New Orleans: America's Coffee Center

The famous "Cafe du Monde" in New Orleans. Photo credit: Andriy Blokhin /
The famous "Cafe du Monde" in New Orleans. Photo credit: Andriy Blokhin /

New Orleans is a city with an undeniably distinct coffee culture. Cafe du Monde, which has existed since 1862, is just one example of New Orleans coffee culture. Coffee in New Orleans has its own distinct taste, often flavored with chicory, the root of a herbaceous, perennial plant.

What Makes Coffee From New Orleans Unique?

French Influence

New Orleans coffee culture is derived from French coffee culture. Coffee has been consumed in France since the 17th century. Chicory itself has been used in coffee in France since the 19th century. New Orleans was founded by the French in the 18th century. The influence of French culture has shaped coffee culture in New Orleans.


Shipping and location has played another major role for coffee in New Orleans. New Orleans is the #1 handler of coffee imports in the USA. 1/3 of coffee imports shipped into the USA go through New Orleans. Geography has shaped this role. Located on the far south of the Mississippi River, New Orleans has often functioned as a Gateway to the Caribbean and Latin America. Coffee produced in places such as Brazil, Colombia, and other coffee producing nations would be shipped to New Orleans during the 19th century. This has continued today.

An Important Port City

The Port of New Orleans is home to 14 coffee warehouses. With several coffee roasting facilities nearby, New Orleans is a major point for the roasting of coffee beans. This port is also a major intermodal port. The coffee from New Orleans' port can be shipped by rail, highway, and barges to many places throughout the United States. New Orleans has handled coffee imports longer than other port cities in the USA. It continues to be a coffee import center today.


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