Best of Houston

The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Coffeehouses

For the next 20 weeks, we'll be rounding up the runners-up to our 2011 Best of Houston® winners. In many categories, picking each year's winner is no easy task. We'll be spotlighting 20 of those categories, in which the winner had hefty competition from other Houston bars and restaurants.

Note: As we've stated before, wi-fi is not considered a factor in determining the best coffeehouses. Houston's coffee shops are not your living rooms or home offices. Have a little consideration for your fellow customers and don't be a wi-fi hog.

10. Ben's Beans

What did we just say about wi-fi? Ignore that for a second, because Ben's Beans really does cater to those who need a refuge that's both wireless and caffeinated. You'll often find UH Downtown or South Texas law students hunkered down at downtown's newest coffeehouse, just as often as you'll see businessmen taking an afternoon coffee break. The coffee is pretty basic, but it's from local roasters Fontana and it's good, sturdy stuff.

9. Cafe Luz

Downtown's other new coffeehouse, Cafe Luz, is light and airy where Ben's is seductively cave-like. That's thanks to the huge, floor-to-ceiling windows that flood the space with sunlight and provide a beautiful view of downtown from the Bayou Lofts (the coffee shop is on the ground floor) and a welcoming place to work. It's also a locavore's haven: Coffee drinks are made with local milk and locally roasted coffee, plus you can purchase locally made treats like Kickin' Kombucha and baked goods made in-house.

8. Black Hole Coffee House

Although I wasn't a fan when it initially opened, Black Hole has grown on me. After all, it's not every coffee shop that also sells wine, beer and delicious vegan food from Radical Eats. It's a huge hit with area residents, too, the airy, low-slung space nearly always filled with St. Thomas students and people taking a break from doing laundry next door.

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Katharine Shilcutt