My Coffee Passport: Favorite Iowa City Coffeehouses
Updated: Nov 9, 2021
coffee (n.): survival juice
For anyone who knows me, I love coffee. That’s not news. I also am a superfan of finding local coffee shops whenever I travel. I’d like to kick off a new series for my blog called, “My Coffee Passport”. In this series, or what I hope will become a series, I’ll share some of my favorite coffeehouses both near and far.
As you may know, I’ll be moving from Iowa City at the end of the month, so I’m taking some time to reflect on this place that I’ve called home for the past 10 years. We’re kicking off the series with (a rather long list of) my favorite coffee destinations in the Iowa City metropolitan area.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Wild Bill’s Coffee Shop
Favorite Drink: Drip Coffee
Wild Bill’s earns the first place in this post because of it’s mission. From their website:
"While Bill’s Coffee Shop is a service learning project in the School of Social Work at the University of Iowa.
The coffee shop is operated by community members with disabilities, thus providing:
Employment opportunities for persons with disabilities
Opportunities for UI students to gain experience and understanding working with persons with disabilities
A service amenity for those who enjoy the food and hospitality”
Favorite Drink: Pour Over
Cortado is a beautiful European-style espresso bar that specializes in properly prepared, high-quality espresso drinks and drip coffee. They also have a wide assortment of pastries and Mediterranean-inspired sandwiches, soups, and salads.
The Java House
Favorite drink: Monster Cookie Frappé
The Java House is an Iowa City staple. Not only do they have wonderful coffee and pastries to choose from, but they are a premier near-campus study spot.
Winans Chocolates + Coffees
Favorite Drink: Toasted Almond & Raspberry Latte
Winans is a chain of independently-owned stores with a wide assortments of chocolates and coffees. It’s become a tradition in our house to stop by Winans before we go out to do our grocery shopping on the weekends.
The Encounter Café
Favorite Drink: S’Mores Mocha
This Mennonite-run coffeehouse advertises themselves as having fresh ingredients, making all their baked items from scratch, and providing a lovely ambiance for family and friends. It is for these exact reasons that this has become one of my favorite places in Downtown Iowa City.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to grab one of their cinnamon rolls while you are there!
Favorite Drink: White Mocha Latte
T.Spoons is a local favorite because of it’s location and outstanding customer service. Located right in the heart of the University Capitol Centre, this coffee shop is a quick grab-and-go place for anyone working in the building. They even do catering for local events and field trips!
Dodge Street Coffeehouse
Favorite Drink: Oat Milk Latte
This adorable (and quite hidden) coffeehouse is an all-time favorite of mine. Located on the northeast side of Iowa City, this cute little shop has delicious coffee, pastries, and Molly’s Cupcakes!
Favorite Drink: Mexican Hot Chocolate
Prairie Lights is a bookstore located in the heart of Downtown Iowa City. This lovely bookstore has a hidden gem–the caffeshop on the second floor. They proudly serve Stumptown single origin coffees and Stumptown’s Hairbender espresso. If you aren’t in the mood for a coffee, they also have a nice assortment of teas and adult beverages!
Favorite Drink: Purple (Taro Root) Latte
This is a very comfortable drink shop in Coralville, Iowa. They market themselves as a “drink-focused cafe” with may different specialty drinks, including bubble tea. Not only do they have delicious drinks, this place was a favorite study-spot when I was working on my PhD. The barista is super friendly and creative, so you really can’t go wrong here!
Favorite Drink: Pour Over Coffee
High Ground is a local favorite that’s always bustling with business. A local favorite place for writers and the like, they now have three locations across the Iowa City metropolitan area. They also have a huge menu of food and adult beverages, so they are a nice stop regardless of the time of day!
Favorite Drink: Drip Coffee
I only recently found out that this cafe is part of a “chain” of them found in Graduate Hotels. If I am being completely honest, they don’t have my favorite coffee, but the ambiance of the place is amazing. If you get the chance to visit, look closely at the wall. Their walls are made of No. 2 pencils that were hand-glued on. It’s a beautiful aesthetic and a comfortable place to grab a coffee with friends or solo!
This wraps up my list of favorite coffee shops in Iowa City. I’m moving to Champaign, Illinois at the end of the month, so if you know of any local cafes to check out, be sure to let me know!
What’s your favorite coffee spot and why? Share in the comments below!