3 Coffee Shops to Try in Birmingham

By Wednesday, August 05, 2015 , ,

I live in the great city of Birmingham, Alabama. I moved here when I was six, and as I’ve grown older, I’ve developed extreme fondness for this place I call my hometown. That being the case, I’m rather embarrassed at the lack of Birmingham-related posts here, so I’m going to start trying to remedy that! I’ve been rediscovering it myself since moving back after college, and it’s been fun. It’s a thriving, bustling city, contrary to what many may think. For some of you, “Alabama” may conjure up images of farms, pickup trucks, and people in cowboy boots speaking with an unintelligible country twang. All very well and good, but that’s not Birmingham. We’ve got fabulous malls, a delicious food scene, swanky music and theater venues, top-ranked hospitals, and some pretty great coffee stops.

As I’ve said before, I don’t drink straight coffee. However, a coffee shop is another matter. Easygoing baristas, background music, sitting areas, and the smell of baked goods and brewing coffee make for one of the most relaxing environments to me, and Birmingham’s got some great options. I’ve landed on three that are must-tries when you’re passing through the area

1. O'HENRY'S COFFEES


The O'Henry's I’ve visited most is conveniently located right next to Brookwood Mall, so it fits right in with the shopper scene, as well as the ones who stay for hours to study or work. O’Henry’s is also student-friendly with its nice booths and loft area upstairs. This works nicely for the one I know well, as it’s down the street from Samford University. Almost every time I’ve been, I’ve seen students there working on a paper or studying. But those booths are also perfect for a nice, long conversation with a friend, and the quieter loft space is nice if you just want to curl up with a book. There are a few nice chairs and sofas downstairs for that too. The whole atmosphere is very relaxed and feels cultured with background music and paraphernalia decorating the walls as well.



O’Henry’s takes pride in brewing its own coffee beans fresh every day, so there’s a more-distinct-than-usual coffee smell in there all the time. They also offer a breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu rather than just the typical baked goods, so you can grab a quick meal there in addition to your coffee if need be.

2. CHURCH STREET COFFEE AND BOOKS


This is my most recent gem-find in Birmingham. Book nerd that I am, I was enthralled when I first walked into this little shop that doubles as a coffee shop and a bookstore/book club hangout. For my fellow bookworms, this is your place. There are shelves of books and coffee-making supplies for sale, as well as plenty of tables to write your newest masterpiece or to discuss your latest favorite book with a friend. There’s even a small lounge area for children with children’s books and beanbags. And upstairs, there’s a “quiet floor,” which is smaller than the rest of the shop, and certainly silent. This is the ideal area for studying or reading quietly. The downstairs is fairly open with lots of tables close together, and upstairs is almost total silence. That said, Church Street might not be ideal for a deep, serious discussion, but a friend and I once did it anyway by talking in the upstairs room, eventually driving away the dutiful study-ers. Sorry, y’all. It had to happen, because that visit was also my first time to try Church Street’s famous Breakup Cookie. Even if you’re not into books, you need to go there to try this cookie. Best thing you will put in your mouth all day, I assure you. It's the perfect consistency of chocolate chip and gooey cookie – comfort food at its finest!




3. SEEDS COFFEE CO.


Seeds is fairly new to Birmingham, and it’s the ultimate hipster stop. It has the chilled out feel when you walk in, and the layout is big and diverse. You could talk casually at a small table with someone, while another couple of friends are engrossed in solving the world’s problems on couches in an opposite corner. There’s also a big table, perfect for the aspiring artist or craftsman who wants to bring all their supplies and brainstorm with space. When I was last there, I saw the typical student with a laptop, others with stuff spread out on the big table, and a group of musicians in another corner practicing, all while I read on a couch. That being said, not surprisingly, the people behind Seeds encourage art and creativity. They demonstrate this in their specialty brewing methods and the creative latte art they do for their customers. They also frequently partner with nonprofits and other people to support worthy causes, which makes for nice events and benefits fairly regularly. And one of my favorite things about Seeds is the way the tea is served. Since I’m not a coffee drinker, I’ll usually order tea if I want something hot, and at Seeds, they’ll serve you your very own teapot with a cup and saucer! A whole pot of tea for you to pour and enjoy at your leisure. I felt thoroughly British and it was lovely. There’s even a tea option titled, “Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham.” Obviously, I had to try that one on my first visit.



And there you have it! My uniquely Birmingham coffee recommendations. Hit me up if you’re in the area and we’ll try them out! Extra ending plug for Church Street’s Breakup Cookie…seriously, you gotta try it if you’re passing through. It is hea.ven.ly.

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2 comments

  1. Seeds is literally my favorite place in Birmingham.

    I've been meaning to find Church Street, but can't ever make it when I'm in town!

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    1. I hadn't been in a while but felt so relaxed and at home when I went the other day! Definitely try Church Street when you can! It's such a fun and cozy setup, and those cookies are phenomenal :)

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