The results of the 2009 “Austin Chronicle” Restaurant Poll were announced today. Readers voted for Starbucks as the best coffee in Austin, followed by Jo’s Hot Coffee in 2nd place, and Honorable Mentions were given to Austin Java, Anderson’s, and Teo. The food critics of the “Chronicle” did not recognize any other coffee roasters or cafes in their award category. In 2007, Kohana Blend was selected by the critics as Best House Blend.I think it’s unfortunate that Starbucks of Seattle should be awarded Best Coffee in Austin. Sure, they employ lots of Austinites and have convenient drive thrus, but is this really the BEST coffee in Austin? There are several local roasters in Austin producing marvelous, fresh coffee in small batches who should be given greater recognition. Micro roasters like Kohana Coffee, buy the finest specialty Arabica green coffee available and deliver it to our local customers like Whole Foods, Central Market, Cissi’s Market, Breed & Co and Blue Dahlia Bistro right after roasting. It’s fresh, it’s bought quickly, and we roast more. There’s no telling when the coffee was roasted at Starbucks. Even their bags in retail stores have expiration dates up to a year later.
Jo’s Hot Coffee is roasted by Little City, a fine small roaster with a café on Congress Avenue near the Capitol. However, unless you know that Jo’s buys it’s coffee from Little City, it’s just “Jo’s Coffee”. Why isn’t Little City one of the top coffees in the Best Coffee list? Austin Java and Anderson’s roast their own coffee too, and they are local. Mr. Anderson is the patriarch of specialty coffee roasting in Austin and deserves to be placed above Starbucks. Teo buys its coffee from out-of-town roasters (Café Piansa) and an Italian roaster (Palazzo) supplies their espresso.
I wish that the food critics and readers of the “Chronicle” were more supportive of the small, local roasters in Austin who produce what we know is really the BEST coffees in Austin. If not, the other large, corporate coffee brands who are competing against Starbucks will make next year’s Restaurant Poll results even worse: 1st Place: Starbucks; 2nd Place: McDonald’s; 3rd Place: Dunkin’ Donuts.