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A morning stop for local coffee in Galveston was the perfect detour before we headed back to Houston for our flight home. The hubs and I have literally just stepped off our Carnival ship and as per usual when we travel, we try and find a local coffee shop to kill some time before heading to the airport.
Since I began writing this blog of sorts about my journey drinking coffee, I have steered clear of big name coffee shops and opted for small, local roasters. This is not only true at home in Las Vegas, but also when I travel, in fact, the idea behind my blog journey has been to highlight the small local roasters wherever I go.
This trip was no different.
I almost caved today and went to Starbucks, however two small coffee shops were less than a half a mile away, a bit further than Starbucks, but still walkable with our small suitcases and backpacks. The first place we walked into was Conex Coffee Plus which had all of the markings of a coffee shop, however we were informed that the shop is only a convenience store and that the coffee bar part of it was coming soon. So we grabbed a Red Bull for the hubs and were on our way, next light, turn right, down two blocks.
It appears there is no shortage of local coffee in Galveston which is good news. But one piqued my interest above the rest. It was a short walk.
Oddly enough, the name of the shop we were headed to was called Red Light Coffee Roasters.
This industrial, eclectic coffee shop is truly a small local roaster in Galveston, with roasting happening on site. Counter and kitchen are all the same; a small elevated bar area just as you walk in the door. Their beautiful La Marzocco espresso machine is right up front and their service is fast.
The menu is up on the wall to the right and is a simple mix of local favorites, classic espresso drinks, popular tea based drinks, and the all important Wi-fi password. The decor is simple, classic industrial with the metal gas pipe style light fixtures, shelves, paper towel holders, and accented with greenery like monstera adsonii, pothos, and propagations of each sprouting in glass tubes. There are also accents of red from the espresso machine and the beautiful Diedrich roaster, waiting patiently for the next batch of green beans in the next room.
The small order and preparation area gives way to a generous amount of seating; along the front wall of framed window doors for plugging in and the vast space of high and low seating, including a comfy couch and coffee table. Appropriately placed on the coffee table sit two books: The World Atlas of Coffee and Everything but Espresso. The vibe here is ‘come in, grab a coffee, relax or work and stay as long as you want’.
Upon walking in, I quickly grabbed their menu, although I typically get the same thing at every shop: a cortado. I figure if a barista can make a cortado the right way, then you know it’s a good place. But this visit, I decided to try one of the “Locals Picks”.
Two baristas greeted me; not super bubbly but I felt as if I was a local despite looking as if I just ran a marathon, pulling a carry on size rolling suitcase and a backpack. It’s a casual place and they were friendly, smiling, and looked like they were passionate about coffee and all it has to offer. The place was clean and organized and every customer that walked in was greeted and helped swiftly.
I ordered the Hive five which on the menu was a combination of honey, cinnamon, and oat milk. Despite it being pre-mixed, it was creamy, slightly sweet with just a touch of cinnamon. I do not like overly sweet drinks and this was definitely not. The coffee still shined through and was balanced. The honey and cinnamon complemented the coffee very nicely and finished smooth. The barista informed me that they sell so much of it having it premixed was the easiest and honestly if he didn’t say a word I would have thought it was hand prepared.
After I was finished with the Hive five, I ordered the Nightwalker which was described as an iced mocha with cold brew. I NEVER order a second drink but the Hive five was SO good that I had to try the other local favorite. Usually mochas are incredibly sweet and chocolatey, however this was not. Red Light knows how to mix their coffee where the coffee is still the star of the show. The chocolate from the mocha was a nice balance of bitter and sweet and accentuated the cold brew notes of dark chocolate perfectly.
Both drinks were very affordable; at $5 my coffees were not watered down by ice and were served in 16 oz cups, perfect for a late morning drink. I typically try a pour over wherever it’s offered, however hot drinks in your late 40s in a city next to the Gulf of Mexico? 0 stars, do not recommend.
I would give this coffee shop a 10/10 due to cleanliness, friendly staff, quick service, and overall vibe. If you’re looking for coffee in Galveston, this is the place to come. I will be back here in December when we return for the maiden voyage sailing of the Carnival Jubilee. There’s a good chance I’ll sit for a long while at the Red Light.
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