Due to age-old stereotypes, some people believe you can’t find a good cup of coffee in Utah, but you can. Indeed, the Beehive State has a lively coffee culture. These local establishments aren’t merely duplicating the caffeine scenes in other metropolises – they’re creating something unique, embracing the nuances of Salt Lake City and an underground culture coming to the forefront.
Want to know where University of Utah students head to sip triple espressos, snack on freshly made vegan pastries and hummus and play chess until the wee hours of the morning? Salt Lake Coffee Break. It’s a cozy, rather than fancy, coffee shop and cafe that feels like a real community hub, especially among the city’s hip young crowd. You can expect all the usual coffee choices, as well as a rich, velvety Turkish coffee and unique creations such as an irresistible caramel macchiato.
Feeling like one of those coffee shops where the characters of a 1990s teen movie might meet, Nostalgia Café is brimming with homey, wholesome charm. You’ll find eclectic, locally created art adorning the walls, students typing away at their laptops with a cream-topped hot chocolate on the go and indie music buzzing in the background. As well as high-quality coffee, it makes great food, including sweet and savory crêpes and breakfast bagels.
The name of this place seems pretty appropriate for an eating establishment that majors in high-quality dishes such as sushi-grade ahi tartare, wagyu steak and almond-crusted steelhead salmon. In other words, there’s nowhere else like it – from the cool and contemporary industrial-style interiors to the impressive commitment to local, first-rate ingredients, including the coffee. It’s addictively good and definitely in a niche of its own.
The tag line for this cute little Greek-themed coffee shop, south of the city center, is “coffee made to please the gods.” And we can only assume that the gods have a taste for experimental and unusual brews, as that’s what Kafeneio does best. According to the menu, Ares’s choice of hot beverage (each one is named after a Greek god) is a butter-rum cinnamon latte drizzled with caramel, while Zeus’s is a thunderous combo of six shots of espresso, frothed cold milk and cinnamon.
In the tradition of true alchemists, the folks at Alchemy Coffee turn what they touch into pure gold. One sip, and you’ll be a convert to their magic touch. The atmosphere is laid-back, but it has a hard-rock vibe as well, complete with skulls and an affinity for the Grateful Dead. Along with great coffee, the food gets rave reviews too. Grab your favorite java, and rock out with a slice of freshly made quiche.
Alex Allen contributed additional reporting to this article.