The day I visited Royal Blend (the Royal Street location) was cold, overcast and threatening of rain. Yet, somehow this tucked away little courtyard of a café – complete with wifi – still seemed inviting, vibrant and more or less like my little secret (I did have to share it with a few fellow cafe dwellers). This branch of Royal Blend also has an indoor space and there is allegedly another location (although I can’t pull up anything on the address listed above). Regardless, I can’t see much of a reason to take advantage of either given the perfect little hideaway Royal Blend’s courtyard offers.
The issue I have with this cafe, that I’m sure you’ve already gathered given my overview of New Orleans coffee, is that the coffee could clearly be better. Coffee Roasters of New Orleans supplies Royal Blend with their beans which are stored in oily jars, visible under the counter. In addition to espresso, Royal Blend was pumping a Vienna roasted house blend and a flavored coffee from two airpots. I can’t say for certain how these coffees were since I didn’t try either, but the list of options wasn’t particularly inspiring. I find it rare (but not impossible) for a darker roasted and blended coffee such as this and nearly impossible for a flavored coffee to do anything but obscure the qualities of qualities the coffee with roast and or artificial flavors.
Royal Blend pulls their shots on a little two-group La Cimbali. The barista didn’t grind my beans to order and the resulting shot was slightly longer and the crema a shade darker than the espresso I had at La Boucherie. On the whole, I’d say this shot was ever so slightly preferable to the La Boucherie shot – or perhaps it was simply the pleasant surroundings; it tasted fairly sweet – just a tad harsh – with notes of caramel and was richer/a little less thin.
Overall, I can’t say too much about the coffee other than that it is passable. But Royal Blend has atmosphere. It’s a wonderful place to sit and relax, and get away from the hustle and bustle of the Quarter.