Photo by Jasmine Khademakbari
Not all coffee shops are created equal. Some are more geared toward the up and coming influencer, snapping the most aesthetic photos of lattes, macaroons and acai bowls. Others are for the quiet student; headphones in, typing furiously, trying to finish an essay due later that night.
Over the past week I have scoured through Houston’s finest coffee shops spending a few hours studying in each hoping to find the perfect coffee shop for your IG feed and to actually get some work done. I settled on the top four, each judged for hours open, WiFi quality, seating space and coffee tastiness. Each place will be rated out of five coffee cups.
3773 Richmond Ave #1F, Houston, TX 77046
Cavo was the first coffee shop I went to. I took my half-charged laptop, some cash and a mind ready to tackle Microbiology.
I highly recommend going to Cavo Coffee over the weekend, parking is free in the garage attached to the shopping center. During the week, I imagine parking could be a problem.
Walking in, I noticed Cavo has a very industrial ambiance. The hanging lights are a nice touch and the space is very open with lots of windows. It is the perfect place for the intellectual fine-tuning their philosophical mind.
There was a moderate amount of seating available on a Sunday afternoon and I found a seat next to the bar. The music is perfect for studying. It plays at a moderate volume, so that you can still hear indistinct coffee shop chatter.
Their menu is very minimalistic and easy to read, but I still wanted a recommendation. The staff was very friendly and helpful, and suggested I order a Cortado, a double shot espresso topped with a thin layer of milk. This drink was perfect for my intense study session. I was able to finish before my laptop died and the store closed at 7 p.m.
Pros: Aesthetic, good place to focus, great coffee for good prices, convenient parking.
Cons: Come with a charged laptop, there are no outlets, closes pretty early.
Final Verdict: Perfect place for a quick study session on the weekend. 4/5 coffee cups.
Foam Coffee House
5819 Richmond Ave, Houston, TX 77057
Foam Coffee House is a newer coffee spot located next to a car wash. The parking lot has no marks so it can be a bit tricky to find space if it’s busy, but for the most part parking should not be a problem.
Although the parking situation and location may make you reluctant, the inside will surely change your mind.
Foam has a clean lux marble look with high ceilings. It features an electronic fireplace and marble paintings for décor. It is simple, clean luxury. I imagine this would be Jay Gatsby’s favorite coffee house.
There is ample study space and free WiFi. The music here is very soft, so if you prefer to listen to your own tunes, this is the spot for you. Foam is open until 8 p.m. every day except for Sunday, so if you wanted to work well into the evening, this could be the place for you. The menu is simple and there are even diagrams to show you exactly how the drinks are made.
Gone are the days of asking the barista what the difference is between a latte and a macchiato!
Pros: Lots of study space, clean lux look, soft music
Cons: Parking can be tricky, not many outlets so bring a charged laptop
Final Verdict: A great place to do some homework and maybe get your car washed too! 3/5 coffee cups
The Nook Cafe
4701 Calhoun Rd, Houston, TX 77004
No review of best study coffee shops would be complete without mentioning The Nook Café, UH’s very own on-campus study nook.
Around campus I had always heard of this elusive Nook but never actually gone before. I never knew where it was, and figured it was somewhere off campus. Alas, it is in the same complex as many other on-campus favorites like Pinks Pizza, Café 101 and Rooftop.
As you might have guessed, parking could be a problem as it is in a very good location with lots of other popular spots around it.
The layout of the inside is very interesting, as it is not a wide-open space as some of the previous coffee shops mentioned were. Instead, it is made up of many little nooks where people can gather, hence the name.
The menu can be very overwhelming, although it is cute and colorful. Luckily for me the barista was lovely and helped me and my study buddy find our perfect iced coffees. They have a variety of flavors for your coffee and I chose the brown sugar cinnamon flavor and my friend chose maple, although I heard the English Toffee flavor is very good as well. They even have a rewards program where you can even get a free coffee out of your caffeine addiction!
We settled ourselves in a little corner next to some board games and quickly got engaged in conversation. Although not much studying got done in that outing, if you come ready to study, the Nook could serve you well until midnight! So if you need to catch up on assignments and need some nice tasting caffeinated beverage to get the job done, then the Nook is perfect for you!
Pros: Open late, lots of tasty coffee options, board games
Cons: Can get really busy, parking lot will get full
Final Verdict: If you’re lucky enough to get a nice spot, the Nook is a great, convenient, on-campus location to get your homework done! 4/5 coffee cups
Located At: 1712 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77098
Agora is a two-level Greek themed coffee shop.
With a location in Montrose, parking can be hard to come by, and you will most likely have to park on the street.
It has a very unique ambiance and is a nice change of pace from your everyday coffee spots. It is very cozy and dim-lit, making it an ideal date spot.
I chose a spot upstairs when I went, which gave me a very pleasant view of the rest of the coffee shop.
Agora is full of life, from people studying with their laptops, to people having drinks on the patio and just groups of friends enjoying pastries together.
Agora is also open until 2 a.m., so if you need to spend the night studying, you can. And if your laptop dies, there is no need to worry since there are outlets everywhere. Having a hotspot is handy if you need reliable WiFi, because although Agora has free WiFi, it tends to slow down when the night gets busier.
Pros: Outlets, Open late, cozy ambiance
Cons: Very busy, unreliable Wifi, not enough parking
Final Verdict: This is a cute, cozy spot if you need a change of pace and environment! 3/5 coffee cups