Downtown Mobile is a very different scene than it was over 150 years ago. Buildings are taller and the landscape is nothing like it was. The river is there and the streets are there, but I can tell you one thing the Union army didn’t find when they marched into the city in the spring of 1865. A place to get excellent coffee.
On Royal Street, sandwiched between a pharmacy and parking garage, sits the Serda Coffee Company.. Here, within walking distance of all the best spots in downtown Mobile, a traveler can order a cup of coffee and kick their feet up for an hour or two. I saw quite a few out-of-town business professionals come in and out of the shop, as well as students and locals. The seating in both the front of the house and the quiet backroom is ideal for taking a break from everyday life or meeting with friends for a nice chat. Oh, and did I mention this place has gelatos? Want something sweet to chase the coffee? Serda’s got you covered. Not to mention frozen espressos, iced espressos, breakfast sandwiches, salads, soups, paninis, wraps, smoothies, and all your favorite coffee drinks.
Serda’s story is just as unique as its many, many coffee varieties. From their website: “Serda’s Coffee Co. started out as the Millenium Cyber Cafe in Puntarenas, Costa Rica which was opened by John Serda and Edwin Acosta in January 2000.
Edwin’s cousin Victor owned a beneficio named Montes de Oro which was responsible for securing coffee contracts and the distribution of some of Costa Rica’s finest coffees. Through Victor, the Millenium Cyber Cafe was able to serve the famous Tarrazu coffee from the San Marcos valley.
It wasn’t long before the Millenium Cyber Cafe was getting more and more emails from tourists who visited the cafe wanting more of the wonderful coffee they had had in Costa Rica. That’s when John and Edwin decided to create the Quetzal Coffee Co. and sell their coffee online.
The Quetzal Coffee Co. grew and started selling coffees from all over the world including Central & South America, Africa and Indonesia, and then it was time to grow again. John returned home to Mobile, AL to open his first store in the United States and changed the name to Serda’s since Quetzal, which is the name of the bird in our logo, was hard to pronounce for most people.”
I was personally amazed by the variety on their snack and luncheon menu, as well as their community-centric events like Trivia Night. They don’t sell merchandise like Starbucks – or even the local Carpe Diem Coffee Company – but they have shirts and a plethora of coffee blends you can take home with you. Don’t want to brave downtown traffic to enjoy Serda’s coffee? No problem! You can sign up for a subscription to have fresh coffee grounds delivered right to your door! But if you do want to stop in, I suggest paying the few dollars to park down the street from the Mobile History Museum and walk your way north on Royal Street.
I stopped into Serda while exploring a small piece of downtown Mobile and spent about two hours in their backroom to catch up on some reading. I ordered one of their regular medium blend coffees and was instantly impressed. Most of the time, I have to dump over a half a dozen packets of sugar to make my coffee not so bitter, but I hardly had to add any at all. It was an excellent energy boost as well and helped me to stay awake for the second half of my day. My one and only real complaint might have been that the booths in the back room are considerably higher than normal and the tops of my thighs were almost touching the underside of my table, making for a slightly uncomfortable reading experience. It would have been nicer to lounge back in one of the sofas. But, if you’re just eating or meeting with friends, the booths are not a reason to avoid this lovely coffee spot on Royal Street.
To find out more about Serda Coffee Company or maybe order your coffee before you arrive, visit: https://www.serdas.com/
Monday – Thursday: 6am – 10pm
Friday: 6am – 11pm
Saturday: 7am – 11pm
Sunday: 7am – 6pm
Address: 3 S. Royal Street, Mobile, Alabama 36602