Wake up and smell the local Memphis coffee


Annie Leow

Ugly Mug Coffee, Muddy’s Grindhouse, Levee Coffee and Creamery and Comeback Coffee all offer an assortment of caffeinated and decaffeinated drinks, as well as a selection of desserts. Located in different parts of Memphis, each coffee shop has its own distinct atmosphere worth exploring.

Was that a yawn or a cry for coffee? Whether you’re in need of an early morning pick-me-up or something to overcome an afternoon slump, Memphis has the place for you.

For some coffee enthusiasts, local coffee shops do it best.

“I always love visiting local coffee shops, especially when I travel, because the environment is more personal and not as commercial,” avid coffee drinker Lily Dixon (12) said. 

With this bit of philosophy in mind, here are four coffee shops worth trying.

Ugly Mug Coffee

Accessible to White Station students, Ugly Mug is a popular hang-out spot. Advertising their locally roasted coffee and eco-friendly beliefs, Ugly Mug pretty much sets its own standards. High? Yes. Impossible to achieve? No. 

Ordering my go-to Starbucks order, a caramel macchiato, was a good choice because I was met with a stronger espresso kick than Starbucks without excess sweetness. 

Muddy’s Grindhouse

A Midtown version of their East Memphis location with an added full-service espresso bar, Muddy’s sources their espresso beans from Brazil, making it a point of pride that they grind their coffee just before it is brewed to maintain as much flavor as possible. 

Wanting to fully taste their coffee, I tried their light roast black. Although I’m usually a dark roast person, it wasn’t too acidic and didn’t leave a bitter aftertaste. 

Levee Coffee and Creamery

Owned by the same people as Pyro’s Pizza and Wolf River Brisket, Levee enjoys a full-service espresso bar accompanied by homemade ice cream and waffle cones. 

Going back to the trustworthy caramel macchiato, I found that Levee’s had a hint of almond flavor that was new but not unwelcome. With a similar price but higher quality than Starbucks, Levee showed me once again that Starbucks has been hiding subpar coffee behind whipped cream and pretty advertising.

Comeback Coffee

Founded by couple Hayes and Amy McPherson as an outlet for their 901 pride, Comeback is located on Main Street in the Pinch District. 

“We’re not the best coffee in town. It’s not something we strive for, but I think the atmosphere in the community we strive to create is special,” Amy McPherson said.

I agree that their atmosphere is something special, both sophisticated and homey, but the quality of their coffee is not to be understated. After trying their vanilla latte, I can say with absolute certainty that I will be returning for more.