Coffee Shops in the Iowa City Area

I once had a friend tell me that she didn’t know who she would be without coffee, and her comment really resonated with me. I may have a massively huge and problematic slight addiction to vanilla lattes. The thing is, I grew up in a big city, fully equipped with a Starbucks on every corner. I never felt a strong inclination to get out there and explore any hidden gems in town, because town involved 4 million people, and the convenience of the corner drive-thru was too alluring.

But then I moved to Iowa City, and the availability of a huge coffee chain on every corner was a thing of the past. As I came to terms with my new reality, I realized that the Iowa City Corridor has a great selection of coffee shops and cafes, and I decided that it was time to branch out and explore all the caffeine our area has to offer. So if you are looking for the perfect place to grab a high-quality cup of coffee, meet a friend, host a low-key meeting, or change up your date-night plans, then look no further! This is your guide to coffee in the Iowa City area… because moms need coffee. Period.

coffee shops iowa city area


The Java House

211 E. Washington Street, Iowa City (plus 4 additional locations)

For 25 years, Java House has offered a great assortment of pour over coffees, espressos and specialty lattes, Ghirardelli frappes, and other sweet treats. Follow them on Facebook or sign up for text alerts to take advantage of all their great deals and specials. Find other convenient Java House locations on First Avenue and Mormon Trek Boulevard, and in the Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building and Iowa Memorial Union on campus.

The High Ground Café

301 E. Market Street, Iowa City (plus 2 additional locations)

Quality organic coffees and teas, smoothies, beer, wine, and made-to-order sandwiches and panini’s have been found at High Ground Café since they opened in 2013. They also have two additional and convenient locations in Coralville at Iowa River Landing and on 5th Street.

T. Spoons

201 S. Clinton Street, Iowa City

T. Spoons is located in the Old Capitol Mall and is a great place to drop in with kids or a group. For extra fun, be sure to brush up on your trivia and check out their festive seasonal drinks!

Prairie Lights Books & Café

15 S. Dubuque St, Iowa City

This place is packed with charm and it makes a great family outing! Grab a coffee and head downstairs to let the kids explore the children’s books. Prairie Lights coffeehouse section is located in the same space that the local literary society met throughout the 1930’s which hosted a slew of famous writers. The café serves single origin coffees at reasonable prices and has delicious fresh pastries.

Bread Garden Market

225 S. Linn Street, Iowa City

Bread Garden is so much more than a coffee shop but we couldn’t leave them off the list! Aside from the high-quality coffee and bakery, Bread Garden Market offers a delicious hot bar, wine bar, deli, cold-pressed juices, and a large variety of organic, conventional, and gourmet groceries. The enclosed patio is a year-round hot spot and it’s just steps away from the Iowa City Public Library and the ped mall playground, making it an ICMB team favorite!

Nodo Café

5 S. Dubuque Street, Iowa City
600 N. Dodge Street, Iowa City

There are two locations for this new favorite cafe: a downtown location and a Northside location. In addition to coffee, they have a breakfast and lunch menu of sandwiches, salads, soups, and wraps. The Dubuque Street location also has beer and wine!

Cortado Coffee & Café

26 S. Clinton Street, Iowa City

With a European-style espresso bar specializing in quality espresso drinks and drip coffee, Cortado is sure to please the most refined of palates! Their menu includes a full coffee bar, as well as breakfast, sandwiches, salads, and hummus.

The Encounter Café

376 S. Clinton Street, Iowa City

Whether you’re hoping to study or visit, The Encounter Cafe provdes a peaceful and comfortable atmosphere to relax in. They strive to use fresh, locally sourced, fair trade ingredients in their breakfast plates, paninis, wraps, smoothies, and coffee beverages.

Poindexter Coffee

210 S. Dubuque Street, Iowa City

Literary fans will love the author-approved decor at Poindexter Coffee, complete with a wall covered in more than 170,000 No. 2 pencils! Conveniently located on the first floor of the The Graduate Hotel in downtown Iowa City, this coffee shop offers hot breakfast sandwiches, fresh salads, coffee, smoothies, and more.

Dodge Street Coffeehouse

2790 N. Dodge Street, Iowa City

With a children’s play corner and friendly and welcoming staff, Dodge Street Coffeehouse is the perfect place to meet a few friends and relax and caffeinate while the kids play. Not only do they serve standard coffeehouse fare like coffee, espresso drinks, tea, and pastries, they also serve pre-made food from several local eateries. Oh, and did we mention they have a drive-thru?!

Dash Coffee Roasters

287 N. Linn Street, Iowa City

With a desire to “cultivate a community that gathers around a cup of meticulously crafted coffee and grows in relationship and life from there,” Dash Coffee Roasters is a welcoming space for people to gather and enjoy coffee and food. Rumor has it the Black and Gold cappuccino is life changing.

The Makers Loft

125 S. Dubuque Street, Iowa City

The Makers Loft, located in the Downtown Iowa City Ped Mall (right across from the splash pad), sells goods from Iowa makers, artists and artisans. While shopping is fun in itself, they recently added a new concept in coffee for the Iowa City area–a mini coffee shop with a walk-up coffee window that serves locally roasted coffee and homemade treats!


Winans Chocolates & Coffee

470 1st Avenue, Coralville

Located across the street from Iowa River Power Restaurant, this is the perfect stop to get your coffee and chocolate fix all at once! Winans has a variety of coffees brewed daily and a full espresso bar, along with an impressive spread of fresh handmade chocolates, pre-made gift baskets, and bagged coffee beans for the home brewer.

Press Coffee Co.

2201 E. Grantview Drive, Coralville

This shop specializes in french pressed coffee featuring local roasters and a wide-variety of smoothies and “healthier” options. With a cozy location with convenient parking, Press Coffee Co. combines the best of brewing styles with the freshest, locally roasted beans available.

Caffe Crema

411 2nd Street, Coralville

Caffe Crema offers great ambience and it’s a quick stop off the Coralville strip. With quality coffee and loose leaf teas, mix and match smoothies, and other specialty drinks, Caffe Crema is a drink-focused cafe with a variety of options.


Capanna Coffee & Gelato

710 Pacha Parkway, North Liberty

These gourmet coffees are roasted right at the store for supreme freshness. Plus, the gelato is hand-crafted daily with all-natural ingredients. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the store has a drive-thru–nothing is better than grabbing a cup of coffee without having to unbuckle a car seat!

Café Muse

565 Cameron Way, North Liberty

In addition to a range of coffees and teas, Café Muse also serves sandwiches and high tea! Added bonus: they’ve got wine, beer, and a fun list of coffee cocktails – as well as live music on occasion! You’ll love the drive-through option, but the bright, clean atmosphere inside is worth a visit, too!

Is your favorite Corridor coffee spot on the list? If not, tell us your favorite in the comments!


Caroline is an Arizona native who moved to Iowa in 2007 ‘for love.’ She and her husband live in Coralville with their 8-year-old daughter. Caroline works full-time at the University of Iowa and recently earned her MA in Higher Education Administration. Caroline is a self-taught sewer, fabric hoarder, Starbucks lover, wannabe graphic designer, and avid reader. Her greatest aspirations are to raise a kind, strong, and fearless girl and have a clean house.



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