Pax Treme

A single-origin Colombian espresso, roasted by Onyx, from Arkansas, and served, in a classic blue cup, by Pax Treme in New Orleans.Following hot on the heels of yesterday’s Coffee Spot, Spitfire Coffee, comes Spitfire’s new big sister, Pax Treme, which I visited last Sunday. I’d not heard anything of Pax before I arrived in New Orleans, but that’s probably because it only opened the Monday before my visit. Talk about good timing!

I’m indebted to Marissa, the barista at Spitfire, who gave me the heads-up about Pax. It has perhaps the most (initially) unpromising location for a coffee shop, almost directly under an elevated section of the I-10 freeway which thunders through the heart of New Orleans Tremé neighbourhood, north of the French Quarter. About 10 times the size of Spitfire, and that’s not counting the balcony, it’s a handy getaway from the hustle of the French Quarter and just a short walk away across Louis Armstrong Park.

Like Spitfire, Pax is a multi-roaster, with a single-origin on espresso and three more available either as espresso (ground using the Mahlkönig EK-43) or pour-over through V60 or Chemex (with plans to add Kalita Wave and maybe Aeropress, plus bulk-brew) There’s also a kitchen at the back, so Pax has a small (for now) breakfast/lunch menu, plus cakes, all baked on-site.

March 2019: Pax Treme had to close due to a series of unfortunate incidents. However, the good news is that it reopened towards the end of the year (full disclosure: I provided some investment to help the reopening get off the ground).

November 2022: Sadly Pax Treme has had to permanently close and, as far as I know, has no plans to reopen.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Perhaps the most (initally) unpromising coffee shop location: under the I-10 freeway!
  • However, don't let that put you off. It's home to Pax Treme, New Orleans' latest addition.
  • And that's all for outside shots. No sooner had I got there, than the heavens opened!
  • The view looking the other way, Pax stretching out ahead of you. It's much drier in here!
  • The magnificent brick-built counter is to the right...
  • ... while the seating is off to the left, separated by these brick pillars & a bookcase.
  • The seating on the left, starting with a very comfortable-looking sofa.
  • Best part of all, though, may be the balcony above. More on that later.
  • For now, let's have another look at the sofa, with tables beyond/to the left.
  • A broad corridor leads between the seating and the counter to the back of Pax.
  • Here you'll find an open kitchen, plus two three-person bars...
  • Yes, that is an upright piano you can see there. The balcony goes all the way back too.
  • Just as the seating started with a sofa by the door, so it ends with another sofa...
  • ... tucked away in the corner at the back. Again, very comfortable-looking.
  • A view of the seating from the back.
  • There's a large communal table behind the sofa and tables under the balcony.
  • The communal table might have been my favourite out of all the seating options.
  • That said, we haven't checked out the balcony yet.
  • The stairs are immediately to your left as you enter.
  • The balcony stretches out ahead of you...
  • ... and behold, right at the back, another sofa!
  • The view back along the balcony, a row of stools on one side and tables on the other.
  • One of the many tables against the wall, with its own power outlets. Nice touch.
  • The stools, meanwhile, give a great view of the downstairs...
  • ... and in particular, the counter.
  • Here's the coffee end of the operation. It really is a great viewpoint.
  • Time to go back downstairs...
  • ... pausing only for a panoramic view from seating across to counter.
  • The counter, as seen from the far end. And, in case you missed it...
  • ... immediately to the right of the door is this beautiful piece of furniture...
  • ... which acts as the retail shelving for Pax.
  • Pax has many beautiful features, not least the brick pillars.
  • I was also taken by the bookcase being used as a divider. What a clever idea.
  • A random picture from down by the stairs that caught my eye.
  • Other neat features include the flowers which are everywhere. On the tables...
  • On the counter...
  • ... and hanging from the balcony in baskets.
  • There's not much natural light, just a few very narrow windows upstairs. Still raining I see.
  • This makes all the electric lights a necessity.
  • Although it's not often I get to take a picture of the lights from above!
  • Okay. Back to the counter and to business.
  • Things start off with the cake, the menu conveniently on the wall behind.
  • Everything is baked on-site. I remember the caneles from Spitfire Coffee.
  • I remember the cinnamon rolls too!
  • The menu is concise, although the food offering will be expanded in due course.
  • The coffee part of the operation is at the far end of the counter.
  • The Geisha, from B&W, was on espresso while I was there...
  • ... and there was a choice of three single-origins, all Colombians. I turned down these...
  • ... in favour of this, from Onyx in Arkansas, who I first discovered in Miami!
  • All the single-origins are available as espresso, or, as I had mine, as a pour-over.
  • I also had breakfast. This is the eggs and cheese in a biscuit....
  • ... while these are the awesome crushed potatoes.
  • I returned to have the last of the Onyx Colombia single-origin as a split-shot: espresso...
  • ... followed by a macchiato, a fitting end to my stay.
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From the outside, Pax looks distinctly unpromising, but have faith. Occupying a tall, brick-built building which was once a famous jazz club, the entrance is via a single door in the centre of an otherwise featureless (and windowless) brick façade. Inside, Pax stretches out ahead of you, as well as soaring above you, the space open to the ceiling. There’s very little natural light, other than what comes through the glazed door and the occasional narrow window high up on the left-hand wall. However, that all adds to the atmosphere.

The layout is simple, but elegant, a large, brick-built counter on the right, semi-open kitchen at the back, and seating to the left, complete with balcony running the length of the left-hand wall. Directly ahead of you, a row of brick pillars separates the seating (left) from the counter (right), a half-height set of bookshelves occupying the gap between the first two pillars.

The seating starts with a large sofa facing the counter, along with an armchair facing the door. Behind that a large, six-person communal table, followed by the water/cutlery station. Meanwhile, a row of four, four-person tables shelter under the balcony. There’s then a large space before you get to the kitchen at the back, where you can sit at one of two three-person bars facing into the kitchen, separated by a third brick pillar. There’s also another sofa tucked away under the balcony to the left.

Immediately to the left of the door, steps lead up to the balcony. This runs along the left-hand wall, extending slightly around the back wall over the kitchen. A row of stools overlooks the ground floor, with great views of the counter, while a row of two-person tables lines the left-hand wall. Finally, right at the back, looking the length of the balcony, is a four-seater sofa.

I was there for breakfast, choosing the biscuit, bacon, egg and cheese for breakfast with greens instead of bacon and a side of crushed potatoes, an interesting and very different breakfast from what I’m used to. The biscuit was sliced in half, toasted and then stuffed with eggs, cheese and greens, a really tasty concoction. The crushed potatoes were pretty much as described, small potatoes crushed flat and pan fried. They were delicious too.

Purely by chance (owner Scott had picked the best-tasting coffees), all Pax’s initial offerings were Colombians from B&W, Sweet Bloom and Onyx. The only exception was the espresso, a Geisha from B&W. Having first come across Onyx at Vice City Bean in Miami early in the year, I went with that (also Scott’s recommendation) as a V60, fearing it would be too funky as an espresso first thing in the morning. In the bag it smelled amazing, while in the cup, it was initially a little disappointing, but as it cooled, it really came into its own, developing a rich sweetness that you rarely find in coffee. It lost a little sweetness as it cooled further, but that only allowed the fruity notes to come through even more strongly.

Intrigued, I tried it as a split-shot, espresso/macchiato. As an espresso, it wasn’t as funky as I feared, a very pleasant, but very different coffee, with a centre-of-the-mouth taste and none of the sweetness that came through in the pour-over. In milk was my least favourite, but that’s in comparison to the previous two. There were plenty of classic notes coming through, but the milk and coffee always felt slightly at odds to each other.

It’s early days for Pax, so watch this space. Plans include an expanded food menu and roasting, although this has been disrupted by the forced closure for much of 2019 and now, in 2020, by the COVID-19 pandemic.

December 2018: Pax Treme has won the 2018 Best Filter Coffee Award and was a runner-up for the 2018 Best Breakfast Award.

810 NORTH CLAIBORNE AVENUE • NEW ORLEANS • LA 70116 • USA +1 504 208 2792
Monday 08:00 – 16:00 Roaster Guests (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 08:00 – 16:00 Seating Tables, Sofas, Comfy Chairs, Bar
Wednesday CLOSED Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 08:00 – 16:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 08:00 – 16:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 08:00 – 16:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 08:00 – 16:00 Power Yes
Chain Local Visits 11th March 2018

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6 thoughts on “Pax Treme

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