For a town that boasts more restaurants per capita than New York City, Ithaca does not provide many options of coffee shops. There are only three spots where the main output is coffee, and around six other locations that serve a variety of coffee drinks. Interestingly enough, there are many upstate New York coffee roasteries, whose beans are used in Ithaca though few have their own cafes. College students generally require coffee to function, and especially as it gets colder and greyer, caffeine becomes even more necessary. Over my two years in Ithaca, I have tried the coffee at almost every cafe, breakfast spot and farmers market stand. There are many high quality brews across town, and I thought it would be most helpful to recommend specific drinks at certain locations. In addition to the cafes listed below, there are a few others that serve great coffee (Dolce, Angelhearts Diner, the Cat Cafe). Go forth and drink coffee.
Gimme Coffee: Cappuccino
In my opinion, Gimme Coffee makes the best espresso drinks of anywhere in Ithaca. Gimme serves a limited drink menu, the majority of those being espresso drinks. Their espresso is strong and dark, with a very distinct taste. The cappuccino is small but perfect for getting caffeinated.
Press Cafe: Maca Lattes
Press Cafe is a small coffee shop just beyond the Commons, which many people do not know about. They also have a limited menu and use a few local brands of coffee beans. Press makes two maca lattes: The mocha maca latte and the vanilla maca latte. These drinks are absolutely delicious and bring another element of flavor to a latte. I cannot single out the maca flavor, but the taste of each latte is very distinct. Their espresso is smooth and rather sweet. Press uses Forty Weight espresso beans; Forty Weight has a stand at the Farmers Market and makes amazing cold brew during the warm months. The maca lattes at Press Cafe are a must try.
Chatty Cathy: Chai Matcha Latte
Chatty Cathy’s coffee menu stretches all the way down their chalkboard and their options are overwhelming. But, the standout has to be their chai matcha latte. The flavors are well-balanced and none too overpowering. The matcha is smooth and slightly sweetened, and the spicy chai is a perfect complement. If you like tea lattes, this is the drink for you.
Collegetown Bagels: The Catwoman
My feelings on CTB are controversial: I am not a fan of their coffee or espresso. The coffee is weak and the espresso’s flavor is mediocre. The only coffee drink I would willingly order is their cold brew, but it is a tad watery. However, CTB offers a variety of tea drinks which are creative and unique, as there are few other tea spots in Ithaca (boba excluded). The Catwoman is an earl grey tea with lavender and vanilla syrups. This drink is warming and calming, with the sweet lavender flavor to add interest to a plain base. It might be my favorite CTB purchase ever.
Melanie Metz is a junior in the College of Human Ecology. She can be reached at [email protected].