Back by popular demand and fueled by my need for a caffeine fix, here’s the second edition of my search for Birmingham’s best coffee.
Admittedly, in my first post I only reviewed coffee shops within my little downtown Birmingham bubble, excluding many deserving cup of joe joints. So this time I cast my net a bit further out of town.
Feast & Forest—More cafe and bakery than coffee shop, my new backyard neighbor serves Octane coffee, so they kinda count. A former photography studio and art gallery, the interior is industrial and reminds me of my loft, so I felt right at home. Between the free refills and lack of crowds, this is a decent hiding space to work for a few hours. Verdict: A
East 59 Vintage & Cafe—Part coffee shop, part antique store, this place is a unique coffee experience for the ‘Ham. Their breakfast sandwich was on point, but their brew of CounterCulture coffee was a bit bitter. Combine that with their distance from downtown, and it won’t be a spot I’ll frequent. Verdict: B-
Lucy’s Coffee & Tea—I didn’t even realize Lucy’s was still open until someone pointed it out in my last post. Located on busy University Ave, parking is atrocious and not worth the effort unless you’re walking from UAB. Stepping inside feels like entering your grandmother’s house with some meh Folger’s coffee. I won’t return. Verdict: F+
Woodlawn Cycle Cafe—Birmingham’s newest java joint, the Cycle Cafe fulfills Crestwood’s gentrified modern hipster coffee quota. It’s absolutely gorgeous inside with white wood panels and a dark bar, making the space feel both large and cozy. I mean, this place is an Instagram addict’s dream! Their regular drip coffee had a light, almost floral taste that I actually enjoyed, despite my affinity for dark, muddy coffee. Worth the drive (or bike ride) over from downtown. Verdict: B+
Seeds—I visited Seeds when they first opened a few years ago and was uncomfortable with their strong Jesus vibe, so I purposely skipped them in my last post. But a friend tipped me off that they have relaxed a bit, and so I gave them another shot. And I’m glad I did! They now serve our local Trim Tab beer on tap, and their coffee was delicious, as was their cappuccino that my friend Kelly drank. Good spot to hang out with friends if you live in Homewood. Verdict: B
Church Street Coffee & Books—While their coffee is legit, Church Street really stands out in my mind for their strong support of local authors. Plus, they have these chocolate chip and sea salt Breakup Cookies that are out of this fucking world. The shop is always packed with Mountain Brook Mommies and kids studying though, so to me it’s a grab-and-go sort of place. Verdict: B+
Crestwood Coffee— Polar opposite to Woodlawn Cycle Cafe, Crestwood Coffee is a great place to hide away and work or read one of their old paperback books. It’s dated and dark inside, but the staff is very friendly and kept my coffee cup full for hours. The one downside is that I pass four other coffee shops to get to Crestwood, so I’d have to really want to go. Verdict: B
Dunkin Donuts—Ah, the token chain coffee shop. Coming from the land of munchkins, Dunkin is the only major coffee chain that I frequent and actually enjoy. Their coffee is like your favorite sweater—comfortable, reliable, but not show-stopping. Their doughnuts beat out Krispy Kreme any day of the week, but their interior design leaves much to be desired. Verdict: A-
Tell me—what do you think of these spots? Did I miss any this time around?