A Guide To Black-Owned Coffee Shops In New Orleans
Parker Diakite

Where you purchase a cup of coffee or tea can set the tone for the rest of the day, so it’s essential to be mindful of the company you keep.  

There are hundreds of coffee shops in New Orleans, but you will always be in good company at the few Black-owned cafés where the experience is unlike any other.

“You walk in, and you know you’ll get some nice background music like a New Orleans brass band. You won’t find that in any other city,” says Jalence Isles, founder of Where Black NOLA Eats. “There are also a lot of art displays from local Black artists. In some cases, you can purchase them.” 

Isles is a New Orleans native who created the Where Black NOLA Eats platform in 2019 to increase the visibility and cash flow of Black-owned restaurants. 

“More than half of our small businesses in New Orleans are minority-owned, but they only recognize two percent of our business income,” she says.

She’s looking to change that, including for bustling coffee shops popping up around the city and their owners.

With that in mind, if you’re heading to New Orleans for the ESSENCE Festival of Culture, here is a list of Black-owned coffee shops to support during your visit.

Backatown Coffee Parlour

A Guide To Black-Owned Coffee Shops In New Orleans
Parker Diakite

Think of Backatown Coffee Parlour as a boutique that specializes in highlighting the best of the city.  

Located on New Orleans’ iconic Basin Street, husband and wife duo Alonzo and Jessica Knox created a welcoming space where curiosity from tourists and activism from the community meet. 

Backatown is the starting point for many tour groups as it’s the closest Black-owned coffee shop to the French Quarter. It’s also near one of New Orleans’ popular attractions, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, the oldest cemetery in the city.

In addition to the delicious piping hot coffees, hot chocolates, smoothies and cold brews, try the crawfish quiche, barbecue crawfish and grits, or the salmon and capers bagels if you have time for breakfast.  

Get there early if you can. The leather couches in the middle of the shop fill up quickly.

Baldwin & Co.

A Guide To Black-Owned Coffee Shops In New Orleans
Parker Diakite

Baldwin & Co. sits at the intersection of St. Claude and Elysian Fields Avenues in the vibrant Faubourg-Marigny neighborhood. One of the greatest authors and activists of our time, James Baldwin, is the inspiration behind owner DJ Johnson’s cafe. 

The menu has specialty drinks inspired by some of Baldwin’s greatest works, including Notes of a Native Son, made with espresso, milk, and honey, and If Beale Street Could Talk, made with espresso, milk, cocoa, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne.

Baldwin & Co. is also a locally-owned and independent bookstore where you can find various genres for everyone in your household. 

The shop closes at six o’clock in the evening, but the fun doesn’t stop there.  Head over across the terrace to Johnson’s other venue, the New Orleans Art Bar. It’s also a bookshop, but wine and cocktails are on the menu instead of serving espresso.

Le Vie En Rose Cafe

A Guide To Black-Owned Coffee Shops In New Orleans
Kirby Jones

La Vie En Rose is a personal love letter to the city. Founder Kirby Jones is a New Orleans native, and her family has local ties dating back more than 300 years.   

She opened the coffee shop in 2019 to bring her experience as a barista and her family’s Creole culture into one space. You will find drinks and authentic recipes passed down from generations before her on the menu.

Inspired by Louis Armstrong’s rendition of Edith Piaf’s song “Le Vie en Rose” (Life in Pink), the space is one of the most beautiful in town. It’s dressed in floral décor that’s inviting enough to make you feel right at home.

Jones makes the signature syrups herself, including the popular rose syrup on the menu. Try it in a latte or matcha lemonade. 

Park Island Brew

A Guide To Black-Owned Coffee Shops In New Orleans
Parker Diakite

Park Island Brew is located in New Orleans’ Gentilly Neighborhood, right across from the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on Gentilly Road.

Kevin Davis Sr. and Chachera Brantley run the shop, while Davis’s son, Tyran, helps manage it.   

Park Island Brew is an intimate yet inviting space that also caters to your four-legged friends with treats.

When it comes to what to order, you can’t go wrong with the frozen espresso drink or The Husslemade with honey, oat milk, and an extra shot of espresso.

There are a ton of coffee, tea, pastries, and other items on the menu if you have a sweet tooth, including ice cream.

Roots Plants + Coffee

A Guide To Black-Owned Coffee Shops In New Orleans
Parker Diakite

Roots Plants + Coffee is the only Black-owned flower shop located in the New Orleans suburb of Slidell.  

Bryisha Robertson-Lyons created Roots in 2020 after turning a passion into a full-time business. She’s a licensed real estate agent who would occasionally stage homes on the side with plants, as she’s also a licensed horticulturist. 

Word got around about her amazing work and demand skyrocketed. Word of mouth is what ultimately created the lane for her to open a brick-and-mortar known as the first Black-owned plant store and coffee shop in Slidell.

There’s no better way to enjoy a cup of coffee than with a side of plants. 

The Royal Bean Coffee

A Guide To Black-Owned Coffee Shops In New Orleans
JCAM PHOTOGRAPHY

April Eugene stepped away from her job as a district manager at the Waffle House to follow her passion for coffee. 

The Royal Bean Coffee is located in Gretna and is one of the newest in the community. Eugene says she’s always been a coffee lover as she started drinking at a young age with her grandmother. That love continued throughout college, where she found herself studying and hanging out in cafés on campus.

As she began researching to create her brand, she realized that different cultures and neighborhoods had access to higher quality coffee experiences. 

Now, she wants to be the vessel in the community to ensure that everyone, especially Black people, have access to specialty coffee and can drink like royalty.

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