I love to travel and when I do I seek out the local coffee shops. What I love about them is the atmosphere, friendly staff, and good coffee. I look for the opportunity to slow down and enjoy coffee with Mike or alone. The locals always have good recommendations for what to do and where to eat as well! Here is a list of my favorite coffee shops where I’ve lived and traveled.
The Woodlands, TX
What I love about Artisan Culture is the atmosphere. Heather has worked to create a place that is positive and uplifting once you walk in the door. The space is cozy and intimate. It’s like being at home sitting on worn leather couches with books and chess boards available. One of the best parts is talking with anyone about anything. I’m less likely to bring my laptop to work and instead a book. I may not even read the book, instead I’ll talk with a fellow coffee drinker or barista about it. Conversation flows from person to person.
The coffee tastes great too. I enjoy a Guatemala pour over, the wait is worth it! Or the house special which is an oat milk cappuccino with cinnamon and lion’s mane mushroom powder. Artisan Culture believes in sustainability and it shows. They work to have a focus on the environment and the impact of their carbon footprint. Another reason why I love this cafe.
The staff and owner Christina are welcoming every time I visit. There are a couple of things I look for in local coffee shops- good coffee and great company. Each time I’m there it feels like no time has passed. There’s a variety of pastries and coffee drinks, something for everyone to enjoy. Whether it’s a seasonal latte or choices for the pour overs, or drip coffee for those who are busy and on the go.
Plus they have an awesome shop dog named Hendrix after Jimi Hendrix. He’s a lab/golden mix and his spunk matches the vibe of Conduit Coffee. I’ll admit, I hope to see Hendrix every time I visit!
Christina and Conduit Coffee focus on community. The local community of The Woodlands and supporting local businesses as well as a community inside the cafe. All are welcome and you feel it once you walk in the door.
Highwood, IL (North of Chicago)
I miss Tala Coffee Roasters. This was a place Mike and I enjoyed going during the cold winter months of Northern Chicago. And the rest of the year too! When you want to get out of the house but not be outside, we went to Tala. We took books, coloring books, or had brainstorming sessions here.
The staff here is incredible. Very friendly, it is the Midwest after all and they greet you when you walk in and when you leave. Keith, Stefan, and Joanna will ask if your coffee is ‘for here’ because they want you to stay and spend time. There’s no clock visible and it makes it easy to get lost in the moment. You’re not worrying about your to-do list or which errand to do next.
Tala puts a lot of care in the coffee they roast and you can taste it. As I write this I wish I was there sitting near the garage doors basking in the warm sun with snow on the ground outside. I usually have a pour over coffee with a sour cream old fashioned donut from Gurnee’s Donuts.
You can order coffee online or join their coffee club. I’m still waiting on the Gurnee’s donut option. 😉
Colectivo Coffee is where I began to learn more about coffee. I was a barista there for about two years and it is one of my favorite jobs. Pilates is number one, barista is number two by the way. Before working here my choice for coffee was mochas or lattes at Starbucks, former caramel macchiato fan here! And my morning coffee was brewing with Mr. Coffee and flavored creamer plus sugar. There’s nothing wrong with those drinks but here’s why my tastes have changed.
First it’s because my stomach would cramp after drinking afternoon mochas and lattes. I eventually started drinking black coffee with sugar which was difficult at first. Some coffee is really dark and it would be difficult to drink.
After working as a barista, I learned there are different types of coffee. You probably know of light, medium, and dark roast. But there’s single origin and blend coffee. There’s also coffee roasters who receive select coffee of only the ripest coffee cherries. (Coffee grows on trees and is a cherry with the bean inside the cherry.) Having the ripest coffee gives a better tasting cup of coffee.
It tastes less bitter and I found I could drink black coffee without flavored creamer or sugar! Working as a barista I began to appreciate coffee as is. You can taste flavor notes better such as blueberry, chocolate, cinnamon, apple, etc. But don’t worry this isn’t flavored coffee, nothing has been added. It’s the natural flavor.
Colectivo Coffee ships their coffee and Guatemala Mountain of Flowers is one of my absolute favorites.
In 2017 Mike and I traveled to Seattle, WA for vacation. I was excited to see Seattle and explore, it was a place I had never been! We arrived in June which is still part of the rainy season and had trouble getting into our Airbnb. We discovered a local coffee shop a block away and headed there.
You might know that Seattle is known for coffee. And we drank a lot of coffee during our trip. There’s a coffee shop on every corner and I think we stopped at each one for a shot of espresso.
The coffee shop by our place was Analog Coffee and we loved it. They have a record player with a variety of records displayed everywhere. The coffee is great and we order from Camber Coffee Roasters about every other month. While we were there they also opened a breakfast place down the street called B-Side.
Analog Coffee was our refuge from the pouring rain that day. It was so good that we went there almost every day. It was up on Capitol Hill and when you went outside you could see the Space Needle.
You can order Camber Coffee online here and we love their Ethiopian coffees.
Some other coffee shops worth mentioning are:
Barista Parlor in Nashville, TN
Merit Coffee in San Antonio & Austin formally known as Local Coffee
Anodyne Coffee in Milwaukee, they have wood fired pizza at their Bay View location!
Lovebeans in The Woodlands, TX
Do you have a favorite local coffee shop? Let me know in the comments, I love to find new ones when traveling!
And I love coffee and Pilates so much that I started a class at my local coffee shop Artisan Culture. We have Pilates outdoors followed by a cup of coffee together. Subscribe to my email list to know when the next class is!