Coffee… the most important meal of the day. It’s the driving force behind me getting out of the house and being a productive member of the household vs struggling to leave the couch until the dinner delivery guy rings the doorbell with a hot pizza. It helps lazy people like me appear somewhat motivated. I spent my time living here going to as many coffee shops in Tampa as possible, finding which ones I liked the best.
I have two main takeaways: Coffee shops are great, but a combined coffee shop & brewery is even better. And second, Tampa is a legit city for coffee. In fact, it has been rated as one of the top cities in the United States for coffee (it’s no surprise that Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland generally appear the top). Maybe it’s the Cuban and Spanish influence, but the fact that many of the shops began by roasting their own beans shows they care about the quality of the coffee.
Here are some of the best local coffee shops in Tampa.
If you love the vibe of sitting in an old gas station turned brewery and coffee shop, then King State is for you. It was opened by two teenage friends, turned bandmates, turned brothers in law, turned business partners. But unlike my family at Thanksgiving, it feels like its run by a family that gets along.
They roast their own coffee beans and brew the beer over in St Pete, which have both achieved a good reputation (a couple years ago Food & Wine had named it one of the best coffee shops in the country. Start with a coffee, then move to the spiced mango sour beer and finally working your way up to the very cleverly named “IPA”, which get this… is an IPA.
It has great music playing, that I’m not cool enough to recognize. But if you moved here from Brooklyn, then this will undoubtedly become your favorite coffee shop in Tampa. But even if you didn’t, you’ll still love it. The only downside (for someone who wants to work while they drink anyway) is that there is no WiFi. I recommend you hang out here anyway and just take the day off.
Best for: Their own roasted beans, breakfast sandwich, hip atmosphere
DI Coffee Bar
There are a couple great things about DI Coffee, other than the fact that its the only coffee shop on Davis Islands. First, they are also a wine shop and have a broad selection of wines by the glass (or even half glass if you want to try several). And second, they serve Panther coffee, a very well-respected roaster out of Maimi that specializes in small batch roasting
I’ve been to places where the staff is young and seems to be more interested in having fun than working, BUT the staff here has found a way to do both. Try a $4 breakfast burrito or one of their other sandwiches.
Best for: wine, it’s THE coffee shop on Davis Islands
Ginger Beard Coffee & Magnanimous Coffee
Both locations are conveniently located within local breweries. Research has shown that people who like beer also like coffee (I actually don’t know if this research has been done, but c’mon, this must be true). They have partnered with the Pour House in Channelside and Magnanimous Brewing in Tampa Heights to offer coffee each morning. They are known for their cold nitro brew, which they serve even after the coffee stands close and people have moved onto the beer portion of their day. Both locations have great WiFi and are places I work remotely from on a regular basis. You can find it on my post about best places to work as a digital nomad here. If you are new to Tampa or just up to chat, both spots are also the best to meet people as the customers and staff all know each other and so it’s a fun hangout. Its also dig friendly, so feel free to bring your four-legged best friend.
Best for: Cold nitro brew, afternoon beer, coworking, meeting people
The Lab Coffee
Originally started as Zeal Coffee Roasters, they decided to open an attached coffee shop named The Lab Coffee. Their roastery has become so reputable in the area, that they now supply beans to several other coffee shops.
Best for: Perhaps the best roasted beans in the area
Lady & The Mug
This is probably the most instagrammable shop in the area. Owner Aimee Tarte knew she wanted to open a specialty coffee shop, so she moved to Portland, Oregon to enroll in “coffee school” and learn everything she could. When Tom Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020, the lifelong Patriots fan followed him to town to open her coffee shop here. They usually have a “drink of the month”, which has been awesome each month I’ve tried so far. These have included a wild rose latte with flavors of rose and pistachios, a peppermint mocha, and a coquito (sometimes known as Puerto Rican eggnog). They even have a small private room if you need to do some work or study with others.
S0Ho, Ybor City, Seminole Heights,
With several locations throughout Tampa, there several options to choose from. Try their signature “Dirty Thai-ger”, which is an iced blend of Thai tea, sweetened condensed milk, and topped with cinnamon. They also have a public printer, which has come in handy several times.
The original location downtown is a little smaller and serves mostly coffee and small pastries. But the newer location on W Kennedy Blvd on the edge of Hyde Park is over 1800 square feet and dubbed The Mothership. This is where they roast the coffee beans and it also has a kitchen for homemade breakfast, lunch, and pastries. It’s also the only one on this list that has a drive thru. Try the orange cold brew!
Best for: Coworking, food, drive-thru, orange cold brew
Spaddy’s started as a mobile coffee bar, until they found an empty lot beside the famed Faedo’s Family Bakery in Seminole Heights and decided to permanently park the trailer and build a courtyard around it. The have limited breakfast options, but usually do have a breakfast burrito. Make sure to stop in at Faedo’s next door for Cuban bread and baked goods. Spaddy’s has now opened a brick and mortar location in South Tampa.
If you are the type of person who likes to enjoy your coffee with wild roosters walking around beneath your table while singing out “cock-a-doodle-doo” then I have great news, Foundation Coffee is the spot for you! The wild roosters and hens are protected here in Ybor City, and have lived in the area for over 100 years as early immigrants housed them as a food source. But they are an addition to the great coffee. Just make sure to take those Zoom calls inside unless you’re ready to explain the rooster sounds to your boss.
Jet City Espresso
This is truly a hidden gem, in every sense. It’s located in a beautiful historic house in the Hyde Park neighborhood, and you could easily walk by it without noticing. But if you do find it, You’ll be treated to a great menu. Sure, they have café con leche (It’s Tampa after all), and all the normal coffee drinks. But they also have specialty drinks like the Mocha de Mint, Milky Way, and Almond Joy. And their signature drink is the Café Borgia, with espresso, local honey, orange blossom, and moo organic milk with nutmeg and zest
The shop itself is small, but you can hang out on the porch or at the tables in the front yard, which gathers a friendly crowd on weekends. The food menu is small but made fresh to order. The avocado toast is one of the best in town (my girlfriend is an aficionado, and she says so!)
The owner Jessica is a bluegrass and Irish folk musician, and you can easily get caught up talking about music with her for 20 minutes.
Best for: ambiance, specialty flavored coffee drinks, dog friendly
Up in Temple Terrace lies Felicitous Coffee & Tea House, a coffee shop with an artistic flair. The small cottage contains both a coffee shop and boutique. And it showcases art from local artists and hosts live music outside. They have created what they call “a beacon for musicians, artists and the community.”
In addition to roasting their own coffee beans for such fun espresso drinks as the campfire mocha (served with toasted marshmallows) and all the normal coffee drinks, they also have an array of pastries. This could be the most fun coffee shops in Tampa. They have a second location on 42nd St.
Willa’s Provisions is a café tucked inside their main restaurant, Willa’s. They serve the locally roasted King State Coffee (find them also on this list). The breakfast sandwiches and egg tacos are premade, and only available until they run out. So don’t get there too late. They allow you to sit in the main restaurants area during the day, so there is plenty of space to sit and work for a while.
Best for: Quick breakfast, coworking
This unique boutique in Seminole Heights combines a coffee shop with the shop next door. Order your coffee at the coffee bar in The Goods, and then browse everything from candles to skin and body care products in Cleanse Apothecary. I can’t list everything they have here, but I guarantee you’ll find something other than just coffee to spend your money on.
With 7 locations at the time of writing this, Buddy Brew is the most established coffee shop in Tampa. It began when husband and wife team, Dave and Susan, roasted coffee beans and gave them to friends. After encouragement, they opened their first shop in Hyde Park and named it after their dog. Their selection of pastries, breakfast items, and lunch sandwiches makes it one of the better coffee shops for food. This is consistently rated as the areas best coffee shop by Tampa residents.
Best for: several locations, food
Grassroots Kava House
Grassroots has a focus on kava, which is a plant found in the Pacific Islands. The root is then made into a drink with sedative and anesthetic properties and is said to create a state of euphoria. It basically sounds like a drug that is legal. But they also serve coffee if you aren’t feeling adventurous.
Best for: Kava, kombucha, coworking, open late