The Internet says there’s a “National ___ Day” for just about everything, but we’re really excited about National Espresso Day, which is this Wednesday, November 23rd. Ithaca has plenty of great cafés where we can celebrate!
Downtown Ithaca features a great selection of cafés, including The Shop. At the foot of the Seneca Street hill just off the Commons, this combination tattoo parlor and coffee shop makes a point of individually brewing each cup of coffee as it’s ordered, if you’re after drip coffee. Of course, they have multiple espresso roasts to choose from, too.
A couple of doors west from The Shop is the downtown branch of Collegetown Bagels. There’s a CTB downtown, at East Hill Plaza, and of course in Collegetown, and their sister Ithaca Bakery shops are in the west end and the Triphammer Marketplace. Enjoy just a shot of espresso or a latte, or if you’re in the mood for a cold drink, try Jeff’s Java Jolt — an iced quad shot of espresso with sweetened cocoa powder and milk, for those moments when a double espresso just won’t do.
Just past the opposite corner of the Ithaca Commons, at the entrance to Press Bay Alley, Press Café focuses on just one thing: excellent espresso drinks. They have a small selection of baked goods, too, but what we love most about Press Café is the tiny glass of sparkling water that comes with each shot of espresso.
A couple of blocks away in the Gateway Commons building is the downtown branch of Ithaca Coffee Company. Also at the Triphammer Marketplace, Ithaca Coffee Company is one of the two big local coffee roasters, with a roastery on Ithaca’s northside, and they often have creative seasonal espresso drinks, like the recent caramel pumpkin white mocha.
The other big local coffee roaster is Gimme! Coffee. They’ve expanded with award-winning cafés far beyond the Finger Lakes, but they’re still a top choice around here, whether you hit their Fall Creek location on North Cayuga Street, their west end spot on West State Street, their campus kiosk in Cornell’s Gates Hall, or the original café up in Trumansburg.
On the Cornell campus, in addition to that Gimme! kiosk, Cornell Dining operates a dozen cafés featuring Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters or Starbucks espresso drinks, or even west-coast import Peet’s Coffee at Café Jennie in the Cornell Store. There are also independent cafés in Mann Library, Klarman Hall, and Cornell’s law school.
Also up the hill you can pay a visit to the Carriage House Café in Collegetown, which brews drip coffee and makes espresso drinks from the outstanding Copper Horse Coffee Roasters coffee. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, they have a “Cappy Hour” deal, $2 cappuccinos and $3 lattes, from 10am-noon.
At the opposite end of Collegetown, on the way to East Hill Plaza, find the Coal Yard Café, a cozy shop with a gas fireplace, comfy armchairs, and delicious handmade espresso drinks, with a fun variety of handmade syrups available.
Getting a head start on your shopping at the Ithaca Mall? You’ll want a few minutes to relax in a comfy armchair with a handmade latte at Unwind Café.
All of these cafés will be open long past National Espresso Day, but this seems like as good an excuse as any to go enjoy one of them. Or two.