For the past five years, Once Over Coffee Bar in South Austin has been our favorite coffee shop in central Texas.

We go here for perfect Americanos, a soundtrack featuring plenty X, and Jason and the Scorchers and the friendliest baristas in Austin.

They also happen to be deadly serious about their beans. So serious, they’ve decided to open their own coffee roaster with partner Clancy Rose, a major player in the Texas craft bean roasting scene. At the roaster’s physical location on the verdant plains of Round Rock, there will be an espresso machine so that potential commercial accounts can participate in cuppings to determine which beans they will be purchasing. Some time in the future, the public will be allowed access as well.

Can Wild Gift knock Anderson’s Coffee, the king since the 70s, off their throne?

That remains to be seen, but we’re predicting big things from these insurgents.

Austin is awash in coffee roasters: Flat Track, Third Coast, Ruta Maya, Texas Coffee Traders…the list goes on. With over 100 coffee shops in town there’s plenty room at the top for folks who take the trade seriously

Folks like Clancy Rose and Rob and Jenee Ovitt.

field report from Once Over

and a big food party you should know about

Austin, Texas is chockablock with fantastic espresso. Baristas are pulling perfect shots in East Austin, Downtown, North Campus, and just about every neighborhood in town.

Of course there are plenty lost souls who spend their hard earned money at Starbucks but their lives are rattling husks.

The Brooksdale neighborhood, where we reside, has yet to open a coffee joint but we’re expecting one any day now.

We’ve got a murderer’s row of cafes that we habitually roll into to grab an Americano, but at the end of the day our heart belongs to Once Over Coffee Bar in South Austin.

Here’s why

The best food party in Austin Texas.

Austin Food and Wine Alliance has released their chef line-up for this year’s Wine And Swine affair to be held Sunday November 10th 2013 at Ceres Park, near the Jester King Brewery, southwest of Austin proper.

We went last year, and there is a surfeit of wine, beer and all things pig. This is a momentous event and you would be a fool to miss out.

We’d gladly shell out the modest $75 just to eat a big plate of chef Josh Watkins roast pig.


Alfred Peet started a revolution way back in 1966. A Dutchman, Peet was a world traveler who fueled his coffee obsession via stops in England and Indonesia before settling down in wild and wooly San Francisco just before the Summer of Love.

Starbucks? Peet trained their staff and supplied their beans when they opened up in Seattle in 1971.

He was a lion of the industry. In 1972, Jamie Anderson, an understudy of Mr. Peet, opened his eponymous beanery on West 38th Street, and Austin entered the national craft coffee conversation.

On a recent morning, business found us in Central Austin so we decided to pop into Mr. Anderson’s shop and see if the years have been kind to the old gal.

They have.

We’re greeted at the door by Cyrus, a veteran at the shop who immediately, and excitedly, begins walking us through the day’s offerings: Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Columbia, New Guinea, Java, Sulawesi, Sumatra, Ethiopia, Panama and Burundi…among others.

I’ve been obsessed with Peruvian food since the halcyon days of Pachamama’s Peruvian Creole Cuisine (rip) so I vector in on the fatherland while my companion is contented with a big bag of Alfred’s Blend, perhaps the most famous roast the shop puts out.

Cyrus is a walking vault of coffee knowledge; he patiently explains the ethos of the shop: Mr. Anderson roasts fresh, seasonal varietals in small batches out in Manor, Texas, and trundles them to the retail store on an as-needed basis. This ensures that the customer only has the finest coffee in their cupboard.

Need a jolt while you’re shopping? A cup will set you back a buck but you’ll be drinking standing; there are no chairs unless you count a concrete bench down the sidewalk at Russell’s Cafe.

With the rise of craft coffee in USA it’s easy to overlook the old standard bearers. Young bucks like Mike McKimm over at Cuvee are rightly celebrated while we have a tendency to forget about the foundation joints like Anderson’s Coffee.

There’s plenty room for both in our cupboard. We may start the day with a pot of Cuvee or Picacho each morning but once afternoon rolls around we find ourselves often needing a good jolt to carry us through our busy lives; that’s when we lunge for the bag of Anderson’s and take a stroll through the craft coffee history of the United States.

full coffee coverage

Bon Appetit loves Franklin Barbecue. Way back in 2011 writer Andrew Knowlton ignited the world of US barbecue claiming that Franklin was “the best.”

The firestorm was predictable as defenders of the old lions of Taylor, Texas and Lockhart, Texas sprang to the defense of the old timey legends of the world of smoked meat. We broke down the kerfuffle here

Now Bon Appetit has issued their 21 most important restaurants in America. The list claims to be a mere 20 long but they’ve mystifyingly lumped Uchi and Uchiko into one spot. While they share the same owner, they’re far from being the same restaurant.

The magazine also includes Cochon where we had an oyster bacon sandwich so poorly wrought last summer that we questioned whether we’d ever go back. Limp, flaccid bacon will do that to a body.

Lists like these are always a lot of fun, and they certainly accomplish their goal: drive a ton of traffic to the originator of the piece.

Here’s a hotlink to the article. Let the debate rage.

If our barista’s not dressed up like a Greek immigrant bartender circa 1915 we always go for the drip coffee.

Nothing says highly skilled like a waxy mustache, sleeve garters, starchy white shirt and vintage pantaloons. So if that’s missing from the equation, we reckon we’ve got a novice behind the espresso machine and need to order accordingly. Vintage Heart’s only been open for a few months but they’ve quietly muscled their way into our normal coffee shop rotation.

The Third Coast beans have a nice jolt and the baristas could not be friendlier. At the end of the day, we’re simple folk and that’s all we want: a quick buzz and a friendly exchange with a stranger.

Austin coffee scene coverage

One of the best baristas in Austin; Ruth at Jp’s Java. This girl can grind, dose, tamp, and pour with the best of them.

Jp’s has been usurped in the Austin coffee hierarchy as young buck brewers like Once Over down on South First Street and Caffe Medici have sprung up since Jp’s first opened a decade ago.

But out of all the north campus area coffee houses this is easily the best source for proper shots and pulls.



Too late.

By the time the barista had handed me my morning cup it was too late. I was all in on a cup of Starbucks coffee. A “pleasure” I’d not known in well over a decade.

I first discovered “good” coffee back in the 90s. By good I mean beans that had been roasted locally and dispensed via a La Marzocco espresso machine by a barista who’d actually been trained to operate the infernal device. I never looked back on those old cups of Sanka or Folgers served up by granny women in support hose at places like the Waysider in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Back then I loved a dark roasted coffee simply due to the fact it was brand new to me. As time passed I began gravitating to a lighter roast cause that’s where you’re going to get the big caffeine boost. The longer you roast, the more caffeine you remove from the bean/seed.

As to my morning cup at Java Jive/Starbucks? I felt like I’d plunged my head inside a bag of Kingsford Charcoal briquettes and started making out with the lumps of charcoal therein. It was gross. That old overly roasted flavor that my adolescent palate loved is now the embrace of a lover I’ve grown distant from.

Who drinks Starbucks coffee? Apparently plenty people, as they’re all over Austin, a city filled with glorious mom n pop coffee shops.