Caffe Medici is a local Austin coffee shop that has succeeded through its customer loyalty. This place has been recommended to me more times than any other coffee shop. Since the majority of the recommendations were positive, I decided to place it high on my list of shops to check out. Here is what I found out:
Founded in 2006, Caffe Medici opened up shop with a Clarksville location. The company was started with a simple mission: be responsive to customers, their neighborhood and the environment. Customers quickly began to appreciate Caffe Medici for its myriad of available coffee styles. You can get anything from an espresso, to drip coffee, French press, or latte. Moreover, the employees of Caffe Medici take the time to study each type of coffee so they can explain and customize for their customers. Soon, however, Caffe Medici’s reputation outgrew its small seating capacity. It was time to grow.
Caffe Medici carried its name and customers to a different part of town in 2008: the UT Drag. The first difference from Medici’s Clarksville location is the layout. Caffe Medici’s on Guadalupe (a.k.a. the Drag) is a two-story building with the majority of its seating above the bar. The top story windows face UT Austin’s architecture building. This is the location where I was first introduced to Caffe Medici, during one of my many sleepless nights as a student. Many, many people recommended that I try the French press coffee.
Let me tell you, the French press at Caffe Medici makes for one strong and flavorful coffee. If you don’t know much about French press coffee, just ask. While the baristas can seem a bit standoffish at times, they do know a lot about the coffee they brew. They described their French press method for me, explaining that French press coffee requires a more course grind. Water is strained through the ground beans, allowing the oil and flavor of the beans to remain, instead of being absorbed into a paper filter.
I can see why people love Caffe Medici for its French press coffee. It tastes buttery, smooth and deep. College students make up the majority of the Drag’s business, and students will generally drink whatever coffee is set before them. It’s nice to see a business that values quality despite this.
This location is very artistic and hip. The UT influence is prevalent. You can catch various local bands playing live shows on its second story. It’s a place where students like to get together and discuss politics, philosophy and literature. The Medici would be proud.
Caffe Medici opened their third location in 2011. You can find it on Congress, in the Austonian. This is a considerably more modern and upscale location when compared with the other two. It is much more spacious than the Clarksville location and much less student-oriented than the Guadelupe location. Its location downtown attracts a varied amount of people who want different things from a coffee shop.
I have found that the upstairs part of the Austonian coffee shop tends to be quieter and downstairs is better for socializing. This urban coffee shop reminds me of a place I’d find in San Francisco. There are many power outlets as well, though they are beneath the table and hard to find if you don’t know where to look.
Check out this location if you’re new to coffee and want to learn more about it. I didn’t feel pressured at all, as the baristas greeted me as soon as I walked in. They welcomed any questions I had and took the time to explain both their coffees and the history of Caffe Medici itself.
The Takeaway: Caffe Medici is known for its dedication to quality and its knowledgeable baristas. While the baristas can seem intimidating, this is mostly because they are trained to understand their coffee and machines completely. You can choose between three Caffe Medici locations, depending on what you want out of your coffee experience. Do you want cozy, eclectic or modern? The choice is yours. You will find well-made coffee at whichever location you choose.
What do you think of Caffe Medici?
Have you checked out our previous Austin coffee shop reviews? Photos courtesy of browncoffeeco, gwhalin and Will Montague, respectively.