While people are shelling out bucks for “New Orleans-style iced coffee” in other parts of the country, you can get the real deal right here. Iced coffee addicts know that a good cold brew isn’t just coffee with a couple iced cubes thrown in: creating good iced coffee involves a specific process. Some use the cold brew method of steeping coffee grounds in water for several hours and then straining the mixture, and there is also the Japanese pour-over method. These methods temper the bitterness of the coffee, leaving behind a smooth concoction that’s refreshing and packs quite a buzz.
Local chains PJ’s and CC’s are stalwarts for local iced coffee, and of course Café du Monde is the original purveyor of iced café au lait with chicory. But in the past few years, New Orleans has seen a wave of coffee counters that resemble science labs and baristas who are more like sommeliers – and they take iced coffee seriously. Whether you’re into the traditional style or want to get a bit more adventurous, here are our favorite places for a cold brew in the New Orleans.
Top 9 Places to Get Iced Coffee in New Orleans
This café on the corner of Sophie Wright Place and St. Mary Street feels like being inside a hip boat, and here you can find plenty vegan and vegetarian options, excellent muffins and house-made sodas. Iced coffee options include a cold brew from grinds steeped for 12 hours, or one made from the Japanese Oji drip tower you can see in the front of the cafe (it’s the thing that looks like a science experiment from the 1800s).
Brew here means coffee and not booze, but the Lower Garden District sweets-and-sliders shop’s Nitro cold brew – a rich concoction with a foamy head – is reminiscent of Guinness beer. There’s also the regular cold brew that you can buy in 64-ounce growlers if you want to have District’s brew at home.
The only problem with iced coffee is that eventually the ice melts and the coffee gets watered down. Hey Café, the Uptown coffee shop with a punk-rock, DIY vibe, has solved this problem by making ice cubes out of iced coffee. The iced cubes cost a little extra but are worth it.
You might walk past it on your way to the sandwich counter at Stein’s Market & Deli if you didn’t know it was there, but the tiny pop-up Cherry Coffee run by longtime barista Lauren Fink has some seriously good iced coffee made from small U.S. roasters. Iced coffee and one of Stein’s bagels will start your day off right.
At this hip Bywater spot that also has Japanese mochi ice cream and bright Mid-Century Modern furniture, you can get a Vietnamese ca phe sua da, a super-strong iced coffee with condensed milk (this is also available at most Vietnamese restaurants in New Orleans).
This tiny French Quarter espresso bar has a secret menu, and it also uses an Oji drip for iced versions of its coffee from artisan roasters. It’s a perfect walking beverage for a day in the French Quarter.
This Magazine Street bakery selling house-made bread, sweet and savory pastries and a delicious brunch serves cold-brew iced coffee with chicory that they brew overnight. The cafe also has a deal going right now that includes an iced coffee and a breakfast burrito for $5, Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
At first glance, this CBD corner cafe where you can also make copies just seems like an unassuming spot for an afternoon coffee break. But stick around a little longer and realize that it’s serving up some serious iced coffee that has garnered a cult following of sorts among CBD workers.
This bakery and casual eatery in the Woodward Design + Build offices in Mid-City excels at just about everything: bread, pastries, lunch items like sandwiches, soups and salads; hybrid pastries like the “cruffin”; and also excellent cold-drip coffee.
For iced coffee at home, besides District’s growlers you can also find bottles of local roaster French Truck’s iced coffee at Hollygrove Market and Farm and via Good Eggs, and the New Orleans-made iced coffee concentrates CoolBrew and N.O. Brew at local grocery stores.