Of all the cafes I visited in the French Quarter during my visit to New Orleans, CC’s Community Coffee House most closely resembles what I imagine people have come to expect in a cafe, given the influence of Starbucks. I don’t mean this as a criticism either. CC’s offers a comfortable setting with small cafe tables up front and some black leather couches and chairs in the back. A set of shelves displays a respectable selection of coffee grinders and brewers while another shows off several pounds of CC’s less than exciting selection of beans. Meanwhile, the barista and cashier work busily behind the counter serving a variety of coffees. The French Quarter location of this state location does a brisk business while providing a reasonably pleasant, if uninspiring, atmosphere in which to enjoy your daily fix.
CC’s one-ups Starbucks by having baristas actually pull their shots from a 3-group La Marzocco Linea rather than simply pushing buttons on a fully automatic machine. This process at CC’s generated a decently passable shot, despite the fact that they didn’t grind the beans to order (or most of the time I sat in the cafe). While the final product wasn’t a good espresso, it was the first one I tasted in New Orleans with a more traditional, american-style, fuller body. It also had a syrupy mouthfeel and mostly resembled light molasses with only a slight bit of harshness in the back of the throat.
CC’s deserves some recognition for their sizable selection of brewed coffees. However, their four-coffee line-up – medium-roasted house blend, dark-roasted house blend, chicory and another flavor I can’t remember (hazelnut?) – was not particularly memorable, especially since all four were brewed on a large commercial brewer. Even though I had come to expect it by the time I visited CC’s, I was still amazed at the prevalence of flavored coffees – a horror I thought was no longer found outside of Supermarkets and the 90’s. I ordered the medium roast, which I found passible – no flavor notes to speak of here but not completely undrinkable (i.e. way over-roasted or stale), especially with a little milk.
Overall, CC’s is probably worth a stop if you’re looking for a comfortable indoor space in which to read the paper and surf the internet while quaffing a milk-based espresso drink. It will do but really isn’t much better or worse than a typical Starbucks.