Where is the Best Coffee Shop in Birmingham?

An investigative report on which coffee shops are best to study or just chill in

I have taken coffee shops for granted up until this point in my life. As a college student, coffee shops are the best places to study and hangout with your friends. Luckily for me I go to school in an area where there are a lot of coffee shops. Here is a list of the top coffee shops in Birmingham. They are rated based on coffee and food quality, location, and ambiance.

6. Revelator Coffee
Located: 1826 3rd Avenue North, Unit 101 Birmingham, AL 35203

Photo via

Photo via

I feel like too much of an adult in here. This coffee shop is the mecca for people who think that they are too cool for Octane; they are probably looking to start a farm to table delivery service, so this is where they decide to meet. Plus, the last time I went they did not serve a chai tea latte, and it hurt my feelings.

5. Seeds Coffee Co.
Located: 174 Oxmoor Rd, Birmingham, AL 35209

Alright so, the first time I ever heard of Seeds Coffee Co. was at Pepper Place Market this past October. They had a small stand, and I ordered a chai tea latte - it was alright. But I did buy a sticker to put on my laptop because aesthetic. This past January, my best friends and I went to their actual shop to get some work done for school. I ordered a caramel latte with almond milk, but I do not know if I actually enjoyed it. I was far too distracted by the latte art.

The shop itself is pretty big; there are various mismatched tables scattered throughout. There is a large range of patrons there, from college kids to real life adults to parents with their young children. Unfortunately, when I was last at Seeds, there were far too many unruly children that distracted me from my work. Even though I personally am not a huge fan of Seeds, Clare Mills, a fellow Birmingham-Southern College student loves it. “Seeds is even more simplistic in their approach and target market; customers at Seeds expect well made coffee, fast internet, and a quiet, quirky place to work,” said Mills. Maybe I should give it another chance, but I would much rather spend my studying time elsewhere.

4. Octane Coffee
Located: Homewood: 2821 Central Av Ste 105 Homewood, AL 35209
               Uptown: 2221 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd N 320Birmingham, AL 35203

Octane is a pretty cool place. Their coffee is out of this world, but their food and ambiance is just alright. It is not meant for studying purposes, but for hanging out with friends. “The Uptown location is my favorite. The atmosphere is great, the coffee is delicious, the people that work there are so kind. I tend to judge coffee shops by how long I can sit in one without feeling like I should leave, and I feel like I can waste an entire day sitting in the Uptown Octane. They also have the habit of playing really great music at a volume that isn't too soft or too loud” said Liz Dial, a college student. Apparently, this is a popular opinion. “For studying, no. Hanging out, it's fine. The beverage selection isn't awesome, the chairs aren't comfy, and it's usually loud but I like to meet people there occasionally”, said Mary Nix Robertson a college junior.

What really draws me in to Octane is that they sell We Have Donuts, and that is great.

Photo via Alyson Maye

Photo via Alyson Maye

 3. Urban Standard
Located: 2320 2nd Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203

Urban Standard has grits with Conecuh sausage and that is really all that matters. But besides having amazing grits, I find that it is a great place for college kids to study. They have an endless menu, plus their chai tea latte is amazing. But not all agree with me. “Urban Standard has yet to find its identity; Urban Standard attempts to be a coffee shop, quiet study hole, family restaurant, and hipster hangout scene all at the same time. Whenever I go to Urban Standard, although their grilled cheese is fantastic, I am never happy with my experience and blame [it on] their undecided atmosphere," said Clare Mills.

2. Red Cat
Located: Railroad Park: 1701 1st Ave S Birmingham, AL 35233
               Pepper Place: 2901 2nd Ave S. Birmingham, AL 35233

Red Cat is one of the quirkiest places that I have ever been to. They have an extensive menu of quirky drinks and food choices. Red Cat has never disappointed me. My favorite thing to get is the Gouda Grits with bacon and a Chai Tea Latte. But it is not really a place to go study, it's more of a “lets hangout with friends and talk about life” kind of place.

1. Church Street Coffee & Books
Located: 81 Church St, Mountain Brook, AL 35213

Photo via Alyson Maye

Photo via Alyson Maye

I am incredibly passionate about Church Street. They have the best cookies in the entire world, the Break-Up Cookie. They taste like if God baked cookies in heaven and then sent them to this earth. They use Octane coffee for their drinks, so it is very cool that they are supporting fellow local businesses. Plus, it is an amazing place to study or hangout with friends, “Church Street is a really great place for good coffee, excellent pastries, and has the option of either sitting upstairs to do work or sit downstairs to do work or socialize," said Mills. 

Feature photo via