New Orleans is famous for many things - music, food, spices, architecture, culture, and so much more. However, one thing that often escapes notice is actually one of the things New Orleans is most famous for, but in a very quiet way. Coffee is in the top three imports for the port of New Orleans, and the port of New Orleans is the top import location for coffee in the United States. In fact, so much coffee is imported into New Orleans that it constitutes 25% of all the coffee imported into the United States. That's right, one out of every four cups of coffee in the U.S. started in New Orleans, and many were likely roasted right here in New Orleans as well. In fact, we guarantee that if you're a coffee drinker, you've had a cup of coffee roasted in New Orleans, even if you've never been to the city. Though many locals don't think about it often, we take our coffee seriously and the bar of excellence is very high. There are so many fantastic local chains that most locals don't frequent the national brands...there are just too many great choices here in New Orleans!
While the enormous Folgers roastery in New Orleans east will make your mouth water even when driving past on the interstate, New Orleans also hosts a plethora of local roasters as well, including some of the oldest and most famous in the world. Here is our rundown.
Café Du Monde
Certainly the oldest coffee shop in the United States, Cafe Du Monde quite literally brought the concept to the States. What started in New Orleans' French Market remains there to this day. After more than a century making their famous coffee and beignets (a type of French donut), it's safe to say that Café Du Monde knows a thing or two about coffee. They are famous for their coffee with chicory, which is a local tradition dating back to the Civil War and furthered during the Great Depression. Chicory root was mixed and roasted with the beans, giving a mild smooth flavor to the coffee, and stretching the limited coffee supply during the hard times. However, the flavor combination is so good that it is still wildly popular today, especially here in the New Orleans region. Café Du Monde is also famous for their cafe au lait, which is a cup of dark roast or coffee with chicory with a quarter of the cup replaced with steamed milk.
You can find the flagship Café Du Monde in the French Market across from Jackson Square, as well as several other locations around the city, including the popular City Park location. You can also pick up their beans at any of their gift shops (and many other gift shops across the city), and at almost any local grocer. Many stores nationwide also carry the famous Cafe Du Monde cans, so even if you're not in New Orleans you can still have a taste of our famous coffees.
As one of the areas most popular roasters, PJ's boasts a large number of locations across the city and regionally. They offer a wide variety of roasts and drinks, and their master roasters keep the batches relatively small at 300lbs or less. PJ's is probably the easiest way to try New Orleans local coffe, as their locations are so prolific across the city. Every neighborhood in the city has a PJ's not too far away. Their frozen granitas are always a tasty treat during the hot summer months, and you can purchase bags of their roasts from any of their locations.
CC's Coffee House
CC's is now a regional chain, and is now headquartered in Baton Rouge, but the first location is still right where it was on Magazine Street. CC's is probably the most familiar-feeling to anyone used to large national chain coffee shops, as their shops and offerings are patterned after many of the larger chain stores. However, you'll find New Orleans favorites like coffee with chicory and New Orleans dark roast on the menu and for sale to take home. You'll find CC's coffee house's scattered throughout the city and region, making them fairly accessible and familiar to visitors and locals alike.
French Truck Coffee
French Truck Coffee is another iconic local brand, with a unique twist...antique French vehicles turned into coffee trucks. This high quality roasting company has several brick and mortar stores across the city and nationally, aside from the cool antique trucks. They roast very small batches using only fresh beans, meaning their coffee is high quality and delicious. This local concept is a fun way to try local roast, and generally within an easy walk if you're staying in the CBD.
Mojo Coffee Roasters
This high quality local roastery offers two storefront locations, and maintains excellent roasting standards in their roastery on Tchoupitoulas Street. Their beans also show up in a plethora of coffee shops, restaurants, and cafes around the city. We recommend trying their brews from their excellent baristas in their own storefronts on Magazine Street or Freret Street, or the excellent Rue De La Course on Oak Street.
Orleans coffee is another quality roaster in New Orleans, but focused more on their wholesale roasts than on storefronts. Their espresso bar on Prytania Street is the only location where you can try their roasts and teas. Their coffee and chicory is excellent, and their baristas are highly-trained and skilled, making the experience excellent from start to end.
Congregation Coffee Roasters
Historic Algiers Point is host to this local roastery. The Algiers Roastery & Cafe offers brews utilizing their own roasts, and the rest of the beans are roasted for wholesale and show up at grocers, restaurants, and coffee shops around the area. The cafe offers a variety of popus and brunches on a regular schedule, Thursdays through Sundays. The easiest way to visit Congregation is to take the Algiers Point ferry from the base of Canal Street in the French Quarter to Algiers Point.
Cherry Coffee Roasters
You can try Cherry Coffee at the Cherry Espresso Bar Uptown, not far from Rouses' or Hansen's. This wholesale roaster gives homage and skill to the cherry that forms the coffee "bean" - and they give careful control over each step of the process from cherry to the final roasted bean. As with several of the roasteries on this list, their main focus is on their wholesale beans, and they offer a variety of wholesale options, as well as equipment for restaurants and coffee shops.
French Market Coffee
French Market Coffee does not have any coffee shops around the city. However, it is easy enough to get your hands on a can or bag of their roast, as this is a national brand. You'll find French Market in grocery aisles across the country and of course in any local grocery, WalMart, and even many gift shops. They have been roasting beans since 1890, and offer the local favorite coffee and chicory, as well as a variety of dark roasts, creole blends, and a wide variety of other roasts. You'll find K-Cup varieties as well, as this is one of the city's larger and more well-known roasters.
This roastery needs no introduction whatsoever. If you've ever had coffee at just about any cafe across the United States, you've had Folgers coffee. Everyone knows their jingle, and the brand is iconic. If you drive I10 coming from or heading east, you'll see (and smell) this enormous roastery from your car, and probably start wanting a cup of coffee! Folgers has been roasting beans since 1854, so it is no surprise that they're a household name in the United States and internationally.