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Feb 12, 2008 11:47 AM

Birmingham: Nice restaurants, mediocre coffee

Does anyone know of any fine dining restaurants in Birmingham that serve really good coffee? It seems like Royal Cup has some sort of Mafia lock on the marketplace, and while it's better than Folgers, it doesn't hold a candle to some of the locally roasted brews like Higher Ground, Primavera, Red Mountain Roasters or O'Kafes.

I cannot understand why restaurants that are renowned for seeking out the highest-quality ingredients for their menus don't do the same for the coffee. I'd like to have some fantastic coffee to round out an otherwise fantastic meal.

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  1. I couldn't tell you the last time I had coffee at a restaurant at the end of a meal. We usually go to a coffee shop afterwards. There are quite a few available now. The ones I frequent stay open reasonably late so it's doable. Perhaps restaurants don't feel like competing with the gourmet coffee shops and have given up. That's certainly how it seems. I've never had a great cup of coffee at a restaurant. Or perhaps the local roasters aren't marketing to the restaurants. It's definitely a collaboration that would work.

    1. My dad had a cup at Bettola after dinner...He said it was really good, and it was served in a mini french press. I dont drink coffee after dinner, so that is about all I know.

      BTW- if you didnt know there are 2 kinds of Royal Cup...the "Premium" which is ok...and Im sure that is what you had, Ive had it at City Hall Diner, and I guess it is better than Folgers. But they also make the Royal Crap regulas...that is what I call it at work, but at least it is free, but it is HORRID! The Premium is in a silver package, and the regular is brown.

      1. We at o kafes! found great resistance among restaurants to carry quality coffee. I think there are numerous reasons why they tend to choose Royal Cup: 1) quality coffee costs more and restaurant owners don't think that quality coffee can increase their bottom line; 2) restaurant owners care more about getting free machinery and maintenance assurances than they do about how the coffee tastes [one local restaurant called and said they would buy my coffee if I would provide them with an espresso machine and brewer, a $5,000 investment]; 3) many restaurant owners don't know that there are varying grades of coffee. It seems to me that if a restaurant owner would pitch that his or her establishment carries Fair Trade organic, locally roasted coffee, that would increase the perception of the restaurant's quality. One rising problem: some corporate roasters are claiming to have 100% Fair Trade organic coffee when they do not.