Coffee lovers take note: There’s more to Wisconsin sips than craft microbrews and cold-hardy grape wines. The state also holds a surprising number of buzz-worthy roasteries that serve up delicious coffee with noteworthy style. Stop by any of these one-of-a-kind Wisconsin cafes with your crew for a tasty experience you can only get here.
Colectivo – Milwaukee, Madison
A longtime coffee hub in metro Milwaukee with additional locations in Madison and Chicago, Colectivo has been sourcing coffee beans directly from their places of origin since 1993. Drop into one of their modern, brightly-colored locations with friends, and you’ll discover that their quality, hand-roasting process coaxes out each bean’s unique flavor profile. Find Madison’s locations on lively State Street and in the hip Monroe Street Neighborhood, while in Milwaukee you’ll have a view of Lake Michigan or access to an intimate concert venue. Pair your drink with one of their artisan breads and pastries, which are made from scratch daily at its sister business Troubadour Bakery.
Wonderstate Coffee – Viroqua, Madison and Bayfield
Imagine a 100 percent solar powered roastery, a focus on fairly paid farmers, a commitment to sustainable agriculture, and a lineup of almost all organic coffees to make you and your coffee- loving friends feel especially energized about consuming an amazing cup. Welcome to Wonderstate Coffee. With its sun-powered roastery in Viroqua providing freshly roasted beans, Wonderstate’s cafés — located in Viroqua, Madison and Bayfield — also boast food offerings that showcase ingredients sourced close to each location. What’s more: Every year, Wonderstate donates five percent of its profits to community-based initiatives in coffee-growing countries to support a more equitable and resilient future.
Ruby Coffee Roasters – Stevens Point
The buzz around the idyllic burg of Nelsonville, population 125, has grown among coffee connoisseurs thanks to Ruby Coffee Roasters, owned by the husband-and-wife team of Jared and Deanna Linzmeier. Originally from the Badger State, Jared was a temporary transplant to the specialty coffee industry in the Pacific Northwest. When the couple decided to make their home in Wisconsin, they brought with them the finer points of the West Coast coffee culture. Personal visits to farms in Latin America, from which Ruby sources its beans, have deepened their coffee expertise. Stop in with your friends at the namesake café in Stevens Point to see what the buzz is about. As you visit over your steaming brews, soak up the college town vibes and enjoy work from local artists that line the walls.
The Coffee Grounds – Eau Claire
Enjoy two Wisconsin specialties at one special spot at this café attached to a microbrewery. At The Coffee Grounds in Eau Claire, the owners say it isn’t unusual for loyal customers to arrive at 11 a.m. for a mug of hot craft coffee before strolling next door to K Point Brewery for a pint of cold craft beer with friends. Patrons of the coffeehouse and brewery also frequent the shop’s large retail space that features Wisconsin cheeses, fine wines and cigars. You can’t help but smile over their welcome message which reads: All Your Favorite Vices.
Avant Cycle Café - Lake Geneva
Cycling and coffee make for a perfect pairing at Avant Cycle Café in Lake Geneva. Owner Jeremiah Fox blends a love of full-flavored coffee — personally roasted by Fox at sister shop Lake Geneva Coffee Roastery — with a love of robust biking in southern Wisconsin. Each roast bears the name of a local bike trail, and each bag features a scannable code to a map of its route. If you and your traveling companions share a love of coffee and cycling, join the regular Sunday morning group ride — typically 15 miles round-trip, with a stop midway for breakfast. Upon return, reward yourselves with selections from Avant’s healthy all-grain cookies, reviving cups o’ joe and friendly bike chatter.
Kavarna Café & Coffee – Green Bay
Before sustainability was a mainstream thing, Kavarna Café & Coffee in Green Bay was already embracing sustainable practices and a strong sense of community. Open since 1999, Kavarna roasts its coffee on-site using a net-zero wind-powered roaster, and the beans are sourced from growers who meet the owners’ sustainability standards. On any given day, you might find a book club gathering or LGBTQ Alliance meeting happening on the lower level of the shop while the main level bustles with happy customers savoring items from the all-vegetarian menu and pours of the popular Kavarna Blend. Regular weekend performances by local music students further enhance the atmosphere. Join in the camaraderie in this spacious community living room — you’re bound to find a welcoming table, nook or corner for you and your friends to enjoy Wisconsin’s coffee culture.
Searching for more special morning spots? Check out these 7 stops for unforgettable Wisconsin breakfasts.