Alumnus handcrafts quality java at Houndstooth Coffee

Zach Miller

Sean Henry has brought together functionality and commodity in his recently opened coffee shop, Houndstooth Coffee on North Lamar Boulevard. Henry, a 2004 radio-television-film UT alumnus, opened Houndstooth in May after deciding he wanted to do more than serve an average cup of coffee. Henry aims to use his extensive knowledge of beans and brewing to provide a boutique coffee experience for his patrons.

“Opening a business was very similar to directing my films in college,” Henry said. “My film-creating background gave me the internal fortitude to see my vision all the way to completion.”

Being a coffee craftsman is something Henry enjoys. He gets a sense of satisfaction from working with his hands and being knowledgeable about his products.
“I like what happens here,” Henry said. “I get to share a little part of people’s day.”

With multiple brewing methods and a wide variety of beans, there seems to be no path toward achieving great coffee that Henry hasn’t traveled with Houndstooth.

The bar where Henry and his staff handcraft each Houndstooth drink is a large structure that serves as the focal point of the building from any seat in the shop. This might seem to be of little consequence, but since the bar is close to just about every customer in the place, it creates a friendly atmosphere. The bar is also set up so customers can see exactly how a barista is making a drink, and this transparency is exactly what Henry was aiming for. Henry said he designed the place to have an open community feel.

Houndstooth offers four espressos daily and coffee beans from three different roasting companies to ensure the shop is using top-notch beans from around the globe. Henry has also set a high standard for employees so they can be as knowledgeable as possible about the coffee they serve. Henry compared knowing and recognizing the flavors of beans based on the regions they come out of to the way wines are identified by the region of the world they come from.

Henry said there is even a difference in the way one type of coffee will brew in the morning than in afternoon. He strives to be consistent and careful in his brewing at all times, providing something you might not get everywhere.

“Most places don’t care [enough] to make a good cup of coffee,” Henry said.

WHAT: Houndstooth Coffee
WHERE: 4200 N. Lamar Blvd., Ste. 120
HOURS: Weekdays, 6 a.m.-10 p.m.; weekends, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.