Proud Mary Coffee - Austin Texas

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#1: Post by TomC »

I was in Austin last week for my sister's wedding, and my second most important destination was to pay a visit to the new Proud Mary Cafe opened by Founder Nolan Hirte. I'd been following their progress via social media and was excited to check them out firsthand. One of my employees commutes from her home in Austin to SF for work and proctored a bag of coffee for me just a week before my visit. Their coffees are very solid quality, roasted competently.

It's a bustling, busy space, loud music and the constant hum of a busy kitchen. Their food/service is incredible. The day we got there, unfortunately they were down one barista, so Nolan was busy expediting everything, but he took the time to take the order of my whole 6 party group by memory, without a glitch. Impressive because we ordered all the coffee,drinks and food at the same time, it must have been nearly 30 things. They don't roast on site, so basically everything one would want to "tour" is already on display. The kitchen is incredibly active and I quickly counted about 20 employees between the bar and the kitchen!

I was excited to see the Titus grinder setup, which contains the hoppers in a freezer above and a custom designed rail system for the grinders, some dialed in for the espresso service, the others, filter.

Nice touches to the decor. They had some great music playing thru the high end audiophile gear and tall mounted speakers, but they were drowned out by the volume of customers. This is a popular spot, and quiet conversations aren't possible. I commented to my family that it would probably have been better if they cut the music, because it only made people shout louder over the din.

Within a minute of us arriving, and getting lucky to snag a large table, I noticed the line spreading out the door. They have a very large outdoor patio space as well, which was popular this morning, with calm, cool weather.

High ceiling windows spread abundant light into the space. The coffee of course, smelled incredible. Between my family and I, we pretty much ordered everything you could drink, nearly each coffee brewed on the menu. I won't comment on every single photo in this posting, but I included pictures of the menu and some descriptors of the coffees they had on offer. I took home a canister of the #4 COE Indonesian lot. Quite tasty and clean tropical fruit.

They have bar seating up front, with the kitchen in the middle of the space and the regular seating to the far end.

The food options were awesome. They plate things with attention to detail, colors abound. Probably the best hash browns I've ever had were just one highlight. In the blue mug is their batch brew, which was a delightful, concentrated Natural Ethiopian. It was a gulp-able coffee, I'm glad I added it towards the end of my breakfast since most of the options I initially tried were their small pour-overs. I noted they were very highly extracted, ground nearly as fine as espresso, and dilute strength. It helped separate the flavors and provided plenty of clarity, but I think I would have enjoyed them a little stronger. So the pour-overs served as a stark contrast to the batch brew. I found it almost confusing, but nonetheless, pleasant. The natural Ethiopian was sparkling clean and yet rich.

This dish above was interesting. On the menu it reads like a sweet dessert-like french toast. But it is in fact mostly savory. "Hot Chocolate French Toast", with salted chocolate, caramel and homemade paper thin, crisp fried potato chips adorned the top.

Their toast game is on point too. All the ladies in our group ordered one version or another. I can't even remember all the little accent bits, but everything seemed thoughtful and inspired.

A last few shots of the grinder rack and a proud Nolan right at the bar. It's a great spot, worth the stop for sure. I'll keep an eye on their website for their interesting coffees moving forward.

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#2: Post by jbviau »

Wow! This *almost* makes me want to visit Texas. 8)

Thanks, Tom, and congrats to your sister.
"It's not anecdotal evidence, it's artisanal data." -Matt Yglesias