The matchas at these local cafes are the perfect swap for coffee.
26 S Clinton St, Iowa City
This modern streamlined coffee shop across from the Pentacrest in downtown Iowa City has plenty of seating as well as a sidewalk patio in warmer months. Beyond just a winning atmosphere, Cortado succeeds with delightful drinks executed by skilled baristas. The matcha latte is one of the best in the area––deliciously sweet and creamy with a slight vegetal tang. It’s great hot or iced, making the drink a potential go-to for all seasons. If tea is not your thing, trust that all menu selections are excellent. Perhaps a namesake cortado, made from espresso and steamed milk?
301 1/2 Kirkwood Ave, Iowa City
This amazing breakfast and lunch café, named for its dedication to tea, puts as much attention towards their beverage menu as they do to their food menu. Available for afternoon tea with a reservation, Leaf Kitchen also makes a mean green tea latte: bright, grassy green and perfectly smooth with a frothy foam finish. The servers behind the counter know how to whisk up a good one. Order one after you’ve finished your last bite of brunch; you’ll end on a sweet note and get a caffeine buzz without those coffee jitters.
Prairie Lights Café
15 S Dubuque St, Iowa City
The second floor of the Iowa City literary institution is home to not only regular readings by visiting authors, but also some of the city’s most inventive drinks. The café’s tea selection is well-rounded and their coffee and espresso drinks allow them to shine. For a refreshing pick-me-up in the warmer months, an espresso tonic can’t be beat. If you’re on the hunt for matcha, have one of the baristas whip up a Matcha Man Latte: a green tea latte with fresh ginger and vanilla. Even with the typical zip from fresh ginger, the drink remains balanced and smooth, blending bright flavors into a drink that is creamy and sumptuous.
Dash Coffee Roasters
120 3rd Ave SW, Cedar Rapids
Opened in November 2017, this new coffee shop perks up the growing Kingston Village neighborhood of Cedar Rapids. Housed in a restored 1920s-era building, the store front’s large windows allow a flood of natural light to stream in. The shop boasts craft coffee drinks in an urban chic setting and roasts their own coffee beans in the back. In addition to expertly crafted coffee and espresso drinks, the matcha latte at Dash gets two thumbs up, blending quality green tea powder with the milk of your choice for a frothy, creamy drink. If you’re looking for something novel, order their Unicorn Latte topped with colored sprinkles and gold dust. It’s a bit much, but when you’re feeling a little “extra,” it could be just what you’re after.
345 S Dubuque St, Iowa City
The chai latte at Fair Grounds Coffeehouse is a can’t-miss. Fair Grounds is a comfortable, forest-feeling place with dark green walls and a plethora of potted plants. It has a somewhat quieter, homier feeling than many of the cafés in the thick of downtown Iowa City, removed from the Ped Mall bustle by just a block. Along with a spicy, very strong chai, they also serve many other hot drinks along with a selection of classic breakfast foods and sandwiches.
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Little Village is an independent media company based in Iowa City. In print since 2001, our mission is to create visibility for the communities, businesses and events that define our region. Support Little Village →