What are the best coffee shops in Tampa? If you haven’t kept up recently, you may not know: Tampa has exploded with food, culture, and especially great craft coffee! Tampa, or Tampa Bay (Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater) has seen unprecedented growth in the last 5 years. Every few months a new trendy hip coffee shop opens up, many serving up house roasted beans while others bring in the best roasts from around the country. There’s something for everyone too: from the coffee connoisseur to the novice coffee drinker just looking to break away from big chains and stale java. Let’s break down the best spots! Here are the dozen best coffee shops (in no particular order) in Tampa — and why you should give them a shot too!
1. Paradeco Coffee Roasters – St. Petersburg
Paradeco is the best coffee shop in Tampa to take a selfie.
First up on our list of the best coffee shops in Tampa is one of the newest coffee shops in the area: Paradeco (a portmanteau of “paradise” and “art deco”). Founders Tom Maloney and Sonya Sarkar launched Paradeco in Downtown St. Pete in May of 2021. Beautiful doesn’t begin to describe this shop. With a design language that incorportates vintage Florida (pastels and palm trees), Italian influences (rounded corners and brass accents), and a live plant wall, Paradeco is the most Instagram-worthy shop in Tampa Bay. Not only that, but Paradeco has some of the best equipment around including a Bellwether state-of-the-art indoor smokeless coffee roaster, a La Marzocco KB-90 espresso machine (with a custom paint job), Ground Control brewer, and Pour Steady automatic triple pour over system. All that and the cold brew is worth the trip from just about any distance.
2. Buddy Brew – Tampa, Sarasota, Oxford Exchange
Buddy Brew is the best coffee shop in Tampa for meeting the locals.
No mention of the best coffee shops in Tampa would be complete without Buddy Brew. Buddy Brew is one of the oldest local coffee roasters in Tampa still going strong. In addition to their expansive original location (which has grown over the years as they’ve grabbed neighboring real estate), Buddy Brew now has a spot in near-by downtown Sarasota and at the hip Oxford Exchange — a popular Tampa spot for food, conversation, and shopping. If you go you have to try the “Buddy Brew Screw”: a shot of espresso served with grapefruit juice and a spoonful of salt. Take it like a shot (first salt, then espresso, and finally the juice) and you’ll find it extends your caffeine buzz out all day long!
3. Craft Kafe – St. Petersburg
Craft Kafe is the best coffee shop in Tampa to bring a friend when they visit Tampa Bay.
No list of the best coffee shops in Tampa would be complete without hitting the Sunshine City: St. Petersburg’s Craft Kafe. Craft Kafe is the shop I’m most likely to bring an out-of-town friend to. It’s got a cool rustic vibe with found wood furniture and dramatic lighting. Craft Kafe features a 100% gluten-free bakery, but you wouldn’t know it if they didn’t tell you (seriously, it’s the best!) Add to that an incredibly knowledgeable staff, top coffee from the best roasters around the country (including Arkansas based Onyx Coffee Lab) and regular latte art throw-down barista competitions and you’ve got a shop every die-hard coffee fan will want to visit as well as anyone who wants the a really great gluten-free muffin. The proof is in the pudding: Craft Kafe is usually very busy so they’ve just opened up a second location on the other end of town.
4. Intermezzo Coffee & Cocktails – St. Petersburg
Intermezzo is the best coffee shop in Tampa for a date.
Staying in the St. Pete our next Tampa Bay area cafe making the list is Intermezzo Coffee & Cocktails. Intermezzo (Italian for “intermission”) serves up a rotating stock of the best coffee roasters in the country (including Verve and Kuma) as well as a full cocktail bar and creative espresso-based mock-tails like the “Espresso Mint Julep” (a play on a bourbon Mint Julep with espresso substituting for the booze.) Intermezzo is pretty. I mean, it’s basically Instagram-heaven. Very clean white walls with tasteful appropriations and lots of beautiful people. Intermezzo is the shop where I’m most likely to bring a date. Come in the afternoon for a Kyoto iced cold brew coffee (they serve the best one in town) and stay for a cocktail or a mesmerizing omakase-style oyster experience.
5. Caffeine Roasters – Tampa
Caffeine is the best coffee shop in Tampa for busy commuters.
Caffeine opened it’s downtown Tampa cafe is 2016, but it’s the recent addition of the location on Kennedy and Armenia that has everyone excited. Hailing all the way from Lithuania this team (lead by Emilija Dadonaite) roasts their coffee in house (you can see the roaster from the cash register!) They’ve also got delicious food (the lemon aioli egg sandwich is to die for) and their Kennedy Blvd location has a drive through!! Add to that one of the most impressive slow bar (think: pour over, Chemex, Aeropress) menus in Tampa and you’ve got a recipe for an amazing coffee shop. Caffeine is the shop with the friendliest staff and it’s my favorite shop to invite my best friend to come work with me from.
6. Southside Coffee Brew Bar – St. Petersburg
Southside Coffee Brew Bar is the best coffee shop in Tampa to get a cup of coffee everyone will love.
With the cheeky slogan “Best Coffee in the Hood” emblazoned on their shirts you can tell that Tampa Bay coffee gem Southside Coffee Brew Bar is a down-to-earth spot. What you might not realize on first blush is that it’s also home to one of the best cups of coffee in Tampa. Bar none. Proprietor Sheila Smith has been working in coffee for the better part of two decades and it shows. Ask her to take home a 1/2 pound of her house blend or one of her rotating guest coffees (roasted fresh weekly) and you’ll never go back to your tin can espresso. Southside Coffee Brew Bar also features fun drinks like the spicy “Mexican Mocha” as well as Kratom, Kombucha, and and Nitro infused cold-brew coffee. Located next to the famous “Munches Dinner” (featured on the Food Network’s “Diner’s Drive-Ins and Dives”) Southside customers can grab a coffee and walk it next door to enjoy with their breakfast or just stay and hang out on the patio under the shade of native Florida plants while you chat up the locals — who are there every day, to be sure.
7. The Hause Coffee Shop – Largo
Hause is the best coffee shop in the Clearwater-Largo area of Tampa Bay.
The Tampa Bay area includes lots of smaller cities like Largo and Clearwater, but to locals, it’s all Tampa Bay. Located 20 miles North of St. Petersburg in Largo, The Hause Coffee Shop is one of the best cafes in the Tampa Bay region. Convenient to St. Pete, Seminole, Largo, and Pinellas Park Hause serves an otherwise underserved area of Pinellas County. They offer a great spacious cafe that regularly hosts open mic nights and occasional free coffee mornings. Serving up Tampa coffee roaster Buddy Brew, the staff at Hause are curious and approachable. They are constantly improving their coffee offerings and it shows! Hause is my favorite spot to “meet in the middle” when my friends live in Clearwater, Dunedin or Safety Harbor. It’s also the spot at which the idea for the St. Pete Craft Coffee Tour was born!
8. Foundation Coffee Co. – Tampa
Foundation is the best coffee shop in Tampa to run into an old friend.
Foundation Coffee really is one of the best coffee shops in Tampa. With a great coffee menu featuring house-roasted offerings as well as those from local roasters like Zeal and Kingstate Coffee Roasters, Foundation delivers on great coffee. They have two locations, one in Riverview and a new one at the Bunker in Ybor City. Foundation is the best coffee shop in Tampa for running into an old friend, or a new one.
9. The Chelsea – St. Petersburg
The Chelsea St. Pete is the best coffee shop in Tampa to grab and oat milk latte and a last-minute birthday gift for mom.
One of the best coffee shops in Tampa Bay is also one of the newest. The Chelsea St. Pete opened its doors in 2021. Owner Teresa Chalkley named the Chelsea as a nod to the famous NYC hotel as well as to her husband’s roots in London (there’s a Chelsea there too). The Chelsea St. Pete may be the cutest shop you’ll visit while in the Tampa Bay area. The decor is bohemian with fun mis-matched furniture and playful wall art. About that: everything is for sale. Having a succesful retail career, Mrs. Chalkley smartly incorportes beautiful art, jewelery, plants, and much more into the shops aesthetic and then lets you buy it. It’s a great place to find a unique gift! The Chelsea features a gorgeous courtyard, perfect for relaxing in the shade. They also have freshly roasted coffee by Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters delivered weekly so their brews are always on point. Argubably the best thing about them may be that they don’t charge extra for dairy alternatives (oat, soy, almond, or coconut) in their drinks. Win!
10. The Blind Tiger Cafe – Ybor, Tampa
Blind Tiger is the best coffee shop in Tampa to study for a test or outrun the law.
The Blind Tiger Cafe has three locations (Ybor City, Seminole Heights, and SOHO) and they likely won’t stop there. This speakeasy inspired Tampa cafe is serving up house roasted beans that are “so good they should be illegal” along with creative tasty drinks like the popular “Cafe Bombon” which adds steamed sweetened condensed milk to the traditional Cafe Late formula or their Espresso Affogato (espresso and gelato.) A popular spot for studying, relaxing, or just grabbing a tea or coffee, Blind Tiger is a must-hit and one of the best coffee shops in Tampa.
11. Bandit Coffee Co. – St. Petersburg
Bandit is the best coffee shop in Tampa to sport a beard or eat a vegan donut.
From their days slinging coffee in local markets to the opening of their beautiful shop in St. Pete’s Grand Central district Bandit has quickly risen to become one of the most popular coffee shops in Tampa Bay. These days they are roasting their own single-origin coffee (they share space with Tampa roaster King State Coffee), supporting important causes (like hurricane relief for Puerto Rico), and creating a space that attracts a slew of young professionals (Macbook Pros in hand, of course.) With a lot of space to work and a bright clean look, Bandit is my favorite spot to bring my laptop to work while I sip on a delightful pour-over coffee. Roasted last week, of course.
12. Spaddy’s Coffee – Tampa
Spaddy’s is the best coffee shop in Tampa to hit up when you’re near MacDill or Seminole Heights.
Finally on our list of the dozen best coffee shops in Tampa is Spaddy’s coffee. With two locations: the original trailer parked next to La Segunda bakery in Seminole Heights and their newer location South of Gandy near MacDill Airforce Base, Spaddy’s has something for everyone. From stellar hand poured coffees to creative espresso drinks like the orange infused “Florida Man”, Spaddy’s is relentlously quality focused while keeping the atmosphere casual and welcoming. Stop by sometime and tell Spaddy I said hi.
The hardest part about writing a list like this is knowing where to stop. Tampa has so many amazing coffee shops I couldn’t possibly hit them all in this one post. What are your favorites? Which Tampa Bay area coffee shop do you want to try next? Send me an email at: email@example.com to let me know!
About the author:
Brendan Smith, a native of St. Petersburg Florida, is the founder of the St. Pete Craft Coffee Tour: an educational coffee crawl currently active in St. Petersburg and Tampa, FL. He regularly leads coffee cuppings, barista training, and coffee education seminars. Brendan can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit his website at: https://stpetecoffeetour.com/
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