked good. But sometimes you just need the predictability, dependability, and endless parking spaces only Starbucks can provide. When you need to go crawling back to the lady in green, opt for the one farther from campus – both the Oltorf and Ben White locations are madhouses in terms of parking and capacity. The one at William Cannon and Mopac, though, is big, bright, clean, and ready to give you the same latte you’ve been drinking since tweendom. It’s a trusty security blanket, and a place to use all those gift cards you probably got for graduation.