BK vs. TX // Coffee Shops

Brooklyn TexasComment


It was one of those days in Houston where the rain was torrential — the kind of day no one leaves their house in unless they have to — and if they do, by the time they get to their car, it looks like they took a shower with their clothes on. Double Trouble: Caffeine and Cocktails is one of my go to Houston spots. Located in Midtown, this bar and coffee shop is nestled among a quirky strip of vintage stores and record shops that almost make you feel like you are in Austin. By the time I got to Double Trouble, I was drenched. I made a slight detour to Tacos A Go-Go, the taco shop next door, and picked up a breakfast taco (Bacon, egg, grilled onion, tomato, and cheese). I was wet and cold, but the coffee was good and my taco was delicious — totally worth it.

Drink of choice: Flat White

Snack: Bacon, egg, grilled onion, tomato, and cheese breakfast taco


1. Double Trouble is tiki themed and everything is served in a mismatched mug or teacup. It is amazing.

2. It’s a great place because you have so many options! It was 12:30 p.m. on a Tuesday and here is what people were drinking: 1 hot tea, 1 hot coffee, 1 beer, and 2 fancy cocktails.

3. There were only 5 people there, and 3 of them were working on laptops. Coffee shop culture is strong in Houston: they are usually jam packed with people, and freelancers wash over every table usually making it hard to find a spot. Maybe it was the rain, because parking is a little tricky, or because Double Trouble is also thought of as a bar, but the calmness was refreshing.  

4. They have a lot of cool Texas beer from trendy Texas breweries. I'm partial to Karbach and Buffalo Bayou.

5. Double Trouble feels decidedly Houstonian. You can tell it is proud to be a mud turtle* the front window, which is plastered with posters of Houston happenings from classics like A Fistful of Soul to cool bands playing around town.

*During the 1800's, Houston was so dirty and drunk (no paved roads or clean water) that the rest of Texas referred to Houstonians as "mud turtles". 


I wasn't planning on stopping by Toby's Estate, a charming, warm Williamsburg-based cafe, for this post, but as I was walking by I was arrested by a chalkboard sign promoting Maple Sage Lattes. I was cold, and I was planning on walking ten more blocks to City Bakery armed with an excuse to eat photograph one of their truly wonderful pretzel croissants. I should say here that no, I was not in Brooklyn, I was in Manhattan — and yes, the point of this post was an on-the-nose comparison of our favorite cafes in BROOKLYN and Texas (per our blog's theme). However, one of the perils responsibilities of living in Brooklyn is being trapped inside your apartment like Rapunzel staying home on a Saturday to wait for your knight in shining armor pest control man to show up 2 hours after he was scheduled to come, so really, nothing is more Brooklyn than not having time to go to your favorite Brooklyn coffee shop. So, on an afternoon break I was persuaded to enter Toby's second location in the Flatiron (not Brooklyn) to try a Maple Sage Latte, because it sounded like a slightly savory, soul-warming version of the Pumpkin Spice Latte latte that shall not be named. Maple, guys.* I placed my order from the man-bunned but still really friendly barista, and squeezed past a few other men with buns to peruse the flower store that shares space with Toby's (and also with a mini outpost of The Strand Bookstore). Putnam & Putnam flowers are absolutely gorgeous — there were bouquets made with tiny oranges and white anemones — and somehow they made even carnations look fancy and expensive. Looking at these beautiful things eased my mounting anxiety about just having purchased a $5 beverage likely to be made mostly of syrup. When my coffee was ready, I was pleased that it arrived in a cute cup with a hot air balloon on it, but while I usually adore Toby's coffee, this tasted about exactly how I imagine the PSL would taste if I had ever had one before because I definitely have not ever tried one. Where was the sage, guys!? It was kind of a hot chocolate with scalded milk on top. However, I did finish it before I walked the 5 blocks back to my office, making me reconsider my harsh judgment and also feel somewhat giddy, and I rode that sugar rush all the way through the end of the day.

Drink of choice: Maple Sage Latte


1. This coffee shop is a very beautiful espresso bar with old school New York charm: beautiful orb lights, mirrored walls, tin ceilings.

2.  It's also only about 10 feet wide so get ready to snuggle with strangers as you wait for your drink. Reading, working, or even attempting to sit is not advised.

3. The coffee is great but avoid drinks flavored syrups at all costs, even at cool espresso bars.

4. It’s a great place to go if you love buns, the hairstyle or the food.

5. You may overhear someone discussing Vice Media in a serious way, even though it is not in Brooklyn.