Boomtown Coffee


242 W. 19th Street
Houston, Texas 77008

(Update June, 2017: Major Atmosphere points lost)

IMG_6515Houston has an awesome coffee scene with several power players in the roasting business, Boomtown being one of them.  Set in the heart of the Heights, Boomtown is a staple of this eccentric, artsy, and creative Houston neighborhood.  Alongside the standard coffee fare, Boomtown isn’t afraid to experiment with their cocktail inspired iced offerings.

Coffee: 10/10

A solid in-house roasting program provides Boomtown with the best when it comes to their espresso and their slow bar options.  What gives Boomtown top marks is their selection of specialty drinks (with a Pulp Fiction reference that doesn’t hurt.)  My top picks are the Undertow shooters and the Shakarato.

Atmosphere: 6/10

A cool space in a cool neighborhood, Boomtown gets the coffee shop feel right is a typical coffee shop.  Calm enough to be focusing but carries a level of activity that won’t put you to sleep.  Dim lighting and narrow walls give this place a intimate air that almost feels more like a dive bar than a coffee shop but the open spacing and wide walkways prevent it from getting cramped.  Only downside here is the cigar store next door doesn’t do much to contain its smell.

Unfortunately, Boomtown has undergone a substantial renovation.  Gone is the dive bar atmosphere; it has been replaced with white washed walls and Ikea tables.  I’m disappointed by this change, I feel the new space lacks character and is a step in the direction of aesthetic uniformity among coffee shops.  The new layout attempts to use architecture to influence customer experience but it’s far too heavy handed in its application.  The flow from door to counter is claustrophobic and the seating area is divided in way reminiscent of a fast food establishment.  It feels as if they took an interior design undergrad and payed them $50 for a sketch.  There are great core concepts, but they lack the finesse of an experienced designer.

Staff: 7/10

Not much to say here, they’re trained well and friendly but there wasn’t much in my interactions to set them apart, good or bad, from most of the baristas in other shops I’ve been to.

Overall: 7.8/10

Boomtown is was one of my favorites and is good enough to make my Best of 2015 list.  Boomtown provides some much needed diversity to the Houston coffee scene by not being afraid to try new things and break away from the typical menu.


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