Coffee is very much a part of my life. I run on coffee. So, when I’m traveling, I start my day with coffee. These last few years of travel blogging, I’ve started noticing a trend as I seek out my coffee: Cute shops in even the smallest towns. It’s not just the bigger cities hogging all the Instagrammable coffee shops. I asked around among other Midwestern travel bloggers, and they all have come across the same thing – charming small town coffee shops.
What made each appealing varied. Some of us liked the look and the atmosphere of the place. Others shared a place that had a good story behind it, like the coffee shop that’s in an old Episcopal church that Roosevelt once attended. And the coffee, the coffee was also a big reason to love these coffee shops in the Midwest. So, here’s a round-up of our favorite small town coffee shops in the Midwest.
Bean Broker Coffee House
Where: Chadron, Neb.
What makes it special: Bean Broker Coffee house is one of the most charming coffee shops to stumble upon in Nebraska (and I’ve been to quite a few). I liked it so much, I included it as a little tip to keep in mind if you’re visiting nearby Chadron State Park.
You just want to linger in this cafe housed in an historic building that’s filled with art and funky decor. The coffee is outstanding, and while I didn’t get to try any, the menu looked good.
On top of coffee, it’s also serves alcoholic beverages and has live music.
The Bodacious Brew
Where: Janesville, Wis.
What makes it special: The attention to detail—the honey latte is flavored with local honey made less than 10 miles away, and the vanilla syrup is made in-house with Mexican vanilla. The Bodacious Brew serves Verve Coffee, which purchases directly from farmers to ensure that the beans are ethically sourced and environmentally sustainable. There’s a menu of 12 different coffee varieties, each of which is described by flavor profile so that you can be sure to order something you like.
Stacy from Tangled Up In Food recommended this coffee shop. Read her write-up about Janesville and her visit to Bodacious Brew here.
Where: Dickinson, N.D.
What makes it special: The Brew is one of the most unusual coffee shops Alicia from Prairie Style File has ever seen. It’s housed inside what was once a tiny Episcopal Church where President Theodore Roosevelt worshiped when he lived and ranched in the badlands near Dickinson, N.D., in the 1880s. (You can see evidence of the building’s past life everywhere – a stained glass windows here, a wooden pew there…)
The coffee is fabulous (and ethically sourced), the loose leaf tea selection is impressive (black, green, herbal, oolong and gunpowder) and the salads and sandwiches on the menu are hearty and delicious. Save room for dessert – the staff bakes fresh goodies like gooey caramel rolls, scones and a selection of classic Midwestern bars every day.
This coffee shop was recommended by Alicia from Prairie Style File, who wrote about this unique place (check out the photos!) in this post.
Where: De Soto, Kan.
What makes it special: What sets the expertly-prepared craft coffee at Cause Coffee apart from most other coffee shops is that it’s prepared by an all-volunteer staff. From the baristas to the busboys, the team at Cause Coffee donates their time and talent to give back to the global coffee community. When you step inside the beautifully restored, 100-year-old building that houses Cause Coffee, look for a small blackboard sign to your left. There you will see the Cause Coffee cause of the month. So far the coffee house has helped a school in an impoverished area of Nicaragua, supported a home for abused children, donated to Kansas City’s homeless community, and established a clean water in Uganda.
Sage from Everyday Wanderer recommended this Cause Coffee, and really dives into it in her post about it.
Where: Clawson, Mich.
What makes it special: This coffee shop a few miles northwest of Detroit was recommended by Dominique over at Midwest Guest because it fit her need for being both indie and active in the community. It’s location is a plus – near other locally-owned restaurants – and there’s free parking. It sits on Main Street and has an outdoor patio. A quick glance at Kahve House on Facebook and I can tell it’s a very welcoming space.
The Main Cup
Where: Milford, Ohio
What makes it unique: This unique and quaint place is located in the heart of Old Milford. Revamped by new darling owners they have incorporated a love of books, coffee and baked goods into one lovely coffee shop. The scones are to die for and the coffee is the best in town.
Stephanie over at Consistently Curious recommended this coffee shop. It’s not too far from her stomping grounds of Cincinnati.
The Milady Coffee
Where: Fremont, Neb.
What makes it unique: Housed in the historic May Brothers Building in downtown Fremont, everything about the decor of Milady Coffee screams “Take my picture.” It’s Instagrammable, for sure, but it also has great coffee and locally made treats to back it up.
Where: Broken Bow, Neb.
What makes it unique: Prairie Grounds Cafe and Gifts. Small town charm. Delicious breakfast and lunch items. Fun variety of hot and cold beverages. How can you go wrong when one seasonal option is “Lime in the Coconut Mocha”?
Gretchen from Odyssey Through Nebraska recommended this coffee shop and wrote about it (and shared some cute pictures) in her post about Relaxing Through Nebraska.
Roscoe’s Coffee Bar & Tap Room
Where: Richmond, Ind.
What makes it unique: Roscoe’s is located in Richmond’s revitalized Historic Depot District and is a favorite among locals and visitors. They feature organic and fair-trade coffee drinks, plus craft brews and sandwiches. The ambiance is cozy with original brick walls, wood floors, and tin ceilings. With their comfy chairs and couches, this is a place where you can relax, sip coffee and enjoy time reading, chatting with friends, or working on your computer.
Nancy from Visit Richmond told me the thing she liked most about Roscoe’s is the atmosphere!
Royal-Tee: Tea With A Mission
Where: LeClaire, Iowa
What makes it special: OK, so this place is more about tea than coffee (but surprise – I also like tea). Cindy from Visit LeClaire told me about it, and it sounds pretty unique among this list. Royal-Tee is a shop next to a church that the minister and his wife run. It is in a quaint, old house and all their profits go to their ministries. They have great loose-leaf teas (84), coffee, and other items made in Africa for sale. They are very friendly and their helpers are all volunteers.
Three Story Coffee
Where: Jefferson City, Mo.
What makes it special: One of Three Story’s missions is to introduce coffee drinkers to the coffee producers. The shop works to connect customers to the farmers’ stories through the coffee they purchase. Three Story Coffee has two locations in Jefferson City. One is tucked into the backdrop of Missouri’s Capitol and the other location is in one of the historic districts. They have an impressive menu of cold brews, house-drip coffees, lattes, cappuccinos, and delicious scones.
To learn more about Three Story Coffee, visit their website.
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Saturday 17th of November 2018
Thanks so much, Kim, for the shout-out for Royal-Tea in LeClaire, Iowa! They have cupcakes now, too! There is so much fun stuff to do in LeClaire after you grab a tea or coffee including shopping, dining, and touring the Buffalo Bill Museum or Antique Archaeology - home of the American Pickers!
Sunday 18th of November 2018
Thanks for the update, Cindy! I love a having a good cupcake with my coffee.
Friday 7th of September 2018
Try Carne's Collective I'm Blair for a great coffee house and the you can wonder down to BraTae Boutique for cute clothing finds!
Friday 7th of September 2018
I will! Thanks for the tip.