Humans have been getting their daily coffee fix for longer than most people realize. This year the oldest-operating coffeehouse in the world, Caffè Florian in Venice, is celebrating its 300th anniversary, and even Starbucks will turn 50 in 2021.

When H-town’s first Starbucks opened its doors in 1994 in Highland Village, coffeeshops were around. After all, the Yale Street Grill had been serving up cups of Joe with scrambled eggs since 1923,  you could always snag a coffee to go with your danish from Three Brothers Bakery, and Café Artiste had been packed with people ordering up pour-overs and paging through the books on the (now departed) Montrose joint’s shelves since it opened in the early 1990s. But Houstonians weren’t necessarily immersed in the wider world of coffee consumption, in the latte, the espresso, and the other then-exotic iterations. The Seattle-based coffee chain changed that, of course—we now have roughly 300 area locations and many of us do love those $5 tall, skinny PSL lattes. But there’s a lot more to coffee than that. Nearly every culture has its own approach to how it uses those beans, and the results are distinctive and delicious.

Since Houston attracts people from all over the globe, many coffee traditions can be found—and sampled—right here via the mix of small, independent coffee shops, mom-and-pop eateries, and posh cafés that serve our city’s large immigrant populations. Even if you’ve never heard of caffè Marocchino or sampled a Vietnamese egg coffee as of this moment, don’t despair. There’s still time to expand your caffeinated horizons with the help of this guide highlighting 12 distinct takes on coffee, drawn from cultures around the world, and all on offer right here in the Bayou City.

Just be sure to pace yourself. A little caffeine can go a very long way.

In This Feature:

Here's Where to Order a Flat White in Houston

The Down Under drink started making the rounds in Australia and New Zealand back in the 1980s before one famous coffee company brought it to the attention of many Americans in 2015.

03/02/2021 By Paul Galvani

Did Café Viennois Actually Come from Austria?

Try the delectable combo of espresso and whipped cream at this local French coffee shop.

03/03/2021 By Paul Galvani

Café Cubano Might Be the Strongest Cup of Coffee You'll Ever Drink

Order this drink, and the folks at Azucar Cuban Bakery will ask if you're sure.

02/26/2021 By Timothy Malcolm

Experience Ethiopia's Centuries-old Coffee Ceremony at Blue Nile

The East African country purportedly discovered coffee around the ninth century.

02/26/2021 By Timothy Malcolm

Need Instant Coffee? Try a Frappe

The whipped Greek drink was first made by accident.

02/25/2021 By Timothy Malcolm

Order South Indian Java at All Bengal Sweets & Coffee House

India might be the world's second-largest tea producer, but you should try a cup of Kumbakonam Degree.

03/01/2021 By Paul Galvani

A Brief History of Irish Coffee

There’s an art to making the perfect caife Gaelach.

02/25/2021 By Paul Galvani

Yes, Caffè Marocchino Is Named after a Fedora

Despite its moniker, the Italian coffee drink has nothing to do with Morocco.

03/01/2021 By Paul Galvani

Café de Olla Pair Perfectly with Pan Dulce

Order this coffee drink, which has its roots in the Mexican Revolution, at La Guadalupana.

02/25/2021 By Paul Galvani

It's Time to Try This Thai Coffee

There’re coffee beans in this drink, but you might also find cardamom seeds, corn, or even soybeans in the mix.

03/03/2021 By Timothy Malcolm

Grab a Classic Cup of Joe at a Classic Houston Diner

Tel-Wink Grill has been a local institution since 1940.

03/04/2021 By Paul Galvani

Get Vietnamese Egg Coffee at TeaFix

Cà phê trứng is made with coffee, condensed milk, and egg yolk.

03/02/2021 By Paul Galvani