By Grace Welsh —

There’s something about the energy of a coffee shop that makes people feel cozy, safe and comfortable. Whether you’re there for a solo study session, a date with an old friend, or just need a little escape from reality, coffee shops are a great place to go.

Visiting local places is a great way to benefit the local economy and strengthen communities. Not surprisingly, Louisville is home to many great locally-owned coffee shops, including Sunergos, Quill’s, Heine Bros.Safai, and Ntaba.

After visiting a few of these local businesses and talking to fellow U of L students, I’ve put together a detailed list of each place and what makes it so special.


The Sunergos located on South Preston Street, located 1 door down from Nord’s Bakery.

Sunergos is loved by many due to the friendly atmosphere and delicious drinks. Junior Micah Ledford said that she loves the warm atmosphere and its close proximity to campus, as it’s located on Preston Street.

“Their iced caramel lattes are my favorite,” she said. Sophomore Jack Kebbell felt the same way.

“They have a lot of variety, it’s fair trade, and I really enjoy studying at the outdoor seating.”

I visited Sunergo’s myself and was not let down. The chai tea latte with oat milk was delicious, and the Halloween decorations in the lobby made me love it even more. They did a great job with following COVID-19 regulations, requiring masks and only allowing 12 visitors in at a time.

Heine Bros.

10 years ago, when my eldest brother began working as a barista at Heine Bros. on Eastern Parkway, my coffee shop obsession began. My favorite drink was the coconut Italian soda, and I loved to color in the coloring books they had. My brother was given AUX chord privileges, and he always played the best music.

Heine Bros. is fair trade and ecologically mindful. For every bag of coffee sold, 2 trees are planted in Northern Peru. Since they opened in 1994, Heine Bros. has donated to hundreds of local volunteer organizations in the city of Louisville.


Quill’s was the first coffee shop I visited since moving onto campus last year. Jasmine tea was my go-to.

While they have a super accessible and student-friendly location right along the Cardtown stip, that location is temporarily closed due to COVID-19. This means that only their Nulu, St. Matthews, and Highlands locations are open. Their 90’s alternative rock music made me feel right at home, and I spent a lot of time in my corner spot typing away on my laptop.

Sophomore Savannah Clarkson is also a fan of Quill’s because “the people are so friendly and they have great tasting food and drinks.” Her favorite drink is their espresso, which she appreciates as a metro college student who needs a pick me up in the mornings.


Safai, located in the heart of the Highlands, started off in 1998 as a drive-thru kiosk and grew into what it is today. They pride themselves on hand-picking every strain of coffee they sell and making sure it is the best quality possible.

They supply their coffee to hundreds of hotels, and they provide financial security to all farmers and their families. Sophomore Lanie Miller told me that Safai is her favorite local coffee shop because of its convenient parking, outdoor seating, reasonable prices, and lovely artwork.

“I love the chai tea latte and cayenne mocha,” she said. “Since indoor ordering isn’t available right now, it feels much safer too.”

Ntaba Coffee Haus

The inside of Ntaba Coffee Haus.

Ntaba is the only US Based coffee shop that specializes in brewing and serving African coffee.

In fact, they work with each farmer to ensure that their coffee beans are derived from the best African farms. Their mission is to create an authentic setting where people can come together to build relationships, share stories, discuss opportunities, and meet with friends.

They also sell locally made art from Recyclocraftz, a Louisville based art initiative that collaborates with and supports those living in poverty in Zambia. My favorite drink they had there was the refreshing hibiscus tea.


Photos by Grace Welsh