Popular Iowa Coffee Shops: Where to Find the Best Brews

Two women standing around holding cups of coffee, illustration

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Iowa may not be the first state that comes to mind when one thinks of coffee, but the Hawkeye State has a thriving coffee culture that is worth exploring. From small-town cafes to big-city roasters, Iowa has a variety of options for coffee lovers. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the most popular Iowa coffee shops and roasters.

One of the most well-known coffee shops in Iowa is Mars Cafe, located in Des Moines. Mars Cafe is known for its high-quality coffee and cozy atmosphere, making it a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. Another popular Des Moines coffee shop is Horizon Line Coffee, which offers a unique selection of single-origin coffees and a minimalist, modern aesthetic.

Outside of Des Moines, there are plenty of other Iowa coffee shops that are worth a visit. In Cedar Rapids, Brewhemia is a popular spot for coffee and breakfast, while in Iowa City, High Ground Cafe is known for its fair-trade, organic coffee and scratch-made pastries. Whether you’re a coffee connoisseur or just looking for a cozy spot to grab a cup of joe, Iowa has something to offer.

Iowa’s Coffee Culture

Iowa’s coffee culture has been steadily growing over the years, with an increasing number of coffee shops and roasters popping up across the state. Whether you are a coffee lover or just looking for a cozy spot to study, Iowa’s coffee scene has something to offer for everyone.

The University of Iowa and Drake University are two institutions that have played a significant role in shaping Iowa’s coffee culture. Both universities have a large student population, and coffee shops have become a popular meeting spot for students to study and socialize.

Small-batch roasters have also become increasingly popular in Iowa. These roasters focus on quality and sustainability, often sourcing their beans from small farms around the world. This attention to detail and quality is reflected in the taste of the coffee, which is often described as smooth and flavorful.

Iowa’s coffee shops are known for their cozy ambiance and friendly baristas. Many shops offer unique drinks, such as lavender lattes or honey cinnamon cappuccinos, that are sure to satisfy any coffee lover’s taste buds.

Overall, Iowa’s coffee culture is thriving, and with so many great coffee shops and roasters to choose from, it’s no wonder why.

Noteworthy Coffee Shops in Iowa

Hidden Gems

Iowa has a number of hidden-gem coffee shops that are worth a visit. One such shop is the Cottonwood Canyon Coffee Bar in Ames. It is a cozy spot that specializes in organic and fair-trade coffee, and is known for its friendly staff and relaxed atmosphere. Another hidden gem is the Bluebird Cafe in Iowa City, which has been serving up delicious coffee since 2008. They offer a variety of organic and fair-trade coffee, as well as some tasty baked goods.

Organic and Fair-Trade Shops

For coffee lovers who are passionate about organic and fair-trade products, Iowa has a number of great options. Kickapoo Coffee in Cedar Falls is a popular choice, known for its high-quality, sustainably sourced coffee. They offer a range of blends, including some unique flavors like their Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. Another great choice is the Sips Coffee Shop in Des Moines, which prides itself on using only organic and fair-trade coffee beans.

University Coffee Shops

For students and faculty members looking for a good cup of coffee, Iowa has a number of great university coffee shops. The Bookends Cafe in Iowa Falls is a popular spot on the Ellsworth Community College campus, serving up a variety of coffee drinks and snacks. Another great option is the Hardline Coffee Co. in Sioux City, which is located on the Briar Cliff University campus. They offer a range of coffee drinks, as well as some tasty breakfast and lunch options. Lastly, the Grounds for Celebration in Sibley is a great choice for coffee-loving students at Northwestern College. They offer a variety of coffee drinks, as well as some delicious baked goods.

Coffee and Food Pairings in Iowa

Iowa is known for its delicious coffee and food options. Whether you’re looking for a quick breakfast bite or a full-course dinner, Iowa has a variety of coffee and food pairings to satisfy your cravings.

Breakfast and Coffee

For breakfast, Iowa offers a range of options from savory to sweet. Pairing a strong cup of coffee with a hearty breakfast sandwich is a popular choice. Many coffee shops in Iowa offer vegan breakfast sandwiches, which are a great option for those with dietary restrictions. If you have a sweet tooth, pair your coffee with a freshly baked scone or a warm pastry.

Lunch and Coffee

When it comes to lunch, sandwiches are a go-to option for many Iowans. A classic ham and cheese sandwich pairs well with a smooth cup of coffee. For a vegan option, try a veggie sandwich with avocado and hummus. If you’re in the mood for something lighter, a salad with a cup of coffee is a refreshing choice.

Dinner and Coffee

For dinner, Iowa offers a variety of options from classic American cuisine to international flavors. A bold cup of coffee pairs well with a juicy steak or a hearty bowl of pasta. If you’re looking for a vegan option, try a vegetable stir-fry with a side of rice. For a lighter option, pair your coffee with a fresh seafood dish.

Dessert and Coffee

No meal is complete without dessert. Iowa has a range of sweet treats that pair perfectly with a cup of coffee. A warm cookie or a slice of pie is a classic choice. For a unique option, try a scoop of locally made ice cream with your coffee.

In conclusion, Iowa has a variety of coffee and food pairings to satisfy any craving. Whether you’re looking for a vegan option or a classic American dish, Iowa’s coffee shops and restaurants have something for everyone.

Planning Your Coffee Trip in Iowa

Iowa is home to a thriving coffee scene, with a variety of cafes and roasteries to choose from. Whether you’re a coffee lover or just looking for a cozy place to relax, Iowa has something for everyone.

To plan your coffee trip in Iowa, start by researching the different cafes and roasteries in the area. Many coffee shops have their own websites or social media pages, which can give you a good idea of what to expect. You can also check out coffee apps like Beanhunter or Yelp to see reviews and ratings from other coffee enthusiasts.

When planning your trip, consider what type of coffee you love. Iowa has a growing specialty coffee scene, with many cafes offering single-origin beans and unique brewing methods. If you’re a fan of African coffee, for example, look for cafes that source their beans from the continent.

In addition to coffee, many Iowa cafes also offer a variety of teas and other beverages. If you’re not a coffee drinker, don’t worry – you’ll still be able to find something delicious to sip on.

When visiting a cafe, consider the seating options available. Some cafes have cozy nooks perfect for reading or working, while others have communal tables that encourage conversation. If you’re looking for a quiet place to work, make sure to check if the cafe has free Wi-Fi.

If sustainability is important to you, look for cafes that prioritize eco-friendly practices. Many Iowa cafes use compostable cups and utensils, and some even have their own gardens to grow ingredients for their drinks and food.

Finally, don’t forget to try a cappuccino or latte made with high-quality, locally-roasted beans. Iowa has a growing number of roasteries that take pride in their roasting process, resulting in delicious and flavorful coffee.

In summary, planning your coffee trip in Iowa is all about finding the right cafe or roastery that suits your tastes and preferences. With a little research, you’re sure to find a cozy spot to enjoy a hot cup of coffee or tea.

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