Flavor: Italian espresso and a small daily menu that includes soups, salads, sandwiches, quiches and excellent baked goods from Take the Cake, as well as inventive smoothies with fresh ingredients. The More Amore is made with strawberries, banana, organic dark chocolate and cream and the Red Riding Hood includes strawberries, blueberries, organic vanilla yogurt and honey.
Flair: Owned by a co-op, Brutopia serves up locally roasted fair-trade coffee, which helps ensure basic human rights protections and fair payment to small coffee farmers around the globe. They also feature fair-trade tea, sugar and chocolate. Along with doing your part in making the world a better place, you get the hottest cup of coffee on Earth.
276 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, 513-861-4278. Open 7 days. $5-$7.
Flavor: Thirty-seven years before Starbuck’s made its way East, Coffee Emporium was mixing macchiato and spicing up cider in the Queen City. Owner and artisan roaster Tony Tausch seeks growers committed to sustainable farming practices and roasts the hand-selected beans in small batches to ensure optimal quality. Breakfast and lunch are served at the Over-the Rhine location, featuring grilled Panini sandwiches, melts and salads.
Flair: Walking into this roasting company, take a minute to breathe in the intense, hypnotic coffee scent. The modern downtown store is awash with coffee and tea smells. Scattered seats around the store are available for sitting and chatting, and a bar by the large windows offers refuge for the solo diners. The Hyde Park location is a diminutive Victorian with a quaint wisteria-covered arbor.
110 E. Central Pkwy., Downtown, 513-651-5483; 3316 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-321-5943. Open 7 days. $2-$7.
Rohs Street Café
Flavor: Rohs Street Café is a not-for-profit establishment that prides itself on coffee with a conscience, so you can feel good about your latte, pastry and soup. Have a light lunch while you overhear professors, students and other community members discuss the day’s issues.
Flair: Airy, spacious and bright, Rohs Street Café serves as a bookstore, an art gallery, a performance venue and a place for community and conversation. Check out its Web site for the week’s live music lineup.
245 W. McMillan Ave., Clifton Heights, 513-381-7647. Open Monday-Saturday. $1.50-$4.25.
Sidewinder Coffee and Tea
Flavor: The café offers a small collection of yummy items, as well as locally roasted fair-trade and organic coffees, spirits, espresso drinks and a large selection of blended and loose-leaf teas not found anywhere else. If you’re hungry, try some of their tasty treats, including cupcakes from the Sugar Cupcakery (made from all local ingredients) and vegan soups from Myra’s Dionysus.
Flair: When you’re ready to come over to the hip side, start in Sidewinder’s funky inside or courtyard. There’s acoustic music, semi-regular open mics and poetry slams. Check out the latest art exhibit, hook up your WiFi and answer your e-mail, then, fortified on the elixir of life (espresso), go forth and explore Northside.
4181 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-542-8321. Open 7 days. $1.35-$7.
Flavor: Sitwell’s is the little coffee shop that could, because it’s much more than just a coffee shop. They serve beer and liquor, excellent milk shakes and full meals. The same menu of homemade soups, sandwiches and baked goods has pleasing college kids and all kinds of liberals for years. The New York Egg Sandwich is the single most popular item on the menu.
Flair: Very Clifton-esque, Sitwell’s sports eclectic décor from all over the place, and it seems that no two chairs in the place are alike. Local artists have their work on the walls and their elbows on the tables.
324 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, 513-281-7487. Open 7 days. $4-$9.