A guide to Baton Rouge’s growing collection of coffee cafes

Coffee has always been part of the fabric of south Louisiana.

We like a muscular morning brew to start the day. An afternoon pick-me-up is commonplace. And an after-dinner cup over lively conversation is an expected meal ender.

But over the last 20 years, this backdrop of coffee love has expanded in Baton Rouge to include numerous third-wave specialty cafes—shops that elevate the experience with single-sourced beans, meticulous roasting and creative mixology normally reserved for craft cocktails.

Their menus also reflect a growing passion for non-coffee sips—including high-quality teas and tea-based beverages.

Coffee shop experiences abound in the Capital City. Here are some local places to enjoy drinks, both old guard and new.

Brew Ha-Ha! 

Around since 2004

This cozy, Mid City coffee shop and art gallery has been a welcoming haven for Mid City coffee lovers, budding artists and fans of the cake ball, the spot’s signature pastry. Owner Gabby Loubiere Higgins sources single-origin beans and roasts them on site for use in her lineup of specialty beverages. Menu favorites include matcha with cold foam and the frozen dirty chai. Cake balls are made in dozens of seasonal and rotating flavors. 711 Jefferson Highway, #2A. brewhahabr.com

CC’s Coffee House

Around since 1995

This Starbucks-of-south-Louisiana equivalent was the brainchild of Capital City-based Community Coffee, and has grown to include 19 locations in greater Baton Rouge alone. The winner of this year’s Best of 225 award for Coffee Shop Ambiance is a reliable spot for work or socializing. Along with various iterations of the signature frozen Mochasippi, the menu includes seasonal Pumpkin Pie Lattes, fruit smoothies and New Orleans-style café au lait. Multiple locations. ccscoffee.com

Cedar House Roasting

Around since 2020

Part of the new guard of specialty coffee shops passionate about beans, Cedar House buys direct from coffee farmers and deploys a zero-emissions machine to roast the beans on site. Minimalist teakwood décor with splashes of color create a vibe that fuses midcentury modern with Scandinavian simplicity. A supervised play area is available for an hourly fee—a respite for children, and, of course, their parents. There’s also a coffee home delivery program. 5522 Jones Creek Road. cedarhouseroastingco.com

Pumpkin Latte at City Roots
The Pumpkin Latte at City Roots is just one of many mouthwatering fall offerings at the Electric Depot spot.

City Roots Coffee Bar

Around since 2019

Situated between downtown and Mid City in the Electric Depot, City Roots is a coffee roaster and cafe that draws fans day and night. Order up an affogato, a coffee and chicory nitro cold brew, or a latte with milk alternatives like almond, oat, hemp and soy. Sip against the red brick wall industrial backdrop, preserved from the building’s former life as a utility substation. There’s plenty of outdoor seating here, as well. 1509 Government St., A. cityrootscoffee.com

Beignets and café au lait at Coffee Call. Fun fact: In a 2019 article, Food & Wine declared “the best beignets in New Orleans are in Baton Rouge,” singing the praises of none other than Coffee Call.

Coffee Call

Around since 1976

A lot has happened in the local coffee scene since Coffee Call opened in the former Village Square shopping center on College Drive 45 years ago. Still family operated (and still on College, but in a different spot), Coffee Call holds one of our most enduring, mouthwatering culinary rituals: beignets and café au lait. Beans are roasted on site by co-owner Brandi Catoire. Lunch is served on weekdays. 3132 College Drive, F. Find it on Facebook

Coffee Joy

Around since 2020

Owner and barista Emrah Sarac’s shop offers several brewing techniques, including Belgian syphon, pour over and Chemex, to the delight of both casual sippers and committed coffee nerds. Teas are presented with a digital timer, so you know exactly how long to steep. Coffee Joy’s homemade pastries and baked goods, including melt-in-your-mouth macarons, provide a sweet counterpoint to an impeccable brew. 3617 Perkins Road, Suite 1B. coffeejoy.com

French Truck Coffee

Around since 2017

French Truck’s electric blue and yellow-festooned patio is a beacon for coffee and tea lovers motoring down Government Street. The concept started in New Orleans in 2012, and includes a high-end retail line of blended and single-origin beans available in local independent grocery stores. The coffee shop roasts beans on site and the menu includes beverages like the iced oji (12-hour Japanese cold brew), all manner of espresso drinks and light fare breakfast and lunch. 2978 Government St. frenchtruckcoffee.com

Garden District Coffee

Around since 2011 (predecessor Perks, since the mid-’90s)

Diehard fans and longtime Garden District dwellers still call it Perks, while the edgy younger set who dig its stripped-down simplicity call it Garden District. Whatever your perspective, this spot is one of the city’s OG coffee shops, having first opened in the mid-’90s. A menu of drip coffee and espresso drinks are rounded out by frozen lemonade, granitas and locally made pastries. Beans are roasted on site. 2008 Perkins Road. Find it on Facebook

Highland Coffees

Around since 1989

Open more than 30 years ago and a mainstay of LSU students and faculty, Highland Coffees has long taken selecting and roasting beans seriously. The specialty coffee and tea shop imports green single-origin beans and roasts them in small batches onsite in a PROBAT roaster. Choose from various espresso drinks, 10 different cold-drip drinks and 25 loose tea selections. 3350 Highland Road. highlandcoffeesbr.com

Java Mama Central Square

Around since 2019

When you’ve got little ones, making time for a coffee date—or just a coffee—isn’t easy. Java Mama answers that need, providing adults a place to sip and meet while their kids play in a supervised safe area for a small fee. Find all sorts of coffee and espresso drinks, including the low-sugar Loaded Protein Coffee, made with cold brew concentrate, a collagen and protein supplement, almond milk and honey. Different levels of memberships allow moms to come routinely without having to worry about a babysitter. 14340 Wax Road, Suite 101, Central. javamamcs.com

La Divina Italian Café

Around since 2013

An espresso menu anchors the coffee offerings at this multi-purpose café, which also serves paninis, salads, gelato and teas. The affogatos are made with two ounces of espresso and the gelato flavor of your choice. Live and open mic music plays on Thursdays and Fridays, respectively. Bring Fido along to the patio for a pup gelato. 3535 Perkins Road, Suite 360. ladivinaitaliancafe.com

Light House Coffee

Around since 2018

A coffee shop built around conscious capitalism, Light House Coffee buys from roasters who source their beans through direct trade, ensuring farmers receive as much compensation as possible. Another mission of the shop is to hire and train refugees, who can take onsite self-sufficiency and English language classes. Patrons choose from pour over, cold brew, French press and espresso methods. Baked goods are made by local vendors. 257 Lee Drive, Suite O. lighthousecoffeebr.com

Magpie Cafe

Around since 2012

Founders James and Lina Jacobs brought this quaint farmhouse-chic spot to life after a trip to Italy inspired their love for food and drink intentionally prepared. Approaching a decade in business, Magpie was one of the first of the Capital Region’s new-guard coffee shops, serving detailed espresso drinks, superfood lattes and a constantly changing menu that, thankfully, includes homemade pop-tarts. 3205 Perkins Road. magpiebrla.com

PJ’s Coffee

Around since the mid-’90s

The first PJ’s opened in New Orleans in 1978, growing since then to 90 locations, including five in Baton Rouge with a sixth forthcoming. The menu offers single-origin and direct-trade coffees, specialty espresso drinks, frozen coffee beverages and seasonal sips like bananas foster cold foam cold brew and pumpkin latte. Multiple locations. pjscoffee.com

Reve Coffee Lab’s Golden Days milk tea latte

Reve Coffee Lab

Around since 2019

This Lafayette-born specialty grade micro roaster originally opened in Baton Rouge in White Star Market, moving later into the Village at Willow Grove. The larger location has given Reve a chance to flex. The menu is chock-full of creative hot and cold beverages. Try Mood Tea, a combination of lavender and pea flower brews, into which lemonade is poured to create a sultry blue hue. 8211 Village Plaza Court, Building 4, Suite 1A. revecoffeeroasters.com

Social Coffee

Around since 1999

Using beans from Onyx Coffee Lab, a company known for its commitment to sustainability, Social Coffee began as a mobile operation, later sliding inside Chow Yum Phat. The baristas here love to get creative, spinning espresso drinks like the Social Shirley, which features cold brew, Topo Chico and grenadine. The concept will move into a permanent location sometime this fall at 521 N. Third St. socialcoffeebr.com

Southern Cofe

Around since 2018

Proprietor Horatio Isadore’s flagship location near Southern University has reinforced neighborhood culture in Scotlandville. While that spot is currently under renovation, a second location in Main Street Market, which opened earlier this year, serves coffee drinks, including iced lattes, caramel macchiatos and frappes and a light fare menu of fresh fruit acai bowls, fruit smoothies and paninis. 8418 Scotland Ave. (reopening soon) and Main Street Market at Fifth and Main streets. Find it on Facebook

The Vintage

Around since 2020

Oh, the myriad ways you can enjoy coffee at this multifaceted concept. By day, sip a café au lait while scarfing down a beignet flight, and by night, combine your coffee with something more adult. Fresh brewed coffee, for  example, is mixed with V.S.O.P. cognac and amaretto in the Midnight Express. The eponymous Vintage cocktail combines coffee moonshine and various cordials, and is topped with froth and a few espresso beans. 333 Laurel St. thevintagebr.com

Truckin’ it

Food trucks specializing in coffee have popped up over the years, too. The latest is Espresso Geaux, opened by Brandi Plaisance in August 2019 to serve local subdivisions, businesses, schools, organizations and events. The truck whips up cold and hot coffees, tea, hot chocolate and smoothies. Find Espresso Geaux on Facebook

Reve Coffee Lab’s Mood Tea is a magical, color-changing experience.

This article was originally published in the October 2021 issue of 225 magazine.