Just when I think we've been to all the tea/coffee spots in San Antonio, more spring up like dandelions!
Also, did I mention breakfast tacos? Though many places only offer them in the morning, and for once I'm going to say please take a page out of McDonald's playbook, it's still a wonderful thing to look forward to.
If I'm going to pick the place I'd like to return to the most, it would be Commonwealth Coffee. I only had the tea and a pastry, and these were just okay, but I hear their coffee is good. The vibe, though. It's something I look for in any coffee/tea place outside of the major metropolitan cities.
What? Isn't San Antonio major enough for you? Well, yes, it's big like all of Texas, but it's set up, in my opinion, more like the suburbs and less like a metropolis. My criteria, of course, is walkability. I'm not amazingly well-traveled, but the walkable cities, like London, Paris, Boston, Montreal, Philadelphia, Washington, almost Austin but not quite, have a certain kind of shop front, and the driving cities like San Antonio (and West Palm Beach, and I'm probably forgetting places but you get the idea), have another. They have much better parking, which is a plus, and their cafes/coffee shops that are not located in a shopping center or downtown area tend to give off the feeling that you're entering a residence. What gives it the good vibe is if it's airy and not creepy-musty.
(This is all opinion-based, by the way. There are exceptions even in San Antonio.)
Commonwealth was cozy but cool, and a seemingly welcome spot for all. I say that because another spot, Rosella Coffee, doesn't feel quite the same. It's off the Riverwalk and near a museum, so it should attract gobs of different people, but it feels campusy, dark and industrial. Ohh, I know some people love that atmosphere, and I'll be quick to praise their London Fog tea, but all in all I preferred Commonwealth, and their nice variety of pastries and light fare. Yep.
Hiney Gourmet Coffee was worth a visit just for the name, so we chose this as my Cheat Coffee spot. I'm of extremely two minds about this place - the coffee was okay and all, the proprietors were very friendly and we had a good chat with them, and their friends. The kid behind the counter was an incompetent so and so, though. We cannot be the first patrons he grossly overcharged. So maybe I'd go back, if he's not there. I don't want to be too negative about it, so I'll stop here.
I'm sure you all (or y'all?) know I love my cuppa with a view. In this, I'm not alone. But, well, how often do I actually have this privilege? Usually my first tea is sipped in front of my office computer screen, and so is my second one. On the weekends it could vary, but it's likely on my couch with Zenobia, which is no problem, and in a cute cafe anywhere a people-watching session is always welcome, but scenery is sublime. That time I had my coffee from an outdoors Paul, where I could face the Thames or the Tower of London? Six years past, and it's fresh in my memory. I've schlepped tea into Central Park at times. A water view is tops, though, and Mozart's Coffee Roasters in Austin provided this.
It had been rough, despite a happy morning at Book People and Voodoo Donuts, because my phone's battery died. Bonnie was kind enough to let me use her phone to take pictures, but I'll admit I was antsy. Somehow, though, sitting out on a deck overlooking Lake Austin and watching happy little boats go by with my Earl Grey and an empanada (odd pairing but not bad), life reset itself. It felt like a little piece of New England in the capital of Texas. I was happily confused.
A weird moment, and Austin is a weird city, was finding Toms Coffee Roasters. Toms as in those canvas shoes that woke people own. All the products were there, but so was a coffee spot, and a cute seating area out in the back. We were caffeined up, but I wouldn't mind trying this place on another visit.