In a space scarcely larger than the average snowball stand, the friendly folks at Velvet (5637 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA) manage to make the metro area’s best coffee. Brewing coffees from boutique roasters like Stumptown and Intelligentsia, Velvet isn’t about flavored beans or an excess of sugar, nor does it function as a study hall for undergraduates. It’s all about the coffee (and the teacakes).
Velvet offers two categories of coffee drinks: the espresso family as well as several “pour-over” brewing methods. Want a cup made with a Chemex? No problem. Prefer a siphon-brewed cup? Velvet can deliver. Or opt for a true macchiato (that would be a shot of espresso “marked” with a tiny bit of steamed milk, not the bucket-sized latte drink marketed by Starbucks & other chain coffeehouses). Into milk-foam art? Velvet’s baristas deliver, adorning your cup with hearts and leaves. (Pictured at the top: a macchiato made with Stumptown’s Hairbender blend, and at right/slightly above, a cappuccino.) Tiny, two-bite, tea cakes, as compact as the shop itself, complement the coffees.
A walk-up window caters to strolling shoppers, who buzz up and down this stretch of Magazine. The blocks around the coffee bar (5800-5500) overflow with food businesses. Take your pick–the variety includes specialty cupcakes (Bee Sweet), meats (Rare Cuts), chocolates (Blue Frog), oils/vinegars/liqueurs (Vom Fass), tart frozen yogurt (Pinkberry), take-home food (Chez Nous Charcuterie), pizza (Slice), neighborhood bar (St. Joe’s), and organic groceries (Whole Foods)…and I’m sure I’m missing a few.
Velvet is open 6:30 am to 5 pm, Tuesdays through Saturdays.