Better latte than never

Pioneering coffee shop smartly selects Austin for first Texas location

Pioneering coffee shop smartly selects Austin for first Texas location

Intelligentsia Coffee
Intelligentsia Coffee will soon be perking up Austin's coffee game. Intelligentsia Coffee/Facebook

One of the biggest perks of living in Austin is its coffee culture. With homegrown roasters and innovative shops peppered throughout town, Austin has come a long ways since Quack’s brought a new thing called espresso to sleep-starved UT students back in the ‘80s. Now, a highly respected caffeine artisan has taken notice and has chosen the Capital City for its first Texas shop.

On December 10, Intelligentsia Coffee announced via release that it will be setting up shop at 208 Nueces St. in late spring 2019. The Chicago-born brand founded by Doug Zell and Emily Mange needs no introduction to coffee nerds. Along with Stumptown Coffee Roasters in Portland, Oregon, and Counter Culture Coffee in Durham, North Carolina, it was part of the “big three” of the third wave coffee movement in the late ‘90s that began to treat the production and preparation of coffee as seriously as wine.

The downtown Intelligentsia, joining Emmer & Rye’s upcoming restaurant Hestia in the Third + Shoal building, will be the 13th shop for the brand, and Austin is only the third city with a shop outside of Intelligentsia's hometown of Chicago. Other locations are in Boston, Los Angeles, and New York City.

The announcement isn’t a complete surprise, however. The coffee experts already made an investment in Austin in July with the opening of a training lab for local wholesale partners above Revival Cycles on South Congress Avenue.

“Austin is a vibrant, unique city and the specialty coffee scene is unlike any other,” said Intelligentsia Coffee CEO and president James Mclaughlin in a release. “There is a true appreciation for the craft and respect for the local brands that have helped create this coffee culture, which is something we’ve seen firsthand from working with partners like Bunkhouse [Group] and Jo’s Coffee.”

In keeping with that local love, Intelligentsia has tapped Austin’s Scott Magic to design the space. The architect has worked on several hospitality projects around town including a Burro Cheese Kitchen brick-and-mortar, two Chi’Lantro locations, and DuMont’s Down Low. 

And since no coffee shop is complete without snacks, Intelligentsia is working with area food partners to provide a grab-and-go selection. The company says it will announce those vendors closer to the opening date.