Heine Brothers’ Coffee, St. Matthews, Louisville, KYI grew up in Louisville, but the last time I lived here, Wi-Fi was as foreign a concept as going green. So this is a first-impression traveler’s review of the Heine Brothers’ St. Matthews location. I’m sure the trek to Bardstown Road would’ve yielded better results, but my parents live in the east end, so this one was closer. I’ve had friends who still live here tell me that Heine Brothers is by no means the best laptop locale, but if you lived here in the 90s, when you think “coffee shop”, you think Heine Brothers. So when I had to delay my trip back to North Carolina due to icky weather, that’s where I went to get some work done.
COFFEE: Good, but pricey. Although fair trade, organic, locally brewed coffee always comes at a price, right? A 10-oz cup cost $1.80 and refills were $1.00 each. On tap today: Ronda’s Blend (a house blend created in honor of a former employee). Points for a flavorful brew, demerits for not having more than one regular blend to choose from (always nice to have options).
FOOD: The focus here is definitely on the coffee, and that’s okay. Their sweets selection looked quite tempting and they had some cold sandwiches in the front cooler from a local gourmet grocery, but I didn’t have a sweet tooth and didn’t want to pay $6 for an okay-looking sandwich, so I paid $2 for an okay-looking bagel instead. It tasted how it looked, but that’s also because it was noon and had most likely been sitting there since 6am when they opened.
INTERNET: I don’t know if it was their connection or if it was because I was working on an iPad, but I found it to be rather slow. Outlets were easily accessible and plentiful in the smaller green room (I didn’t check the front room for places to plug in.)
VIBE: Jazzy background music pumps through the main room, where there’s a “store” along the back wall with organic t-shirts, coffee, tea, and even coffee soap for purchase. There’s plenty of seating in both the main room and a smaller back room for those who prefer a little more peace and quiet. Both rooms have colorful murals on the walls. If it hadn’t been pouring down rain, I imagine the deck off the front to be a stong point on sunnier days.
They recycle but don’t have very visible signs or bins next to the trash cans. A staff member informed me that they usually just sift through the trash for recyclables. Points for dedication! I was, however, disappointed that I was given a disposable cup for my in-house coffee. I saw others with mugs so perhaps it was just an oversight. They also have a house blend called KFTC Mountain Dream from which they donate $5 from every bag purchased to help end mountain top removal mining in the Appalachian region.
Heine Brothers’ St. Matthews is the “perfect on paper” coffee house. The date you should want to take home to meet your parents, and yet there’s just something missing that you can’t put your finger on. Other than a slow Internet connection (which I like to think was an iPad issue—not an iPad fan, but that’s another post) there was nothing wrong with the place. The coffee was tasty, the staff was friendly, they keep it local, they care about the planet. Maybe I’m spoiled by the wonderful cafes in Asheville. Maybe I went to the wrong Heine Brothers. Maybe I was just in a pissy mood because I was stuck using my husband’s iPad instead of my MacBook.
Any Louisvillians out there in love with Heine Brothers? Give us the skinny!
Heine Brothers’ Coffee, 119 Chenoweth Lane, Louisville, KY 40207