Located on the north side of the Heights neighborhood, Slowpokes is one of the first craft coffee shops to take advantage of the area’s growth. With lots of space, high-tech equipment, and a consciously quirky personality, I think Slowpokes is going to be a favorite for a lot of people.
While Slowpokes has a lineup of coffee equipment from the future, the end product for the everyday customer is about the same as most other local coffee shops. The Poursteady and Steampunk are beautiful automated machines that definitely carry a wow factor, but their contributions are mostly aesthetic as the beverage quality is pretty much on par with traditional methods. The menu here is also standard for the industry; there isn’t anything particularly adventurous or interesting which I find a bit disappointing in a place with so much character.
Atmosphere is where Slowpokes shines. Everything from the branding to the color selection to the decor is on point. The little touches such as the constant use of the teal color and the custom art pieces really bring everything together. There is a blend of clutter and openness that gives this place a personality while still maintaining a clean and productive work space. One of my biggest gripes with the modern minimalist decor movement is how sterile the shops often feel. Slowpokes does a great job of making the place feel both clean and cozy at the same time. Inside there are ample seating choices with options at large communal tables, little nooks for small groups, and bar seating for people working alone. There is nearly double the amount of seating outside as well for the days where the Houston weather is tolerable.
There are a couple minor things that hold Slowpokes back from a perfect score right now. As I mentioned in the Coffee section, the menu lacks anything unique and creative. In a space that breathes personality I don’t want to see a copy and paste coffee menu. I want to see that personality continue to express itself. Additionally, the area around Slowpokes still feels undeveloped. There are a collection of neat spots a short drive away, but there is yet to be a cohesive neighborhood of awesome things in close proximity like I’ve seen with G&B, Amavida, Retrospect, and others.
A perfect staff score is rare in my book. I often hesitate to give one because staff interactions change so much day to day, but I have been to Slowpokes several times now and the quality of service has been phenomenal every time. There is a level of attention and care that makes you feel welcomed without it being overbearing and off-putting (Looking at you Brown Coffee). The baristas here seem to genuinely like each other and their job. I’ve talked with several of them about their equipment and have been impressed that many know more than me about the coffee scene on the north side.
If it were closer to my house, Slowpokes would be a clear winner for my favorite shop in Houston at the moment. They do an amazing job of making you feel at home while you’re there which is essential for a coffee shop to become a local staple. I’m excited to see this place do well and can’t say enough good things about it. As you can pick up from my other reviews, I’m against this prissy, elitist, professionalist trend that is popping up in the coffee world and I’m more than happy to support shops that take a stand against that. Slowpokes is a place that makes awesome coffee accessible to everyone in a way that is exciting and encourages people to get involved more.