On my first visit to New Orleans in 2018, I visited Cherry Espresso in the Uptown District. This was the second Cherry Espresso, the original having opened inside Stein’s Deli on Magazine Street in 2013. In many ways my timing was poor since the Stein Deli espresso bar was in the process of closing, Cherry opening a second outlet in the Lower Garden District, midway between Uptown and the French Quarter. Not only that, it had just started roasting (as Cherry Coffee Roasters).
Therefore, on my return earlier this year, visiting the new Cherry Coffee Roasters was a priority and I was delighted with what I found. Whereas the Uptown location is, in my words at the time, a “typical American coffee shop”, the Lower Garden District outlet is totally different: long and thin, with several small, self-enclosed areas, it has the feel of an elegant New Orleans mansion.
The coffee is roasted in-house, with a house-blend and single-origin on espresso, plus various iced and batch brew options. You can have pour-over, but it’s not a regular option. Best of all are the espresso and beverage flights. There’s also a concise breakfast/lunch menu, smaller than the offering at the Uptown location.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Cherry Coffee Roasters is on Magazine Street as it runs south through the Lower Garden District. Long and thin, it’s on the west side of the street, so there’s plenty of shade. That said, the front is almost entirely glass, with groups of tall windows between brick pillars, so it’s wonderful light and airy inside.
The double doors are also glass, slightly offset to the left and accessed via a short flight of broad steps that come up from the street to the wide, raised pavement that runs in front of the shop. There’s a solitary two-person table outside to the right of the door, while to the left, a long, shallow ramp provides step-free access.
Cherry Coffee Roasters is not very deep, instead stretching out to your left (seating/kitchen) and the right (seating/counter), the seating predominantly at the front. Immediately to the right of the door, a window-bar with seven tall bar chairs runs almost to the right-hand wall, stopping to allow just enough space for a small takeaway and water station on an old dresser.
Opposite this is the counter, a two-part affair. On the right, in the far corner, you’ll find the La Marzocco Linea espresso machine and its grinders on one side, with cakes on the other, leaving space in the middle for the till. The counter continues to the left, although more bar than counter, with five wooden bar stools, behind which is a food preparation area. Although it has an old-fashioned look to it, the three twin power outlets underneath the bar give it a subtle, modern air. Indeed, for all its old-world air, Cherry has an abundance of power outlets throughout, plus free Wifi.
There’s another small seating area off to the left of the counter/bar. A neat alcove tucked into the back wall has a high, two-person bench-seat, plus two tall cocktail tables. In front of that, in the middle of the left-hand wall, is a round, four-person table next to a bookcase built into the wall. Beyond, doorways lead to the kitchen (back) and another, separate seating area (front).
There are two tables in the windows: a small, low, round two-person table by the door and a taller, single-person rectangular table at the far end. The only other seating is an L-shaped sofa built into back wall, curving around the left-hand wall with a short mirror running along the top of it. It only has two tables, in the opposite configuration to the window tables. There’s a rectangular, two-person one by the door and a smaller, round four-person one at the other end in the curve.
Cherry Coffee Roasters showcases the roastery’s output (the Uptown location still carries guest roasters alongside its own coffee). There’s an espresso flight (where you try both house-blend and single-origin) and a beverage flight (where you have the house-blend as an espresso and cortado). However, during my visit, the house-blend was unavailable, so my barista, Nolan, offered me the beverage flight, but made with the single-origin, a Costa Rican, which is exactly what I wanted.
I had my cortado first, a rich, full-bodied coffee that went well with the milk, giving it a malted-biscuit flavour. It was served in a gorgeous cut-glass glass. I followed that with the espresso, which was lovely, well-balanced and smooth, served in an even more impressive glass, with a small glass of sparkling water on the side.
Finally, I had the avocado toast, although to call it “avocado toast” gives it scant credit. On a base of two small slices of toast, it’s piled high with avocado, seeds, green leaves, beans, sundried tomatoes and topped off with a balsamic vinegar dressing. Although I had it for lunch, it’s an instant front-runner for 2019’s Best Breakfast Award.
|1581 MAGAZINE STREET • NEW ORLEANS • LA 70130 • USA|
|Monday||07:00 -17:00||Roaster||Cherry Coffee Roasters (espresso + batch-brew)|
|Tuesday||07:00 -17:00||Seating||Tables, Window-bar, Counter; Table (outside)|
|Wednesday||07:00 -17:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||07:00 -17:00||Service||Counter (coffee), Order at Counter (food)|
|Friday||07:00 -17:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||07:00 -17:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Chain||Local||Visits||6th April 2019|
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