Warm Welcome at Local Coffee Shops

posted on Monday, December 28, 2020

Local coffee shops are warm and inviting...Cup of Joe, Cedar Falls

Cup of Joe, Cedar Falls Downtown District

Coffeehouses have long been fruitful places of discussion, literature, and musical arts. The likes of JS Bach, Voltaire, Beethoven, and Benjamin Franklin all proclaimed the importance of regular coffee drinking to their lives and creativity. Coffeehouses also provide a sanctuary from the weather, a place to sit and relax between meetings or events, and hot or cold drinks to perk up even the weariest traveler. Here in Cedar Falls, we are lucky enough to have several local coffee shops, each offering a different flavor and ambiance to the community.

Dave Malam performs at Cup of Joe in Cedar Falls, IowaCup of Joe

Since 1995, Cedar Falls has been enjoying Cup of Joe, a coffee establishment unique in every way. Their décor includes mannequins clothed in vintage thrift-store gems, a mismatched array of colorful vintage furniture, and ever-changing displays of art from local and regional artists. Beyond surface aesthetics, Cup of Joe is a business with a mission and a whole lot of heart. On the mission page of Cup of Joe’s website, they assure guests: “You can sip our coffee knowing that we are committed to fair practices.” Cup of Joe serves delicious coffee that doesn’t harm the earth or its people. They also serve decadent treats made by local bakers and use local Hansen’s Dairy products in their drinks.

The atmosphere of Cup of Joe is one that’s good for getting together with friends, reading quietly, or making progress on that novel you’ve been putting off. They have a long-standing Thursday night tradition of live music from Hands of Time Quartet, a group of world-class jazzers. Cup’s long history has given them time to develop a number of fantastic and imaginative coffee drinks you won’t be able to find anywhere else. After decades, Cup of Joe continues to be an inextricable part of Cedar Falls’ historic downtown.

Cup of Joe in Cedar Falls, Iowa

Cup of Joe, Cedar Falls Downtown District

Sidecar Coffee

On the other side of town is a coffee shop equal in quality, but wildly different in aesthetic: Sidecar Coffee Shop. Sidecar’s interior décor is all sleek and modern. Their walls host rotating art available for purchase, a pop of color and interest in an otherwise elegantly understated space. Located just next to UNI’s campus, the atmosphere of the shop is paradoxically lively and studious. During the school year faculty and students can be found sharing a cup of coffee while discussing courses, and year-round there are people using Sidecar Coffee Shop as a place to work, read, or chat while enjoying first-rate coffee and treats.

The history of Sidecar is short and sweet: in 2013 a successful local coffee roaster got together with some friends to start the shop, which immediately became a hotspot on College Hill. Sidecar offers a number of coffee and espresso drinks, as well as beer, wine, made-from-scratch bakery items, and sandwiches. Sidecar’s coffee beans are fair trade and locally roasted, and you can even buy a bag to go when you stop by the shop. They also have a coffee shop in Waterloo on Ridgeway Avenue and at Grand Crossinga coffee truck and a second location in Cedar Falls at 1st and Hudson Road, and as of 2022, a third location in Cedar Falls can be found at 924 Viking Road.

Sidecar Coffee Shop in Cedar Falls, Iowa

Sidecar Coffee, College Hill

Cottonwood Canyon "The House"

Also in Cedar Falls is Cottonwood Canyon, The House. Located at 419 Washington Street, the lower level of this lovely home has been converted into a quaint coffee shop. Order breakfast, lunch a pastry or just settle in with a big cup of freshly brewed coffee and enjoy a little reading. You'll enjoy your visit (or order lunch to go). And did we tell you it's conveniently located near downtown Cedar Falls? 

Cottonwood Canyon, The House is a new coffee shop in Cedar Falls and conveniently located near downtonw Cedar Falls Cottonwood Canyon "The House", Cedar Falls Downtown District

Sarah's Espresso Cafe and Scooter's Coffee

Two new coffee shops in the Cedar Falls are Sarah's Espresso Cafe and Scooter's Coffee, both locate in the Cedar Falls Downtown District. Sarah's Espresso Cafe features specialty coffees such as the Winter Spiced Latte and a drink in tribute to her grandfather, the Orange Julius. She has breakfast, lunch and pastries available, too. Scooter's Coffee on 1st Street is a cute little shop, perfect for you morning, drive-through pick-me-up!   

Whether you’re in town for an hour, a week, or a year, Cedar Falls’ local coffee shops are waiting to welcome you with one-of-a-kind tastes and experiences. Come enjoy the quiet of a morning coffee break or the lively spirit of a night of live music at Cup of Joe and Sidecar Coffee Shop in Cedar Falls!


Would you like to find more coffee and tea shops and Places to Eat & Drink? Contact the Cedar Falls Visitor Center for more information at 319-268-4266 or stop by and see us at 6510 Hudson Road in Cedar Falls. We're open M-F from 9am - 5pm, but our vestibule offers brochures and maps 24/7.

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Guest blog post by Hannah Carr-Murphy, updated by staff on 12-19-2022.

Sidecar Coffee, College Hill

Sidecar Coffee Shop in Cedar Falls, Iowa

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