Are you looking for a java journey? A Cup of joe and go? A roastery road trip? A bon voyage and beans? You get the idea . We’re talking about an espresso escapade on the Coastal Mississippi coffee trail.
What’s special about coffee in Coastal Mississippi? The Magnolia State’s 62-miles of shoreline is the perfect escape from the ordinary with charming communities and an incredible food scene. Plus, the historic US-90 route along the coast offers an ideal road trip off the interstate that will not cost you too much time (unless you want it to) but will take you through breathtaking scenery. Plus, did you know that the Gulf Coast is the birthplace of coffee in America?
So yeah, we’re going! Only one question remains – where is the best coffee in Coastal Mississippi? Of course, the best is in the eye of the beholder, so how about joining us on our mission to find the most unusual coffee along Coastal Mississippi’s coffee trail.
Gulf Coast Coffee- The Birthplace of Coffee in America
The Brits have their tea, and the French have their coffee. Long before coffee shops sprung up in Boston after that famous tea party, French settlers were brewing beans on the bayou. 1699 saw the first permanent European settlement on the Gulf Coast, Fort Maurepas, near Ocean Springs, Mississippi.
New Orleans, founded in 1718, became one of the largest importers of coffee in the United States. With the blockade of the harbor during the Civil War, New Orleanians stretched their coffee stores by mixing in roasted chicory root. Being good southerners, they’d also add a little lard to give the chicory a little face. After the war, the city remained a culinary hub for America, which is an attitude and tradition that extends along the Gulf Coast.
Bright-Eyed Brew Coffee
Much like coffee in America, our coffee trail starts in Ocean Springs. This charming coastal town features a walkable downtown filled with boutique shops and gourmet restaurants. That’s where we wandered into the Bright-Eyed Brew Coffee shop.
The majestic live oaks towering over the sidewalks with long, wispy Spanish Moss beards blowing with the ocean breeze made me expect a classic cup of coffee. Instead, I found a modern cold-brewed masterpiece. Bright-Eyed Brew Coffee uses a 24-hour steeping process. The slow, controlled extraction gives it a higher caffeine content and smooth, chocolaty flavor with 65% less acidity. They even infuse nitrogen into the brew for a rich, creamy texture. Bright-Eyed Brew Coffee is one more reason to love Ocean Springs.
We walked through the Ocean Springs Entertainment District to a super cute, Instaworthy coffee shop aptly called The District. The owner rebuilt the shop from the ground up after a year of vagabonding around America in an Airstream. His creation is exactly what you’d expect if a speakeasy and a coffee shop had a baby, which is fitting since Ocean Springs used to be the southern headquarters for Al Capone.
The District has a full coffee menu, including affogato and nitro. They even offer an Oji cold brew, an 18-hour Japanese slow drip process that produces a robust coffee that’s best served black. However, we were feeling our inner gangster and went with a CBD-infused hot vanilla latte. Jenn liked the earthy overtones, but I thought they took away from the sweet latte finish. It’s only CBD, so that falls well short of the Amsterdam coffee house experience. We were still digging the décor and the menu.
Tato-Nut is our coffee trail’s final stop in Ocean Springs. We heard about this store as a staging point for coastal Mississippi bike rides. We figured if riders who just burned a thousand calories would eat here, then it must be pretty good. Besides, they had a neon sign that said ‘Gourmet Coffee’.
They serve Coast Roast Coffee which started just up the coast in Long Beach, Mississippi. They use 100-year old roasters to craft a vintage coffee, including a traditional New Orleans Chicory blend with South American coffees and roasted American Chicory. Unlike New Orleans, TatoNut serves potato flour donuts instead of beignets. Of course, their other neon sign says – ‘The Only Real Donut’, which I don’t think bothers the beignet crowd one bit.
We wanted to go to Greenhouse on Porter next, but they’re now an event space only. Instead, we crossed the bridge and headed over to Greenhouse Biloxi. It’s too easy to think of Biloxi as a collection of coastal casinos. However, they still have a historic downtown, where you’ll find Greenhouse Biloxi.
We were lucky on our visit to happen onto their Grand Opening. Or, at least the observance of their grand opening since they delayed the party for a year because of c̶o̶v̶i̶d̶ 2020. We had a solid vanilla latte and, literally, everything else on the menu as part of the celebration. However, we fell in love with their breakfast biscuits, which pay homage to Mississippi’s southern roots.
Jacked Up Coffee Bar
Jacked Up Coffee Bar is located on Howard Ave, almost directly behind the Biloxi Lighthouse. We came for a morning meetup with representatives from the Visitor Center and added in a power meeting with the fine folks from the Gulf Coast Heritage Trail. While we were there, we ran into Captain Mike from the Biloxi Shrimping Trip and what seemed like half of the local government officials.
True to its name, Jacked Up offers a full bar, which we did not partake of due to our meeting schedule. However, it made me wonder who put a little something something into their go-juice that morning. We did indulge in our own brand of naughty – Cotton Candy Coffee. It started with an overflowing cup of cotton candy, and then they poured in hot coffee. The fluff melted into a flavorful finish that was way sweeter than the King Cake Coffee that we fell in love with during Mardi Gras. Definitely not for the faint of heart or diabetic.
The Bird is known as the ‘Livingroom of the Bay’. For a community with as much spirit as Bay St Louis, that’s saying something. Bay St. Louis is the westernmost community in Coastal Mississippi, so you should enjoy all the local flavor that can you savor.
If you’re looking for local flavors, you have to check out the coffee menu at Mockingbird. They start with a custom Mockingbird Breakfast Blend from Coast Roast, but it doesn’t stop there. They offer Elevated Coffee with organic coconut oil and ghee that’s reminiscent of the old-time New Orleans tradition of adding a spoonful of lard, but a little healthier. They also have Bright-Eye Nitro Cold Brew and their own Bird Brew 24-hour cold brew. We were tempted by a latte flavored with local Mississippi honey but opted for a lavender latte. It was the perfect combination of pick-up and chill-out to sip and contemplate our time on the Coastal Mississippi Coffee Trail.
Future Stops on The Mississippi Coffee Trail
Once you discover Mississippi’s ‘Secret Coast’, you’ll want to come back again and again. We can’t wait to return and try Cat Island Coffeehouse in Pass Cristian after a night on the Mystic Ghost Ride tour in Bay St Louis or tank up at Coast Roast’s original location, Bankhouse Coffee, before taking a sunset sail out of Long Beach. As long as Coastal Mississippi continues to be an understated culinary gem, we’ll keep coming!
Disclosure: A big thank you to Coastal Mississippi for hosting us and setting up a fantastic itinerary! For more travel inspiration check out their Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts.
As always, the views and opinions expressed are entirely our own, and we only recommend brands and destinations that we 100% stand behind.