Geek This Not That: Coffee in Huntsville

Huntsville has gained a reputation in recent years as being a micro-brewery destination, but we’ve also staked a claim on being one with coffee brewers as well!  To review the awesome options available, our friend Shelby Ward of Wild Bean submitted this awesome writeup as an intro to the coffee scene right here in Huntsville.


Alchemy-Lounge-32Maybe I am a guy who believes that change is ultimately not necessary when I don’t see a necessity for it, or a way of it making an improvement on my life as it is lived by me in the here and in the now.

You’ve met others like me. I’m sure of it! We’re old guys. Stubborn yet dignified in our ways of distinguishing between what is, and what isn’t pleasing to our day-in and day-out life. It is a blessing to me, and to some others it is a curse (another side note about old guys: we view ourselves quite loftily with respect to others).

I love coffee. Let us clear the air with one sentence of relevance to this article; coffee and I understand one another very well. We have relationship that stretches back many years. Our company has been mutually……ok, ok, enough of that; you get it: I enjoy my bean water. The fun thing is that I love what I love about coffee because I love what I love. That’s it. That’s that. I like what I like, and not because “they” said, or because “them” is enjoying this or that.

My palate is trained to challenge every drop of drink and morsel of food it encounters for its extraordinary characteristics, or its lackluster approach to its genre of culinary discipline.

….and I kiss and tell.

I am a professional appreciator.

I enjoy enjoying and will always share with others so that they also may enjoy enjoying what they enjoy enjoying. However, if the flagship ingredient of an establishments menu (coffee as it were for this article) I’ll speak the truth where truth needs hearin.’

Since my pop-up shut its doors there have been a few places of note that have emerged on the greatly-evolving coffee scene in downtown Huntsville, Alabama. I, seeking the “great café experience(once you have you’ll know what I mean),” frequent these fine establishments, and have to come to realize a few things:

  • I don’t appreciate the trendier roast profiles for every cup of coffee I drink;
  • ease of access is always….always…a huge consideration to be considered when considering;
  • I love to see enthusiasm about coffee behind the bar; without it, the experience is lost on me;
  • CUSTOMER SERVICE!;
  • and Huntsville is taking hige-amazing strides in the coffee-sphere, and I absolutely love it!

When downtown:

Olde Towne Coffee Shop
511 Pratt Ave, 35801

IMG_7704Hands down my favorite iced-americano in town. It was a freshly roasted Brazil that rich and full. Plenty of complexity, but it was the balance that I loved. Like a hoppy IPA, proper balance is a must. Blance is everything.

The girl serving had just enough attitude behind the bar. I enjoyed her snappy disposition. I respected that her space, her realm, was behind that bar, and fuck you if you got a problem with it.

I’ll be back there again and again as long as they keep up their awesome.

Honest Coffee Roasters, HSV
114 Clinton Ave E

IMG_7701Speaking of location, these guys got it. Right smack-dab in the heart of our fair city’s entertainment district. Always convenient. Always right around the corner of a downtown adventure. Great hours are also in the plus column for this café.

I was pleased with the drink that they gave me when I ordered an iced-americano, but it hit the palate like a stick of incense and ripe fruit. It was the tart and bright fruit that alarmed me to the latest craze of the third-wave of coffee ride; the visceral through the lens of bright and busy flavors that are so unique and warping that you wonder how in the world you can taste, smell and feel lavender…all from your cup of coffee. It’s a fun dance to swing to every now and again, but perhaps not as my daily cuppa joe.

Alchemy Lounge
2211 Seminole Dr

IMG_1039I love this joint because of their lovely attention to detail that keeps the artist community motif going strong, but they also injected an elegance and taste that the ideology of a “lounge” deserves. Which, allow me to repeat myself (old guy thing), they are a lounge. Proper.

I ran into a guy I knew while there and we both had the same look when we saw each other, “You found it too!?”  Location. ‘Nuff said.

I did what I do, I ordered an iced-americano and fairly promptly I got what I ordered. I also got that alarm. You know it; I mentioned it a moment ago. The third-wave alarm. BEEP! BEEP! WHAM! A tart and direct/in-your-face-with-notes double-shot of espresso with water and ice served in the appropriately sized cup for the beverage. It was enjoyed quite thoroughly not just becaiuse of the wallop of flavors I was tasting, but because the baristas love what they were doing. They loved coffee too. Boom! That’s exactly what it’s all about, right?! The coffee experience. Do you, or don’t you love it?

All this to say I am over the moon with how the downtown Huntsville scene is evolving its rich culinary footprint in the south. We are kickin’ ass and takin’ names with visionaries like chefs Chris and Andy at The Bottle, James Boyce at Commerce Kitchen, the Fowler bros with OTBX, Derrick Young at UG White, and the amazing coffee-aficionados of the uber-awesomely-expanding coffee landscape of our brilliant downtown. I am grateful to have been a part of the evolution, and I cannot wait to see where we go from here.

Now get out there and drink some great coffee! Also check out our other purveyors of truth:

  • Angel’s Island
  • Sugar Belle Cupcakes
  • Grounded Coffee (Madison)
  • Southbrew(Madison)
  • Kaffeeklatsch
  • Flint River Coffee
  • Rooster’s Crow Coffee Roasters

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