A lovely cortado in a glass, made with tge guest espressso at Lowpoint in New Orleans.I first went to New Orleans with my Coffee Spot hat on during 2018, when I visited for the weekend. I knew very little about the city’s small but vibrant speciality coffee scene, although one name that kept coming up was Sólo Espresso, which became the second stop on my short tour. I immediately fell in love with the basement-like space and, two years later, I was very sad to hear the news that Sólo Espresso had closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two years after that and I was back in New Orleans for my second weekend visit. On my first day, the staff at Congregation Coffee Roasters confirmed that Sólo Espresso was indeed gone for good. However, they told me some good news: a new coffee shop, Lowdown, had opened in its place, so the next day I made it my first stop.

If you knew Sólo Espresso, then Lowdown will feel very familiar, with essentially the same layout and friendly welcome. Ruby Coffee Roasters is on espresso, along with a guest roaster, plus another on batch brew filter. Meanwhile, if you’re hungry, there’s a range of cakes and pastries, all made on-site, with a brunch special each weekend.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • On the corner of Poland Avenue and Urquhart Street stands this familiar (to me) building.
  • This is how it looked on my first visit in 2018, when there was less foilage at the front.
  • Staying in 2018, I was visiting Sólo Espresso, but sadly it closed in 2020. The good news...
  • ... is that Sólo Espresso has a spiritual successor, Lowpoint, which I was visiting this time.
  • Mind you, with all the greenery at the front, it's hard to see that it's now Lowpoint.
  • As well as the foilage, these chairs are new (compared to 2018), while just beyond is...
  • ... this serving hatch, so you can order your coffee without going inside.
  • If you'd rather go inside, the entrance is down here, at the end of the path on the right.
  • It's easier to see in this photo from 2018, where you can also see the outside seating...
  • ... which was still there in 2022. The table is part of a weekend craft fair by the way.
  • The double doors, as seen in 2018, are recessed at the back, creating a porch-like effect.
  • This is a similar view from 2022, where you can see that the doors have changed...
  • ... although this little seating area to the left has survived, as has the portrait of the dog...
  • ... as you can see from this photo from my 2018 visit.
  • Stepping inside and the centrepiece is the counter which runs down the right-hand side.
  • This is well set back from the doors, which leaves space for this four-person window-bar.
  • It's south-facing, so catches the afternoon sun.
  • A view of the doors from the inside.
  • This is the view from 2018. You can see that the doors themselves have changed...
  • ... while this little bench seat in the corner to the left of the doors has gone...
  • ... replaced by a fridge and these retail shelves.
  • There's the usual retail bags of coffee plus merchandising on the left...
  • ... while there are various goodies on the shelf to the right.
  • The counter is a survivor from the days of Sólo Espresso. One of its best features was...
  • ... the row of square bar stools down the left-hand side...
  • ... which I was pleased to see were still there on my return in 2022.
  • However, there are more changes at the back. This communal table has gone...
  • ... as has this bar which was up against the wall to the left of the table.
  • Instead, the back of the store now looks like this.
  • There's a two-person sofa on the left where the bar used to be...
  • ... while in the opposite corner is a two-person table (where I sat).
  • To business. You order at the counter, where you'll find the menu on the wall...
  • ... to your right. This is a somewhat simplified affair compared...
  • ... to the various menu boards of Sólo Espresso.
  • You'll find the cakes/pastries (sweet and savoury) on the counter top, while at weekends...
  • ... there is a different brunch special every week, prepared in the kitchen at the back.
  • Another survivor from the Sólo Espresso days is the Synesso espresso machine.
  • There is always something special about a well turned out Synesso...
  • ... which doesn't look much different from my first visit, although the cups are funkier now.
  • Another hold over is the batch brewer for filter coffee...
  • ... which looks much as it did in 2018, although Lowpoint doesn't offer pour-over.
  • As it was, I went for a cortado, served in a glass and made with the guest espresso...
  • ... a Guatemalan single-origin from old friends, Miami’s Panther Coffee. Check out the...
  • ... latte art, which survived all the way to the bottom of the glass.
  • Before I left, I dropped off this bag of coffee from Greater Goods in Austin, Texas.
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Lowdown occupies the same building that was home to Sólo Espresso, on the ground floor of a long, low building on the corner of Poland Avenue and Urquhart Street. It’s a little way east of the centre, on the border between Bywater and St. Claude, and across the canal from the Lower Ninth Ward. If you don’t mind the walk, its a pleasant 50-minute stroll through Crescent Park on the north bank of the Mississippi, while there are also regular buses. Alternatively, it’s a 10-minute taxi ride, depending on traffic.

Whichever route you take, you won’t be disappointed. Lowdown is very much the spiritual successor to Sólo Espresso, having been started a year ago by the trio of Potter, Mik and Alex, the first two having previously worked at Sólo. The entrance, which is swathed in greenery, is tucked away under/to the right of the stairs that lead up to the top floor. The stairway forms the left-hand side of what is in effect a long path leading to Lowdown’s doors, while the right-hand side is demarcated by some planters and a pair of wide bench seats. The wide, double doors are set back under a porch-like structure, a pair of chairs sheltering in a nook to the left.

Stepping inside, you find yourself in a long, low basement-like space which stretches away ahead of you. There’s some seating in the front third by the doors, then comes the counter, which occupies another third of the space, followed by more seating at the back. Immediately to the right of the door is a south-facing four-person window-bar with high-chairs, although the wooden bench-seat that was built into the corner to left of the doors has gone, replaced by a fridge and some retail shelves.

The counter still runs along the right-hand wall, its short end facing the doors. Here you’ll find the till and cakes, while the menu is still on the wall to the right. Another survivor is the Synesso espresso machine, which is halfway down the counter, after which comes the open kitchen. Best of all, the six square stools which line the counter, where you can sit and watch your coffee being made, are still there.

The space at the back used to be dominated by a large, wooden communal table, but this has been replaced by a sofa on the left, while in the back, right-hand corner, is a two-person table. There’s also more seating outside, with a row of four white bucket seats down the side of the building, just before a to-go hatch so that you can order your coffee without even stepping inside.

Talking of coffee, Lowpoint uses Wisconsin’s Ruby Coffee Roasters on espresso, with a guest roaster as a second espresso option. There’s also either Ruby or the guest on batch brew filter. During my visit, the guest espresso was a Guatemalan single-origin from old friends, Miami’s Panther Coffee. I had this in a cortado, which was neat, since when I visited Sólo Espresso in 2018, I also had coffee from Panther.

The Guatemalan single-origin went very well with the milk for a rounded, well-balanced cortado that made an excellent start to my day. I was also blessed with some long-lasting latte art, the pattern surviving to the bottom of the glass. Before I left, I gave the staff a gift of a bag of Vietnamese coffee, the Hung Farm, which I’d picked up from Greater Goods in Austin the previous weekend. Then it was on my way to my next stop, Pond Coffee, which the staff at Lowpoint had just told me about…

www.instagram.com/lowpointco +1 504 327 7373
Monday 07:30 – 14:30 Roaster Ruby Coffee Roasters + Guests (espresso + batch brew)
Tuesday 07:30 – 14:30 Seating Tables, Bars, Sofa; Chairs (outside)
Wednesday 07:30 – 14:30 Food Cake, Weekend Brunch
Thursday 07:30 – 14:30 Service Counter
Friday 07:30 – 14:30 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 08:00 – 15:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 08:00 – 15:00 Power No
Chain No Visits 20th November 2022

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2 thoughts on “Lowpoint

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