Buddy Brew – The gold standard as far as craft coffee in Tampa, Buddy Brew has a location just west of downtown on Kennedy that’s popular with University of Tampa students and another recently-opened spot in Hyde Park Village. I think there’s even one in the airport now, so you can grab a delicious local brew upon your arrival. The Kennedy location in particular always seems to be buzzing with energy.
The Lab Coffee – I love the vibe here. Located in what used to be a purely industrial section north of Kennedy but now surrounded by a burgeoning apartment/condo scene, The Lab looks like an old auto garage turned industrial sleek with coffee gadgets and gizmos throughout (it is a lab, after all).
Kahwa – Local coffee chain with more outposts on the Pinellas side of the bay but has expanded into Tampa with a shop downtown and another in South Tampa on Henderson. Their café mocha beats Starbucks in every way.
Victory Coffee – Within walking distance of Amalie Arena, Victory makes one of the more underrated cups of coffee in town. It’s tucked away on a first-floor corner amongst the condominium towers that seem to spring up one a month in the suddenly poppin’ Channel District.
Jet City Espresso – I’ve never been here but Jess says the Café Borgia, a honey-orange infused latte with nutmeg, is their specialty and amazing. Jet City also offers tasty latte flavors like Milky Way, Almond Joy and mocha de menthe.
Foundation Coffee Co. – On a suddenly hip block of Franklin Street, Foundation offers up a fancy cup o’ joe in a beautiful setting. There’s an open-air section in the back that is perfect for brainstorm sessions with co-workers.