13 December 2008

Ryan Hall's latte art is featured on Austin Details. Check it out!

Dudetown, USA

Art opening tomorrow night!

Team Photo Magic presents:

Dudetown, USA
New photography by:

Matt Conant
Jen Hellow
Sean Klinger
Matt Taylor-Goss

03 December 2008

NYT + Coffee

A pretty cool blog post about coffee from New York Times blogger Christopher Niemann is here.

16 November 2008


A lot of places have suggestion boxes, but do you ever know what happens to your suggestion? Does anyone read them? Does anyone care?

Here are a few suggestions we've collected recently (in bold); our response follows.

Vegan goodies! Gluten-free? Soy milk @ condiment stand!

We carry vegan treats from Celeste's Best! We'll soon be carrying some gluten-free chocolates, and we do indeed now have soy milk at the condiment stand. Thanks!

Carry the Daily Texan.

We looked into this, because we love The Texan. It turns out that we're not quite on the delivery route, so it looks like we won't be able to carry it for now. Look for it at our sister store, Clementine Coffee Bar.

Whole-grain bread!

Your sandwiches are awesome, but will you assuage my dietary guilt with some whole grain (high fiber) bread?

We've had several suggestions for whole-grain bread. We'd love to carry it, but one factor preventing us from using it in our paninis is that the bread is almost always too thin to work with the panini grill. The vegan sourdough bread that we currently use is nice and thick and allows the sandwich to be pressed without smooshing the ingredients. If anyone has any suggestions on "sturdy" whole-grain bread, please let us know!

Nice place! Stay open later

Stay open later.

Can you stay open later during finals?

As of last May, we now close at 11:00 p.m. nightly instead of 10:00 p.m. We hope this helps!

MySpace bulletins and live music on a certain day each week!

We now have live music on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays outside on our patio. We also have movie night every Tuesday!

Topo Chico

We now serve Topo Chico!

Can you provide simple syrup for the iced drinks?

We can! During the colder months it's available by request, but we always have it available during the rest of the year.

Bigger tables

A few months ago we got bigger tables that offer more than enough room for you, your coffee, your laptop, and perhaps a game of Twister.

Please keep your suggestions coming! We really appreciate the input.

07 October 2008

Thunderbird is brewing Cuvee Coffee

That's right, Thunderbird is now brewing Cuvee Coffee!

Here's more about Cuvee, from their website:
Cuvee Coffee Roasting Company is a Texas-based specialty coffee micro-roaster that provides independent coffee houses and coffee lovers with artisan blends, single origin and estate coffees from all corners of the world.

The Cuvee Commitment: Quality, Sustainability, and Direct Relationship Coffee

Cuvee Coffee is committed to improving the quality of life for everyone who helps bring the coffee from the plant to your cup. We visit the farms and build strong personal relationships with farmers and other partners who share our vision for making a quality product while also preserving natural resources.
We're all very excited about this change. Please let us know if you have any questions!

Movies for October!

16 September 2008

Thunderbird on Austinist

That's right, a lovely latte poured by Mr. Ryan Hall has been featured on Austinist.com's Foodoir Photography. The photo was taken by Jen Hellow. Thanks, Austinist!

12 September 2008

So long, Goodflow (for now)

Several sources report that Thunderbird's favorite local juice provider, Goodflow, has been temporarily shut down by the FDA for non-compliance with pasteurization requirements. We've been drinking Goodflow for years, and we've never had a problem, for the record.

The good news: According to Austinist, Goodflow will soon be back, and bigger than ever. They're expanding their facilities to comply with regulations. In the meantime, we're stuck: Do we wait it out, or should we check out Naked, Odwalla, or another juice company? Please let us know your thoughts.

Good luck, Goodflow. We're behind you!

18 August 2008

Voter Registration Drive September 7

Yes indeed! We've got a voter registration drive going on Sunday, September 7.

Meet at T-bird at 2 p.m. for canvassing, and stick around from 6-9 p.m. for the after-party planned with Larry Joe Doherty and musical guest Paul K!

10 August 2008

Movie Night at Thunderbird!

It's true. Tuesday night is movie night at Thunderbird! The show starts at 8:30 p.m., and we've got a gang of awesome flicks that you're sure to love. We'll have $1 Lone Stars from 8:00 to close, and a host of brilliant and talented baristas to host.

Here's what we dreamed up for the next few weeks!

8/12: Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man
8/19: Brian Wilson: I Just Wasn't Made for These Times
8/26: Standing in the Shadows of Motown
9/2: End of the Century: The Story of The Ramones
9/9: This is Spinal Tap
9/16: I Am Trying To Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco
9/23: Heavy Metal in Baghdad
9/30: Fallen Angel: Gram Parsons

29 July 2008

August music schedule at T-bird

Friday 8/1

8pm – Michael Pearson

Saturday 8/2

8pm – Tara Craig

9:30pm – Philip Moody

Wednesday 8/6

8pm – Lawrence Glass

9:30pm – Pauline Pisano (NY)

Friday 8/8

8pm – Brent Pennington

9:30pm – David Nathan

Saturday 8/9

8pm – Paul Finley

9:30pm – Todd Garza

Wednesday 8/13

8pm – Brother Magnum

9:30pm – Dear Henry

Friday 8/15

8pm – Donald Mohr

9:30pm – Daniel Cioper

Saturday 8/16

8pm – Phoenix Saga

9:30pm – Joshua Piper

Wednesday 8/20

8pm – Jon Keanon

9:30pm – Mountains in the Moon

Friday 8/22

8pm – Ideal Soul Mart

9:30pm – Evan Kaspar

Saturday 8/23

8pm – Harold Ambler

9:30pm – Leah Edwards

Wednesday 8/27

8pm – Books Died On

9:30pm – Mike & the Moonpies

Friday 8/29

8pm – Stephen Selvey

9:30pm – Jean Synodinos

Saturday 8/30

8pm – The Lost Pines

9:30pm – The Flatcar Rattlers

Music starts @ 8pm!

For more information about

Thunderbird music & booking,

Please e-mail Jess @ yeoldejess@gmail.com

14 July 2008

Movie night at T-bird!

It's our second installment of the Thunderbird movie night! It all happens at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 15.

We'll have:

- $1 Lone Stars on tap!
- Fifty-cent espresso shots!
- Lots of local beers to choose from!
- The fabulous and lovely Katrina and Noelle, brewing coffee and pouring beer for your consuming pleasure!

This time we're showing Control, the 2007 biopic about Joy Division's Ian Curtis. More info about the movie here. Check out the trailer:

12 July 2008

Leah Edwards/John Neilson tonight!

Leah Edwards is playing tonight at 8:00. Check out her MySpace here.

The fabulous John Neilson will be rocking on our patio at 9:00! His MySpace is here.

See you tonight!

01 July 2008

Movie Night at T-bird Tonight!


Tonight at 8:00 p.m., Thunderbird is showing our first bi-monthly movie night! That's right, every first and third Tuesday of each month, Thunderbird will be showing a flick on our new projector outside on the patio.

Tonight's movie will be: You're Gonna Miss Me, the wonderful documentary about Austin's own Roky Erickson, of the 13th Floor Elevators. More info on the movie here: www. rokymovie. com

Don't forget our $1 Lone Stars and .50 espresso shots from 7-11!


29 June 2008

Vanessa Lively playing at Thunderbird July 4

The talented and versatile Vanessa Lively is playing at Thunderbird at 8:00 p.m. with other guests. Come celebrate our independence while watching great live music and enjoying our local beers.

05 June 2008

Iced chai = drink of the summer

In India, Iran, and many other places around the world, the word "chai" really just means "tea." We know the drink somewhat differently, as sweet-spiced black tea, usually served with milk. Soy milk goes especially great with chai, and it's usually topped with a pinch of cinnamon.

Iced chai is delicious and refreshing, especially in the summer. It's for this reason that Thunderbird has deemed it to be the drink of Summer 2008!

Here are a couple of chai recipes that we especially love:

The Boss: 16-oz iced chai with two shots of espresso (AKA Filthy Chai)
Iced Soy Chai: Just what it sounds like. Yummers.

Add vanilla or honey for a little extra something!

Cut tea leaves with spices

Mountains in the Moon + Tiny Tin Hearts this Friday

Luke Kalloch (as Mountains in the Moon) is playing at Thunderbird at 8:00 on Friday, June 6!

Headlining that evening will be the fabulous Tiny Tin Hearts at 9:30!

Be there! Drink $1 Lone Stars! Hang out with Katrina and Drew, two of the most skilled and good-looking baristas in the city!

The Tiny Tin Hearts

04 June 2008

Aaron Sinclair + Brent Pennington tonight!

Tonight! Thunderbird is hosting Aaron Sinclair, from the illustrious country-rock outfit Frank Smith at 8:00!

Then, at 9:30, Brent Pennington, from the always super musical group Golden Bear will be performing!

$1 Lone Stars, $2 pints of Fireman's 4 and Full Moon Pale Ale, and $4 specialty wines!

Be there!

Aaron Sinclair, at bottom left corner

03 June 2008

Pics from DJ Christopher Zane by Jen Hellow

We are party. Note how thrilled the lady in the background is.

Deep concentration.

Q from QBist Soundsystem stopped by!

Want to book music or art at Thunderbird?

If you are interested in booking music or art at Thunderbird please e-mail our booking agents, Savannah Macanally @ savvysoundsbooking (at) gmail.com for the Koenig location and James Taylor at james.wesley.taylor (at) gmail.com for the Manor location.

Party on!

June Music at T-bird!

Tons of great music lined up at Thunderbird this month. Check out our calendar here.


And don't miss out on our Wednesday drink specials & free shows!

Beer specials on Wednesdays:
• $1 Lone Stars
• $2 other pints (Fireman's 4 and Full Moon Pale Ale)
• $4 specialty wines


28 May 2008

Jacob Wise Jazz Trio canceled

The Jacob Wise Jazz Trio will NOT be playing on Saturday the 31st at Thunderbird. Sorry for any inconvenience!

04 April 2008

More Jen Hellow pics

Jen took a few more pictures of Thunderbird--these mostly of our fantastic patio--that we're very proud to show off. Check them out here.

Elizabeth Hobbs and Kathleen Taylor tonight

Elizabeth Hobbs and Kathleen Taylor are playing live at Thunderbird tonight!

The weather will be great, so come enjoy a beer or a glass of wine and listen to some great local musicians.

See you there!

Picture by Jen Hellow

Google Maps

Google Maps now has a road view feature that shows you a recent image of the location you search for. Here's us!

Click image for larger size

26 March 2008

April Shows

Thunderbird is featuring live music every Friday in April! Here's our current schedule:

Friday, April 4, 7:00 p.m.: Elizabeth Hobbs/Kathleen Taylor
Friday, April 11, 7:00 p.m.: Qbist Sound System Birthday Party with Passenger and other special guests!
Friday, April 18, 7:00 p.m.: Heather Bishop/Kevin McCarthy
Friday, April 25, 7:00 p.m.: Plastic No No Band/Dwayne Williamson/Wilson Getchell

24 March 2008

Pics by Jen Hellow

Photographer Jen Hellow just took a few wonderful pictures of our store. Check them out here.

18 March 2008

Cave Coffee

Comfort is important in a coffee shop. It's nice to go to a place to study, read, or meet with friends and find comfy chairs and couches to sink into. Unfortunately, some places take the comfort concept and turn it into what I think of as a "cave coffee shop." Places like this feel like you should expect to find dirty laundry on the floor; they have a comfortable feel in the same way that a couch potato find his favorite recliner comfortable. It's not exactly wallowing in your own filth, but it's not too far off.

Thunderbird is a comfortable place, but it's also clean, bright, and filled with natural light. Check out these pictures from today--a cloudy afternoon if there ever was one--to see what I mean.

08 March 2008

Our friend Kristi Willis has a blog, Austin Farm to Table, which can be found here. The blog features recipes and info about the Austin Farmer's Markets, which we're a huge fan of. Do yourself a favor and check it out!

The Austin Farmers Market, via the Austin Farm to Table blog
Elijah Wood came into the coffee shop today, presumably in connection to a movie being filmed a few blocks away.

Things we didn't ask him:

"What was it like to film Home Alone?"
"What was it like to film Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over?"
"Can I have some money?"

Things we did ask him:

"What can I get for you?"

He had a iced quad espresso, if you're interested.

02 March 2008

Sorry for the lack of posts lately--Thunderbird had a busy weekend! Lots of planning for our upcoming live music series during the week of March 12-18. Places to go, people to see, etc.

Unrelated: I also saw Soylent Green today. Of all the things I knew about that movie, I didn't know that "soylent" was a portmanteau word using "soy" and "lentils." Charlton Heston is a god of an actor.

The first of our live music events starting on the 12th is the Acoustical Breakdown showcase. Info is below.

Click image for larger version!

26 February 2008

A note on espresso

Let's face it. Coffee can be confusing. Everyone knows what coffee is, but far fewer people are familiar with even the most basic details of espresso. Hell, even the word "espresso" is a little disturbing for some people. With that in mind, here are a few basic pointers on what's what in the espresso world. (Expect much more in the future on this subject.)

- Espresso: A concentrated coffee drink brewed by forcing very hot--but not boiling--water under high pressure through finely ground coffee
- Macchiato: Espresso with a dollop of steamed-milk foam on top (contrary to popular belief, a Macchiato is not the thing they make at Starbucks with caramel all over it)
- Cubano: Espresso brewed with unrefined sugar
- Latte: Espresso mixed with steamed milk--light foam
- Cappuccino: Espresso mixed with steamed milke--heavy foam (surprising to many, this is the only difference between an espresso and a latte!)
- Mocha: A latte with chocolate!
- Americano: Very hot--but not boiling--water with espresso on top. Milk is sometimes added
- Caffe au lait: Half brewed coffee, half steamed milk

These are just the basics. As you can see, they're really not as daunting as they seem when you walk into a coffee shop for the first time. More to follow!

[Wikipedia on espresso]
[Coffee Geek]
[Coffee Review]

Happy Mondays

Just a recap of Saturday night: The event was a huge success! Tons of people came out (familiar faces and new friends alike) to check out Kevin Lynch's photos and to hear The Winter Dance Party rock out on the patio. Everyone drank cheap beer, rocked out, and generally had a great time.

Some internal scoop: We had our first employee meeting last night, and I think it was pretty successful. I think these meetings are not only a good way to get out a general "state of the union," but a way that all of us can spend time together at once, instead of just seeing each other when we work. Next stop: karaoke party?

Oh! One piece of news for you dedicated followers: Our website is being designed and should be ready soon. It will of course be at thunderbirdcoffee.com--but don't expect much until we announce its launch. Yahoo!

23 February 2008


Tonight! The Winter Dance Party is playing in the store. Bring your friends and come drink our $1 Lone Star drafts, $5 Lone Star pitchers, and $.50 espresso shots (from 7-10 p.m.). We're showcasing Kevin P. Lynch's photographs, who will be here to answer every annoying question you have about taking pictures. Buy him a beer, won't you?

Also, we attended the grand openings of Black and Tan and Orchid Dance Bar on 7th Street last night. The bars look great, everyone had fun, and DJ Mel rocked our asses off on the turntables. Check out the links to the right for more info about each place.

We also checked out The Black's performance at Lamberts Barbecue last night. As usual, they were great. They'll be playing in Marfa, Texas tonight, so if you're in the area, be sure to check them out. I should also mention that Lamberts is a really cool place to hang out. I didn't get to sample their barbecue, but it smelled incredible, and the vibe there is fantastic. They also have a ton of great beers on tap (Chimay, Guinness, etc.). I mean, it's no Thunderbird, but it's still really cool.

22 February 2008

The Black playing tonight

Those sexy boys The Black are playing tonight in Austin at Lamberts Barbecue. I don't know an exact time, but I'd ballpark it at around 10:00 p.m. Check them out tonight, because this is their tour kickoff show, and they wont' be around for a couple of weeks.

What will you do after that? Walk a few blocks north to check out the grand opening of Black and Tan, the coolest new hangout downtown. The Thunderbird people will be the exceptionally beautiful ones hanging out by the (super awesome) jukebox.

General stuff

What's the haps? Here's what's new with us:

- Thunderbird just got Shiner Black, which we're excited about.
- We also hired a few new baristas! Great people with great attitudes, all three of them. Say hi to Elizabeth, Ida, or Katrina next time you're in.
- A few of us got together tonight and checked out the Obama/Hillary debate which was hosted by UT Austin. (Unfortunately, none of us were invited to the actual event.)

Just a quick reminder: The Winter Dance Party is playing on Saturday night at the art party celebrating Kevin Lynch's photography. Check out the photos at www.shatteredshutter.com.

19 February 2008

Kevin Lynch photography

As I mentioned below, Kevin Lynch is this month's featured artist, and a party celebrating his work is this Saturday. Here are a few selections from his website that will give you an idea about his work.

On another note, I'm proud to say that Thunderbird is one of the few locally owned joints around town that feature art that doesn't suck, and I think Kevin's photographs highlight that nicely.

Amazing party this Saturday

Saturday, Saturday, Saturday!

This Saturday, February 23, Thunderbird is having an art party! We'll have music from The Winter Dance Party, beer, wine, and amazing photographs on display by Kevin Lynch. The band starts at 8 and will play until 10 p.m.

Give us a shout if you need any more info!

Fidel resigns

Fidel Castro resigned as president of Cuba today. The significance of this event should not be underestimated. Although some feel that Fidel's resignation is no big change--Cuba has been unofficially led by Raul Castro, Fidel's brother, for several years now--I wonder if we won't see some noticeable changes starting now, but especially after Castro's impending death. At the very least, this is a huge symbolic shift. I won't get into political stuff on this blog--there are any number of places where that can be discussed--but I will speculate the following:

What could a Castro-free Cuba look like?

- Real Cuban sugar in Thunderbird's Cubano coffees
- Real Cuban cigars (smoked only outside on our patio, of course)
- Spring Break trips to Cuba, just like in the '50s
- 24-hour Buena Vista Social Club marathon concerts all over America

Sounds pretty good to me. Viva!

17 February 2008


A minute ago, a guy asked the name of the band that was playing. We had the Rolling Stones playing, so I said "The Rolling Stones!" He of course meant the band that was playing outside, but the mistake got us talking. What would the Stones drink if they came in? We made these guesses:

Keith: Dark roast with two shots of espresso (Naturally.)
Mick: Single cappucino ("I don't like too much milk. It bad for me throat.")
Charlie Watts: Sugar-free vanilla cappucino
Ronnie Wood: Horchata latte (hot) ("Wots that? Yeh, gimme one o dem.")

Austin Marathon!

The Austin Marathon is today! The race passes right in front of Thunderbird, and we're lucky enough to be a spot where volunteers pass out water, and spectators cheer for the runners. We've also got a live band playing out front, beautiful weather, and a bunch of attractive baristas. See you here!

16 February 2008

St. Bridget's

St. Bridget's porter is just one of our many great bottled beers. It's made by Great Divide Brewing Co., based out of the Rocky Mountain region. They say that St. Bridget's is named after an Irish saint who "created a sensation by turning her bathwater into beer." We're not sure about that (the Wikipedia entry, at least, has nothing to say about the miracle), but we do agree that it's a nice dark beer.
St. Bridget’s is a smooth and elegant brown porter. Brimming with coffee and chocolate characteristics from dark barley malts, St. Bridget’s is carefully hopped to provide the perfect complement to its malty robustness. This beer is a “must have” beer for all porter lovers.

For only $3.50, you can't do much better for a porter like this.

We're hiring!

That's right. Thunderbird Coffee is looking for a barista!

We interviewed a few well-qualified candidates today, and there's more coming in tomorrow (Sunday). But if you're a smart dude or dudette with a great attitude and a love for all things coffee, please shoot us an e-mail, comment on the blog, or just come in and drop off a copy of your resume/work experience.



We've gotten some great feedback on the horchata latte today! A lot of people have noticed a toasted-marshmallow flavor, especially with the hot version. A nice warm drink for a day as gross as today.

14 February 2008

New coffee!

We have a new roast! It's the Organic Mexican from Little City Roasters, and it's delicious. It's our lightest roast, with a full flavor and a nice crisp finish. You'll definitely want to check this one out.

13 February 2008

La Marzocco

At Thunderbird, we use a La Marzocco espresso machine, the same kind used in the World Barista Championships. The machines are handmade in Florence, Italy--which is only part of the reason they're so expensive. The other reason is that they're incredible pieces of machinery. Coffeekid.com lists a couple of reasons why they're so great here.

One thing most people will mention about the La Marzocco is that it has two boilers. This means that it has a boiler dedicated to steam and another one dedicated to brewing--which means that the espresso always has water of the correct temperature available, and the milk will always be steamed at a consistent temperature.

So that's why your coffee tastes so good!

More info:

La Marzocco on Wikipedia

Not ours, but the same model.

New drink

A new drink is on its way!

The full name is the Jesus Maria Horchata Latte, and its ingredients are espresso and fresh Horchata from the delicious and affordable Mexican cafe Jesus Maria, right across the street from us on Koenig. It comes both hot and iced (I personally prefer the iced), and in 12 oz., 16 oz., and 20 oz. sizes.

It'll be ready this week, and we'll be happy to offer a free small one to those who mention this blog through the month of February.

If you've never had Horchata before, you're missing out. It's a rice-based milky-colored beverage with no dairy. Here's a typical recipe found on the Internets.

(Disclaimer: The image above isn't our Horchata, it's just one I found online.)

Our roots

A couple people have asked me where the name Thunderbird came from. Here's the answer:

Thunderbird before (click image for larger size)

Hot deals

Some ongoing promotions Thunderbird offers:

The daily Hour(s) of Power: $1 Lone Star pints, $5 Lone Star pitchers, and $.50 espresso shots

10% off for all McCallum High School students

Your thoughts

Thunderbird is always interested in hearing what you have to say. We do our best to make great snacks and coffee in a comfortable environment, and we're proud of what we do. If you have a suggestion on how to make things better, please feel free to let us know via our MySpace, e-mail, our comment box, or through a comment on this blog.

Ryan pours another perfect latte

Here's super-barista Ryan Hall pouring a great-looking latte at Thunderbird. If only we could all do it this well.

Thunderbird begins

I’m sure I’m not the first to try to get something like this started for Thunderbird, but I think it’s about time we had a bit more of a web presence. Look here for info about specials, events, and news on the store. Thanks for checking us out!