Strange Brew

I will begin with…Strange Brew is a 24-hour coffee shop.

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Photo courtesy of Stephen S. from Yelp.

If you’re in college, work late hours or a night owl, a 24-hour anything is music to your ears. Like most, I tend to procrastinate. Oh, the paper is due at 9 a.m.? Yeah, I’ll start it at 2 a.m. because life.

This place is HUGE. Not one, not two, but THREE rooms to study in. Two for chatting, studying and regular things and one for absolute silence. I tried to sit in there once and felt like my breathing was disturbing the peace, so I stay in the “talking welcome” areas. The atmosphere is the best part. I can easily get so much done there because the tables are huge, plenty of space, and plenty of plugs. Their only downfall is the Wifi. It’s basically non-existent and very untrustworthy. That is the only reason I don’t live and pay rent there. I need Wifi. You just never know when it will work and when it won’t, I can’t take those chances.

The coffee is consistently tasty and fresh. I always get their signature drink, can you guess what it’s called? The Strange Brew. It’s a rich, creamy, iced, slighty sweet espresso drink and has just the right amount of caffeine.The prices are normal, think Starbucks. They have a cold brew, which is all the rage with hipsters right now. I was going to type out a list of everything they have, but honestly it’s extensive unlike most coffee shops. The menu is impressive. On the menu you can also find food, I won’t go into detail because ain’t nobody got time for that but just trust me when I say The Hippy.

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The ever so tasty… Strange Brew.

Strange Brew doubles as a lounge and has many live shows. *WARNING* these shows attract heaps of hipsters. That was half joking but half serious because you do see the textbook hipster but you also see everyone else as well. The hipsters are just fun to look at because they’re so cool and you’ll never be like them. Hats off to hipsters. I have not attened one of the shows yet because there is typically a cover fee, but they do a really awesome job of updated their Facebook page with a list of event

To sum this up:

  • Perfect study atmosphere
  • Friendly staff
  • Indoor/outdoor seating
  • Tasty coffee
  • 24-hours
  • Lots of parking
  • Sucky Wifi, so bring a book

Oh, P.S. -Check in on Yelp to get 10% off!

Austin Java

Here we are again..another day, another coffee shop.

Today I am at the original Austin Java which is located at 12th and Lamar in Austin, TX. I used to frequent this place a lot because it was near my old stomping grounds, but I took a hiatus when I moved to San Marcos. Now that I’m back, I’m making the rounds again.

Drop what you’re doing right now, get in your car, head here (avoid 35, #SXSW) and order the Bacon Cheddar Avocado burger… you can thank me later. I’m not even being dramatic. The food is always amazing. I’ve never been to a place that consistently has delicious meals. I have had many of their entree’s and have never had a single complaint. They serve breakfast, sometimes brunch, lunch, dinner and desserts. Breakfast is served ALL day, score. Sometimes I just get a craving for eggs benedict at 9 p.m. and it’s nice to know that Austin Java supports my eating habits because many places around here don’t.

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Bacon Cheddar Avocado burger with Roasted Chicken soup.. mmm mmm good. The coffee is Texas Pecan, it’s creamy and smooth bodied.

Ok, so now lets move on to coffee. You need to know that I am not a coffee complainer. I believe in bad days, I believe in second chances, I believe in the occasional bad cup of joe. Austin Java must be having a bad month. I like to consider myself pretty knowledgable when it comes to lattes (mainly because I drink them far more than I care to admit.) The last few that I have ordered here have not just been bad, but terrible. I had to get my latte remade twice in the past week, which pains me.

My coffee is delivered to my table, I expect this amazing sip of my Caramel Knowledge (espresso, steamed milk, caramel, and foam) and just get dull, boring, espresso wanna-be-I-don’t-know-who-I-am-latte. Then, I have to take the walk of shame up to the counter and complain to these beautiful hipsters who are funny, nice and make you feel like friends. The staff never bats an eye, they remake it instantly and the second one is usually better but still not the best. The red beanie barista at the register and I have decided that I am just not a fan of the espresso beans that they use and my palette disagrees with everything it stands for. The coffee world is tough, huh?

To sum this up:

  • The atmosphere is peaceful, even when it’s packed.
  • The staff is beyond helpful and kind.
  • Wifi always work.
  • Pets are allowed on the patio.
  • You’ll love it here.
  • Give the lattes a chance, decide for yourself.

Food Reccomendations:

  • Bacon Cheddar Avocado Burger
  • Classic Club
  • Hail Caesar!
  • Roasted Chicken Soup
  • The Californian omelette
  • Classic Eggs Benedict
  • Cheddar Mash

oh, P.S.- They have the occasional poetry night, comedy night and other shenanigans! They rarely update their website, but they update their Facebook page. Enjoy!

Not Your Average Dominican Joe

Before we set off on our coffee journey, I need to let you know what I look for in a coffee shop. I’m one of those atmosphere snobs who can only be consumed in my studies if my environment is right. I’m all about the feels. I need big table space, the right lighting, a delicious cup of coffee and some tunes I can nod to incase I forget my headphones.

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515 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

Dominican Joe meets my needs more than any coffee shop I have explored in Austin thus far. I’m going to be completely honest… I come here more times a week than I’d like to admit. While I’m always trying new shops, I come to Dom’s when I have a deadline because I know I won’t be disappointed.

The combination of natural light and drop lighting gives it that classic, dim look over the abundance of eclectic tables (the sweet spots are the large tables by the register. If you see one of these open, TAKE IT!) If you can’t find a table, someone is always willing to share. The staff has that natural hipster, friendly vibe and they are always eager to help. Dom’s downtown location is perfect for regulars and sporadic bean enthusiasts alike which makes the people watching possibilities endless. Lastly, my favorite part, coffee.

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THE Salted Caramel Latte aka the best latte I’ve had in Austin. Two shots of espresso, non-fat milk, and a dab of honey (upon request.)

What separates Dominican Joe’s coffee from the rest of the pack (and also where their name derives from) is that they exclusively import Arabica and Robusta beans straight from the Dominican Republic via Makarios. Makarios is a non-profit dedicated to provide a place of education for poverty-stricken children in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. So it’s true.. it really is possible to change the world by drinking coffee!

So to sum this up, go to Dominican Joe to guarantee yourself a high-quality, organic, smooth Arabica brew. Don’t be upset with me though if after one taste of the salted caramel latte you become obsessed and it takes over your life. Not my problem, bro.

PROS:

  • WiFi is fast/always works
  • All of their teas are tasty (almond cookie is my fav)
  • Wide selection of coffee/teas/smoothies
  • Organic treats/lunch
  • Indoor/outdoor seating

CONS:

  • Parking sucks.
  • As many tables as there are customers (& there are a lot of customers)
  • Prices comparable to Starbucks (Better quality though. So worth it. Seriously.)

Spilling the Beans

Hi, my name is Madison Phillips, and I am addicted to coffee. There I said it…now will my fellow coffee enthusiasts please stand up?

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It started when I was a tween, I would nonchalantly ask my mom to pour me a cup with breakfast because I wanted to be grown, and that was the adult thing to do. I would then overload it with sugar and flavored creamers to escape the awful, bitter taste. In high school, with my head held high I would carry my terrible cup of watered down, gas station french vanilla coffee through the halls proudly. Little did I know, there was this magical coffee universe out there waiting to be discovered.

I started college and of course coffee became a regular necessity for all-nighters and study sessions. It wasn’t until then that I started ordering drinks other than the $1.25 house blend. I found myself not just craving coffee for an energy boost or early mornings, I actually enjoyed the taste a latte (that’s the last one, I promise.) It’s not just coffee that I love though, it’s coffee shops too. I love the whole experience. A room full of strangers chatting, working, and creating- how intriguing. I consider it living art and I could soak it in all day (I sometimes do.)

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Pumpkin Spice french press at Galaxy Cafe…drool.

This blog was created to inform you (coffee enthusiasts) of what I consider to be the best coffee shops/coffee around Austin, TX. If you choose to embark on this journey, you can expect to learn about new places I explore, and also the shops I frequent. I’ll keep you in the know as I discover new tasty coffee, lattes, macchiatos, teas etc. So sit back, relax and humor my addiction.