It was a (very) rainy day when I visited Inversion Coffee House for the first time. It is right next to an arts store I often go to, and in fact Inversion Coffee House itself not only comes from art but is still all about art. Back in 2005 they had to tear down two 1930’s bungalows that stood at this site to make way for the coffee shop and an art school next to it. Before tearing the buildings down they contacted two artists who turned the houses into a piece of art where a 30 ft hole appeared in one house that had what appeared to be a vertical tornado of whitewashed wooden siding. The art work, called Inversion, gave its name to the coffee house that came here shortly after the piece was finally demolished.
The building that took its place is quite interesting. It is an asymmetrical metal like building with a large terrace in the back. We had to circle around the block a couple of times because there was no room at all in the large parking lot. When you get inside it is clear why. This is one of many coffee shops in Houston where it is pretty much impossible to get a table because all the tables are taken up by students with their laptops. And they just don’t move. Most of these are students from the art school next door it seems. We manage to find a spot at the bar. There is a steady stream of people coming in but they all order “to go”, obviously they all already know it is impossible to get a seat here. No one left the whole time we were there.
The coffee shop is very small but very colourful. There are various pieces of art covering pretty much all the walls. The high ceiling has various exposed pipes that give it an industrial gallery kind of feel. The baristas are all wearing hoodies. This isn’t the first coffee shop I go to in Houston where the baristas have covered their heads (at Dirk’s Coffee House they all wore beanies). Wonder if this is a trend, or perhaps covering your head brings out the flavour in the coffee?
I ordered, as usual, the only hot chocolate on the menu. It seems clear that Houston is a coffee lovers paradise and this one of its jewels. I was given my hot chocolate in a paper cup (arghhh!) and asked if I could have a mug to tip it into. It was fine. It tasted exactly like Ghirardelli hot chocolate, which isn’t bad at all.
Verdict: I loved the location and the story of this place. But if you want to sit in and enjoy your drink and the space good luck finding a table! If you can I think this is definitely worth a visit, as long as they put your drink in a mug! Inversion Coffee House, 1953 Montrose Blvd., Houston, USA.