The Best Cafés in Madison, Wisconsin

Latte Art
Latte Art | © Fair Trade Coffee House

Whether looking for a caffeinated pick-me-up to help push through busy days or a cozy spot to relax with friends, Madison’s café scene won’t disappoint. With many locally owned coffee shops in Wisconsin’s capital city, there are a number of excellent options to choose from for your next brunch or study break.

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Fair Trade Coffee House

Cafe, American

Fair Trade Coffee House | © Courtesy of Fair Trade Coffee House
© Fair Trade Coffee House

Living up to its name, Fair Trade Coffee House serves coffee that is 100% fair-trade certified, single origin, and organic. Conveniently located on State Street, this independently owned coffee shop also serves up a delicious selection of food, including many gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. The café, which is dedicated to serving the local community, also showcases the work of local artists on the walls and often hosts performances from Madison’s finest musicians.

Johnson Public House

Cafe, American

Johnson Public House is a welcoming community space serving its own home-roasted KIN-KIN coffee. From local art to arcade games, the décor regularly changes, but the vibe always stays the same. It’s a great family-owned place where you can enjoy a relaxing cup of joe and support a Madison micro-roasting company at the same time.

Bradbury’s Coffee

Cafe, American

Macchiato at Bradbury’s Coffee | © Timothy Vollmer/flickr
© Timothy Vollmer / Flickr

Sustainability is a key principle behind Bradbury’s Coffee. Their coffee comes from Kickapoo Coffee in Viroqua, Wisconsin, and they use locally sourced, seasonal ingredients to prepare the food offered on their rotating menu. They make a point of creating a community atmosphere and making everyone who comes through their doors feel like family.

Sunroom Cafe

Cafe, Vegetarian, Vegan, European

Sunroom Café on State Street | © Corey Coyle/WikiCommons
© Corey Coyle / WikiCommons
Sunroom Cafe is a hole in the wall on State Street, but it is one of Madison’s favorite cafés. They offer excellent vegetarian and vegan breakfast options as well as other types of European-inspired fare. All of their pastries are made fresh daily on-site and pair perfectly with a simple cup of coffee.

Indie Coffee

Cafe, American

Indie Coffee is considered to be one of the best coffee shops in America. Its bold, rich coffee and large tea selection provide an incredible amount of choice for crafting your perfect beverage. Be sure to try their famous waffles and experience the outdoor zen garden if the weather is pleasant. A proud supporter of indie films and music, Indie Coffee also exceeds expectations when it comes to the array of live events that it hosts.

Michelangelo’s Coffee House

Cafe, American

Michelangelo’s Coffee House | © Courtesy of Michelangelo’s Coffee House
© Michelangelo’s Coffee House

Just steps from the state capitol, Michelangelo’s Coffee House has been serving the downtown Madison area for over 20 years and is proud to still be independently owned. To ensure the best coffee possible, they prepare small-batch brews and use only fair-trade, social-conscious coffee. By enjoying a coffee at Michelangelo’s, you’ll not only get your caffeine boost but also be helping to support small coffee farmers.

Hellbachs Coffee House

Cafe, American

Hellbachs Coffee House is both a café and coffee roastery. The café has a very cozy vibe that will make you feel right at home. The bakery items are freshly made from scratch with the mantra “if it’s not homemade, it’s not worth eating” in mind. The coffee is freshly ground, making sure all of its flavors are the most vibrant. While their coffee is exquisite served black, they also offer a number of specialty drinks that are must-tries when craving something sweet.
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