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 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 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 totally worth it.
Cherry Espresso Bar
This delightful shop started off as a tiny pop-up inside of Stein’s Market & Deli. Run by longtime barista Lauren Fink, Cherry Espresso has some seriously good iced coffee made from small U.S. roasters. Now you can find two full blown shops – one Uptown on Laurel Street and one in the Lower Garden District on Magazine Street.
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 (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.
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.
Gracious Bakery + Cafe
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 excellent cold-drip coffee.
We would be remiss if we didn’t include French Truck Coffee on this list. French Truck’s New Orleans Style Iced Coffee with fine crushed ice is one of our favorite spots to snag a cold brew in the city. With multiple locations from the French Quarter all the way Uptown, there’s plenty of room in their airy and bright shops to cozy up in a corner with your cold brew.
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 New Orleans-made iced coffee concentrates CoolBrew and N.O. Brew at local grocery stores including Rouse’s.