Over the past year, we’ve been on a mission to find the best mochas (lattes with added chocolate, for the unenlightened) brewed up by local coffee shops. We secretly visited dozens of Austin cafes and weathered many caffeine highs to achieve our goal, but we’ve finally done it.
Chocolate lovers and espresso connoisseurs, behold — here’s where to get the 15 best hot mochas in town:
Flavor Profile: Light & Smooth
Located in The Austonian building, Caffé Medici boasts a ground floor coffee bar and a fun loft.
From their shops on South Lamar, West Lynn, and Guadalupe, and in The Austonian, Caffé Medici serves up delicious espresso made by Cuvée Coffee, a beloved local operation that will make an appearance later on in this list.
Those who prefer strong espresso drinks probably won’t feel completely satisfied by the incredibly smooth mochas brewed by Caffé Medici, but anyone looking to supplement a conversation or study session with light, chocolate-infused coffee will not be disappointed.
1100 S Lamar, 200 Congress Ave, 2222B Guadalupe St, 1101 West Lynn. Hours and contact details vary by location. Website.
Thunderbird Café and Tap Room
Thunderbird Coffee runs two brick-and-mortar locations in Austin — their Café & Tap Room on Koenig and their traditional coffee shop on Manor (two road names our pronunciation guide will help you learn to say correctly).
Fueled by Round Rock-based coffee company Wild Gift, Thunderbird’s distinctively nutty mocha is the perfect start to any morning or essay-writing haul. Again, folks who prefer stronger stuff probably won’t get buzzed by this drink, but Thunderbird does also serve beer, so…
Epoch Coffee has two always-bustling cafes throughout Austin — Epoch @ North Loop near campus and Epoch @ The Village along West Anderson Lane. Beautifully, they also recently opened a third location off Far West Blvd.
Unlike any other coffee shop included in our taste-testing expedition, Epoch infuses each of their mochas with cinnamon, resulting in one very comforting cup of joe. In short, drinking an Epoch mocha feels like curling up at home with a cozy blanket and a really damn good book.
With a well-established cafe tucked next to sprawling art complex Canopy in East Austin, Japanese-inspired Sa-Tén Coffee and Eats is scheduled to open its second storefront along Airport Blvd and expand its original Springdale location throughout 2018.
Co-0wned by Kayo Asazu of Kome and Motoyasu Utsunomiya of East Side King, Sa-Tén is known for its Japanese toasts, matcha lattes, and iced Vietnamese coffee, but it should also be celebrated for its sweet, marshmallow-y mochas.
Flavor Profile: Rich & Deep
Apanas Coffee & Beer
Though they’ve closed their newest location on SoCo, Apanas Coffee & Beer on Rock Rose Ave in the Domain is still going strong — and they brew up one of the best mochas in town.
Using their own organic, fair trade beans, Apanas’ baristas have mastered the art of mocha-making. And they’ve honed their process to ensure that different baristas produce the same consistent flavor every time, so you know exactly what to expect: perfection.
The word “Patika” can be translated to “footpath” or “alley” in Turkish. That’s perfect because when we first accidentally discovered Patika’s (late) tiny little coffee trailer in downtown Central Austin accidentally, drinking one of their rich mochas felt like an escape from the bustle of the city — a shortcut to hidden treasure.
Now, Patika has its own brick and mortar cafe on South Lamar, where they serve amazing food and coffee brewed with Wild Gift beans.
2159 S Lamar. Open daily 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Website.
We first turned your attention to Round Rock’s only artisan coffeehouse, Lamppost Coffee, back in late 2016, and we’ve got great news — they’re still one of the best places north of SH 45 to enjoy a well-crafted latte. Sporting Wild Gift espresso, Lamppost‘s goal is to make your mocha experience as magical as walking through a wardrobe into C. S. Lewis’ Narnia. And trust us — they’ve done it!
1205 Round Rock Ave (Round Rock). 512-217-4962. Open Mon-Fri 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sat 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sun 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Website.
Flitch Coffee is something of an anomaly among the coffee trucks of Austin. Instead of ordering at their vintage airstream trailer’s window, you actually get to step inside to request your latte and then make your way back into the Texas sunshine to find outdoor seating among live edge tables, stumps and wooden benches.
The whole experience of drinking coffee at Flitch feels like a hipster adventure — and their rich mocha tastes like backpacking in the wilderness.
641 Tillery St. Open Mon-Fri 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sat-Sun 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Website.
Located in East Austin along Cesar Chavez St. and in South Austin just off of Hwy 290, Cenote can’t be missed. It’s always buzzing with masses of brunchers, so arrive early if you don’t want to have to rub elbows with strangers in order to try their deep, flavorful mocha, which is made with Wild Gift espresso. However, if they’re already busy when you arrive, don’t let the crowds deter you from trying their coffee. It’s worth the wait!
1010 E Cesar Chavez St., 6214 Cameron Rd. Hours and contact details vary by location. Website.
Radio Coffee and Beer
Everything about this coffeehouse is gorgeous (except the limited parking situation) — the woodsy architecture, the vintage furniture, the stunning artwork, the craft beers on tap, the Veracruz All-Natural food truck out on their patio, and of course — their coffee.
4204 Manchacha Rd. 512-394-7844. Open Mon-Fri 6:30 a.m. to midnight, Sat-Sun 7:30 a.m. to midnight. Website.
Flavor Profile: Bold & Beautiful
Red Horn Coffee House and Brewing Co.
If you order one of their punchy mochas, it may come in a slightly smaller quantity than you’re used to (they only serve 8-10 oz), but after one taste of espresso-y, dark chocolate goodness, you won’t even care. And you’ll definitely want another.
13010 W Parmer Ln, Ste 800 (Cedar Park). 512-986-7038. Open Mon-Thurs 7 a.m. to 10 p.m, Fri-Sat 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., & Sun 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Website.
Cuvée Coffee Bar
Cuvée Coffee Bar makes coffee fun. Not only is the inside of their East Austin cafe quirky and wonderful in an industrial kind of way, they roast their own coffee, always pushing hard to create new and unique flavors and featuring a new blend each month. Needless to say, their mocha is one-of-a-kind.
While ordering, you can choose which espresso blend you’d like in your mocha. We selected their bestselling Meritage blend for its peanut butter, cherry, and dark chocolate overtones, but we (and Cuvée) encourage experimentation!
2000 E 6th St. 512-368-5636. Open Mon-Fri 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sat-Sun 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Website.
Stouthaus Coffee Pub
Star Wars-themed Stouthaus Coffee Pub in South Austin pulls strong, punchy espresso shots with berry overtones to make their tangy mochas. They’re so delicious, we’re pretty sure the Force is involved. This small cafe does get busy during peak hours, but it’s a quiet spot for remote work and conversation otherwise.
4715 S Lamar Blvd #102 (Sunset Valley). 512-721-0030. Mon-Fri 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sat 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sun 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Website.
If you like bold, dramatic coffee, look no further than Houndstooth Coffee. Made with extremely dark chocolate, their bitter-yet-beautiful mocha will utterly challenge you and we love that!
Houndstooth runs two cafes in Austin: one on North Lamar Blvd. and another on Congress Ave. downtown. According to Eater, they’re also currently building out a third location along MLK in East Austin — which will also serve cocktails. Score!
4200 N Lamar Blvd., 401 Congress Ave. Hours and contact details vary by location. Website.
Sleek and modern, Caffe Aragona along Congress Ave. uses espresso beans from legendary Italian coffee roaster Lavazza Coffee to brew their coffee magic. Their mocha lattes are brilliantly bold, and thanks to Lavazza’s own drinking chocolate, they strike the perfect balance between bitterness and sweetness. Pure Italian wizardry here.
And if you’re not a coffee drinker, no worries — Austin’s got plenty of cocoa hot spots.
All story photos: Rebecca L. Bennett