For freshmen’s frappucinos and seniors’ Sumatra coffee, Travis Page finds the top five coffee houses in St. Louis.
Caffeine is the weapon of choice at Missouri Baptist University — we have our very own coffee shop, the Perk, right on campus.
However , you’ll have to venture off campus every once in awhile to get your fix of the great local roasters St. Louis has to offer.
Take this list as a head start, but make sure to explore and find ALL of the gems that the St. Louis coffee culture has to offer.
1 – VanBuskirk Chocolate Bar aka VB’s (Cottleville) Google Maps
VB’s Chocolate Bar is most likely the best place you’ve never heard of. Celebrating their first birthday in the fall, VB’s is bound to have something for your taste.
At night, VB’s is buzzing with CEOs and housewives trying to get their hands on the finest chocolate and finest wines in St. Louis. During the day, however, the place transforms into a quaint quiet coffee shop for the everyday and the novice coffee drinker.
Every detail at VB’s is classy and quality — they don’t cut corners.
The baristas are devoted to serving quality coffee to fit your tastes.
Coffee Selection: VB’s specializes in light roasts to bring out flavors you’ve never dreamed about tasting when drinking coffee.
Their sole providers are Kuma, Intelligentsia & Kuva coffees. (As well as choices that may have been roasted by the head barista Paul Nahrgang himself.)
Food Options: VB’s has a great variety of sandwiches, pastries and even flatbreads.
Atmosphere: Downtown Cottleville offers a great escape from the busy-ness of the city. VB’s boasts an organic and minimalist approach to the run-of-the-mill coffee shop.
VB’s is a chocolate bar as well as a full wine/beer bar, so the atmosphere can change by the hour.
Individuality: There are very few baristas out there who are as knowledgeable as the staff at VB’s, and that paired with their willingness to talk coffee with anyone who comes in is a breath of fresh air from the stuck-up roasters you’ll find elsewhere.
Check out more from VB’s at www.vbchocolatebar.com
2 – Deer Creek (Clayton Road) Google Maps
Deer Creek is located right off Highway 40 in Clayton and it’s something that most people pass by every day without realizing what they’re missing.
Deer Creek offers everything the average college student needs; power outlets, highly caffeinated drinks and a great atmosphere to hang with friends while enjoying a relaxing hour or so.
With it being so close to MBU, this is a must-check-out place for all students and faculty at Missouri Baptist University.
Coffee Selection: Deer Creek has everything you could ask for in a coffee shop. Mochas, Lattes, Cappuccinos and Frappes are only the beginning of what you can find at Deer Creek.
Their frozen selection leaves nothing to be desired as well.
Food Options: It seems as if Deer Creek is half coffee shop and half café.
For every great drink item you’ll find on the menu, there is also a great food option.
From salads to pizza as well as gluten-free options, Deer Creek is a great place to grab a bite to eat while studying.
Atmosphere: Even though Highway 40 is within reaching distance, Deer Creek remains a calm place to relax and enjoy time with friends.
You’ll often see the owners or managers working amongst the patrons, giving customers a sense of belonging.
Individuality: Most tables have a power cord built into them so the age-old struggle of stretching to find the wall outlet is over. Study in peace wherever you wish.
Check out more of Deer Creek at www.deercreekcoffee.com
3 – Comet (Oakland Ave.) Google Maps
Comet Coffee embodies everything that is great about St. Louis Coffee.
Like VanBuskirk Chocolate Bar, they specialize in the high end of coffee. One thing you won’t find at Comet is a boring cup of coffee.
Whether it’s a Kyoto Drip that takes seven hours to brew, or a pour-over V60, your taste buds will be in for a treat if you’ve never tasted these kinds of brewing methods.
While they’ve only been open a year, they’ve gained a cult following that keeps coming back for the great coffee that isn’t found many other places.
Coffee Selection: Comet might have the best selection of any place on the list with its mix of St. Louis roasters and national roasters as well.
You’ll find the greatness that is St. Louis’s own Sump Coffee and Kaldi’s, as well as some other big names in the national brewing scene such as Kuma Coffee (Seattle) and Ritual Roasters (San Francisco).
Food Options: While Comet doesn’t have the meals as others on the list, Comet prides itself in its micro-bakery.
Muffins, biscuits and even pies are made daily at Comet so if it’s a sweet tooth or just a hankering for a snack, Comet has what you need.
Atmosphere: Located right by the Science Center, Comet Coffee is right in the middle of a bustling St. Louis. It can get pretty crazy inside at times, which make the outdoor seating all that more enticing.
Individuality: You really can’t find the variety of great coffee that you’ll find at Comet anywhere else.
No other place mixes the St. Louis roasts and national roasts as well as Comet.
Check out more of Comet Coffee at www.cometcoffeestl.com
4 – Kaldi’s (Clayton) Google Maps
Kaldi’s has become St. Louis’s pride and joy when it comes to coffee. No other chain has rivaled the all-powerful Starbucks as well as Kaldi’s. It offers everything from your fine coffees to your everyday caffeine fix cup of joe.
The Kaldi’s that you have to check out is located in Clayton off of DeMun Avenue.
What makes this Kaldi’s so special is that is was the first Kaldi’s ever built; as they say, “Where it all began…”
Coffee Selection: Kaldi’s roasts all of its own beans and sells them whole bean almost as much as they sell the liquid cup itself.
The great thing about Kaldi’s roasts is that they are all over the spectrum as far as darkness.
Whether you’re looking for a dark cup to wake you up, or a light roast to enjoy an afternoon, Kaldi’s has you covered.
Food Options: While most Kaldi’s in St. Louis stick to the coffee, the Clayton location has an extensive food selection as well as the great coffee you’ve come to love.
Pizzas, sandwiches and muffins are all great buys. If you go elsewhere to a small Kaldi’s shop, you’ll have to settle for a pastry, but chances are you won’t be disappointed.
Atmosphere: The Clayton location is a great place to sit and chat with friends.
You’ll see a college student studying every once in awhile, but for the most part, this is a coffee shop to be enjoyed with friends.
Individuality: Above all, you can’t beat the history. Kaldi’s has helped make St. Louis into what it is today, and as you sit in the first-ever Kaldi’s, you feel like you’re drinking part of history.
Check out more of Kaldi’s at www.kaldiscoffee.com
5 – Lone Wolf Public House (Ballwin) Google Maps
“The Wolf” is a great coffee house/restaurant with an admirable mission of bringing the community together.
Located on the Ballwin/Ellisville line, the Wolf is a perfect place for college students who want to hang out with friends, or get some work done.
The Wolf offers a perfectly quiet spot to study during the day as well as live music at nights on the weekends.
With a full beer/wine bar, the Wolf also transforms by the hour. Whatever you’re interested in, there is a good chance it is available at the Lone Wolf Public House.
Coffee Selection: The Wolf offers Mississippi Mud coffee, which is a local St. Louis company that is gaining traction around the area.
You’ll be able to satisfy whatever craving you have. Whether it’s a black cup of Mississippi Mud or a lighter latte, the Wolf can make it to your satisfaction.
Food Options: The food is one of the best things about the Wolf.
It has all sorts of options from organic grass-fed burgers, to kale dishes and salads. You can also pick up a great pizza or bag of locally baked Billy Goat potato chips.
Atmosphere: The Wolf suits all aspects of what a coffee shop should be.
If you want to study in peace, the Wolf has a room that usually stays quiet during the day. However, the Wolf is also a great place to come with friends and just hang out.
Individuality: The Wolf is one of a kind out in West County.
The owners are usually working every day and they are interested in who is coming into their shop. It’s great to feel connected to a local place like the Wolf.
Check out more of the Lone Wolf Public House at www.thewolfstl.com