At first glance, Bennu Coffee adds a touch of elegance to the Austin coffee shops scene. Walk through its doors and you’ll see high-backed chairs surrounding varnished tables and counter tops. Elegant sofas line the walls beneath paintings and pictures from local artists. A grandfather clock slowly ticks across the room.
Look a little deeper though, scratch beneath the surface, and you’ll find that Bennu Coffee is more than an upscale coffee house. Over the years, it has partnered with many environmental, social and cultural organizations to make Austin, Texas a better place to live. Plus the coffee is delicious and it’s a great place to study – that too.
History and Mission of Bennu Coffee
Created from an abandoned antique shop in 2009, Bennu Coffee is the creation of Stephanie Hogue and Steve Williams. Together, they built a place where coffee and local food meets social activism. Nearly all of Bennu’s coffee is fair trade, and Bennu is dedicated to reducing its waste output by using recyclable or compostable materials.
Bennu Coffee has close relationships with over twenty charities like LifeWorks, Austin Pets Alive! and The Yellow Bike Project. In addition to the staggeringly broad amount of social activism, Bennu Coffee keeps Austin money in Austin by offering local cuisine like Torchy’s Tacos and Hoboken Pies. It’s nice to see a local business that is passionate about its community and city. This is part of the reason why Austinites continue to spend their money here. The other reasons are the atmosphere and the coffee, of course.
How Does the Atmosphere Compare to Other Austin Coffee Shops?
The atmosphere inside Bennu Coffee changes as the day progresses. Since it is open 24 hours a day, different types of people walk in for different reasons. The morning crowd tends to be a mixture of people looking to get their caffeine fix. Students slowly begin to fill Bennu’s inviting couches and spacious tables as the day progresses. It is a stone’s throw from the University of Texas, after all. The night time crowd is extremely relaxed and the music ranges from ambient to electronic.
Despite the spacious interior, Bennu Coffee can become very crowded during the morning and afternoon. Expect to share a large table with somebody else if you don’t want to wait for the rush to die down.
There is an abundance of power outlets, so this is a perfect place to relax and chat after work and school. There is a one-drink minimum, however, to ward off wifi-moochers.
A regular French press coffee will cost you $2.50, so the drink requirement shouldn’t be too hard to swing. There is also a $5.00 minimum if you want to pay with a card without a small additional fee.
Then There’s the Coffee
As far as coffee goes, the joe at Bennu Coffee ranks among the most creative you’ll find in any Austin coffee shop. Most famous are its Gourmet Mochas. Keeping with the sophisticated and student-friendly feel, the gourmet mochas are named after great pieces of literature. The Don Quixote is an Azteca D’Oro Spiced Chocolate Mocha, topped with spiced Mexican powder and homemade whipped cream. It’s more than enough to sate your sweet tooth, as well as your need for caffeine.
Similarly, the Pride and Prejudice drink is a chocolaty and creamy mocha, topped with homemade whipped cream and chocolate powder. It is the most popular gourmet mocha that Bennu offers. The baristas were more than happy to explain the contents of each drink to me, which speaks to their knowledge and approachability.
Bennu Coffee Takeaways
Bennu Coffee is a haven for any student looking to study through the night. The people and music are low-key and quiet. Fueled by a passion for local businesses and charities, Bennu Coffee does its part to make Austin a great place to live. Head here if you want creative coffee and some local grub during your study session. Check it out at 2001 E. MLK Blvd. Austin, Tx 78702.
What do you drink at Bennu Coffee?
Have you checked out our previous Austin coffee shop reviews?