10/30/2015 08:00AM ● Published by Aimee Cormier
By Amanda Jean Harris
The coffee game is strong in Acadiana. From basic and black robust local roasts to frothy pumpkin flavors, local coffee shops are serving it up in ways both tried-and-true and unexpected. Bonus: in addition to killer liquid offerings, these spots offer some serious eats both hearty and sweet.
Carpe That Diem
Perhaps one of the most beloved spots in Downtown Lafayette has quickly become Carpe Diem Gelato-Espresso Bar where coffee lovers enjoy Sylvia Bertolazzi’s take on Italian standards.
Located on the corner of Jefferson Street and Lee Avenue, the shop opened by Italian-born Bertolazzi boasts more than 300 recipes for gelato (an Italian cold dessert composed of milk rather than cream for a treat that’s lower in saturated fat, yet utterly decadent) with combos unexpected like avocado basil, along with stout espresso and super lux hot chocolate that’s worthy of a spoon. “We don’t want this to be just another coffee shop,” Bertolazzi says.
The space is so lovely that Carpe is home to live music, poetry readings and even small receptions. The coffee is served with limited options — no never-ending rows of syrup. “We are very simple. When I’m tired and wanting coffee I don’t want to make any decisions,” she says with a laugh.
Carpe is laser focused, instead, on high quality and Italian takes on the beloved drinks found in coffee shops and teahouses. “We serve affogato, which means, “to drown” and it’s gelato with two shots of espresso. It’s the perfect combination,” she says. “Our hot chocolate, Italian hot chocolate, is almost like a pudding you want to savor every bite with a spoon. It’s not as sweet and we order it directly from Italy.”
Back To Black
In the world of simple coffee, Trey Ware is also making waves in downtown Lafayette at Black Café on South Pierce Street. The business, named for his favorite version of coffee, is best understood when Ware explains how he spent more than six years working at a sandwich shop as well as more than six years working at a coffee shop.
The result of his experience is a full service offering of espresso with a kitchen that doesn’t skimp from salads and beignets to hearty sandwiches and the beloved novelty — scotch eggs.
A scotch egg is an egg (of course) hardboiled and surrounded by one of the following and then fried: hash browns, shredded chicken, fresh pork sausage. “We put our own spin on it,” Ware says. “We are one of the only close coffee shops off the interstate and people will come in just for the scotch egg after seeing it on Urban Spoon or another website.” At Black Café, you’ll also find made from scratch sweet potato biscuits, banana bread and cheesecake. They serve either Rêve coffee or Louisiana Roasting Company.
Rêve It Up
The newly opened Rêve Coffee Roasters in downtown Lafayette is taking the beloved local wholesale brand to new heights with a dedication to both the old and new with a base of beans that are roasted in a micro-roaster in Acadiana and served both rich and black as well as in sweet, cold coffees.
Rêve does super fresh pumpkin spice with scones and house made pumpkin spice syrup. If you want the rev of Rêve at home, for just $30 they sell 32 ounces of sweet, sweet iced coffee concentrate in an uber cool growler with the roasters’ logo. The jug can be refilled for $25.
The new location is bringing more than unique breakfast eats (southwest burritos, hearty oatmeal with an almond milk option or a tornado of savory standards like sausage and eggs crammed in a bread cone and topped with orange maple glaze). They’re also serving a hearty lunch of sandwiches and flat breads as well as dinner.
Chemist Of Coffee
For the creative coffee lover, The Lab Handcrafted Coffee & Comforts in River Ranch has no shortage of bites and sips no matter your taste. Known for their method of pour over coffee done made-to-order in front of you, The Lab has an artisan vibe that’s unmistakable with beautifully done cold creams (a hybrid between gelato and ice cream), affogato, bacon belly and boudin mini bombs, gluten free zucchini bread, pastries and cinnamon rolls.
On any given Saturday, the creative crew could be hosting a cartoon-watching party or other special event with menu to match — special breakfast eats like the rare espresso roll waffle or a Fruit Loops-based cold cream.
Java The Hut
For some creative sweets, the kitchen at Johnston Street Java has surprises like chocolate covered pumpkin spice Oreos. The coffee shop also serves muffins, cupcakes, sandwiches and fruit bowls. The latest offering in the department of decadence are little chocolate-filled croissants that are even more delicious when warmed. Johnston Street also serves cool smoothies like a mango white chocolate perfect for the little ones who may not enjoy coffee.
In Abbeville, the coffee game is as strong as the blend at Classic Cup where they serve classic coffees as well as flavored concoctions along with breakfast and lunch, ice cream and salads. They offer the fall’s beloved flavor — pumpkin pie — with a lovely candy corn on top. The usual finds of lattes with swirls of mocha and caramel are on the menu along with the newest offering — blueberry biscuits.
The Chain Gang
While the local spots are offering unique finds and a personalized ambiance, plenty of Acadiana folks are devoted to chains like Starbucks and the far more local CC’s. Coffee fiends like Stephanie Theriot are loath to miss a morning at the local drive-thru. “I love CC’s,” Theriot says. “They know me and take care of me. They even know me by voice or order in the drive thru!”
For the gal on the go, Lindsey Arredondo, who runs on coffee 24/7, a drive through quick option like Starbucks or CC’s makes life easy. “Coffee is coffee, you either now how to make it or you don’t. CC’s and Starbucks are both great in my opinion. I like that if I’m on the road I can find a Starbucks just about anywhere,” Arredondo says. “I also like that CC’s is more local. Both companies make great coffee.”