With master brewing & inviting ambiances galore across the region, Buffalo’s independently-owned cafes aren’t just for caffeine lovers anymore.

by Katie Johnson

‘Cause I’m all about those beans, ’bout those beans, ’bout those beans …

Throughout history coffeehouses have been these great social hubs, a place for the brightest intellectual and artistic minds to meet, debate and caffeinate. Much like the city, Buffalo has seen a renaissance of thoughtful, intimate cafes still iconized by this energetic pace. With mastered brewing and inviting ambiances galore, across the region exploring Buffalo’s independently-owned cafes isn’t just for caffeine lovers anymore.

Green Beans For Roasting

Green, pre-roasted coffee beans

For all serious coffee makers sourcing and roasting the best “green coffee beans” is the key to quality coffee. “Green beans have a shelf life of about a year, but if I drank a natural Ethiopian that was roasted three months after the harvest versus one year after harvest, you’re going to taste the difference,” says Nick Mirusso, co-owner of The Bean Bastard on Elmwood Ave. When harvested from the fruit tree coffee beans are green, the roasting process turning them into the various shades of brown we are used to seeing. “We’re planning to roast in house here with a state of the art coffee roaster called a Bellwether,” a machine known for optimal temperature control, key for developing the flavor profile of the beans.

Ambiance and Aperitif

Caffe Aroma serves up a large variety of coffee options in a cozy, relaxed European-style ambiance

​While it’s mostly still about the beans, local coffee culture has taken a cue from the Europeans, expanding their vibe as well as food and drink offerings. Caffe Aroma on Elmwood Ave.—the original— runs their European-style cafe with espressos, local beers, wines and light bites since 1995. Public Espresso + Coffee, one of the most popular Buffalo cafes following suit, now serving made-to-order brunch and burgers along with fresh roasted coffee and hand-shaped donuts.

Coffee Community

The famed fig tree shows up for it’s close-up at Five Points Bakery and Cafe

“The success of the cafe, those small independent shops, really speaks to the quality of the people that live here, and that they care about that kind of thing,” said Kevin Gardener, co-owner of Five Points Bakery and Cafe. “I think that Buffalo has a lot of really remarkable people.”

Five Points Bakery and Cafe, widely known for their locally sourced and in-house made breads, takes an ethical approach to everything they do—from sourcing coffee beans to caring for Buffalo’s largest fig tree. “We got almost 2,000 figs this year . . . it has its own Instagram . . . people come in and like, every day, somebody’s asking about the fig tree . . . it becomes something to remember the place by . . . it creates memories that go beyond just a cafe outing.”

WNY’s Independent Cafes + Coffee Shops

Whether you’re a coffee drinker or not, the joy filled experience of an afternoon at a Buffalo cafe is not one to be missed. Check out some of our independently owned coffee shops and tell us which one is your favorite.

1. The Daily Planet

North Buffalo’s iconic coffee spot serving fair trade, organic and bird friendly coffees & tea, along with a farm-to-table produce cafe.

2. Spot Coffee

With 9 local Spot Coffees across the region, this micro-roaster must be doing something right. The “Mike Sandwich” doesn’t hurt either.

3. Overwinter

Downtown’s latest coffee roaster & espresso bar serving up single origin coffees sourced from around the globe.

4. Steamworks Coffee

Lockport’s passionate, small batch, bean to brew cafe.

5. Purrfect Cafe + Gallery

Buffalo’s O.G. spot for those that like coffee with their cats.

6. Tea Leaf Cafe

Check out the two locations offering loose-leaf and bubble teas, plus an espresso bar with Asian small plates.

7. Caffe Aroma

Buffalo’s longest running, independently owned coffee shop in Elmwood village serving up european cafe vibes all day long.

8. Remedy House

More than a caffeine pitstop, this Five Points’ cafe is beautifully packaged with coffee, espresso, pastries, small plates and a full bar.

9. Grindhaus Cafe

Pour over coffee, espresso, loose leaf tea and plant-based eats found in the heart of Allentown.

10. Undergrounds Coffee House + Roastery

A funky little spot serving up speciality coffee and bites in the Old First Ward.

11. EM Tea Coffee Cup Cafe

“The Poetry Place” with killer coffee and small plates.

12. Public Espresso + Coffee

Looking for fresh roasted coffee, hand shaped donuts, made-to-order brunch and burgers? Head to one of Public’s locations in South Buffalo or Downtown.

13. Buck Minster’s Cat Cafe

A dynamic space for cat and coffee lovers alike on the west side.

14. Five Points Cafe + Bakery

A cheery bakeshop with local whole-grain breads, pastries and of course, coffee.

15. Breadhive Bakery + Cafe

A co-op bakery with housemade bagels, pretzels, breads, gourmet eats, plus specially brewed coffee.

16. Roots Coffee + Tea

Curated, seasonal coffees and espresso from the quality-focused and single-origin roasters at Overwinter Coffee.

17. Golden Cup Coffee

Richly brewed coffees, roasted from 100% Arabica Beans. Oh yea.

18. Mon Ami Cafe + Bakery

French style eatery serving breakfast, lunch, handmade pastries and fresh brewed coffee.

19. Jam Parkside

Along with fresh food and drinks, JAM features a coffee menu crafted from locally roasted Tipico Coffee.

20. Wonder Coffeehouse

Hot coffee and espresso with a side of homemade waffles.

21. Lancaster Coffee Co. + Cafe

Lancaster Village’s colorful cafe with thoughtfully crafted lattes and small plates.

22. Clarence Center Coffee Co. + Cafe

A relaxing, bohemian Clarence cafe serving up gourmet coffee, tea, imported beers and wines as well as fresh plates.

23. Goodrich Coffee & Tea

A Clarence gem sourcing quality beans from all over the world and roasting small batches in-house.

24. Tipico Coffee

A local world-class roaster and vibrant cafe in the Elmwood village.

25. Kornerstone Cafe

Family owned and operated with two locations, Kornerstone has been roasting coffee since 2010..

26. The Bean Bastard

Coffee with an edge, enjoy their in-house roasted brews and local food.

27. Elm Street Bakery

A quaint East Aurora cafe serving up all things local.

28. Prima Oliva

A Hamburg hotspot filled with small plates, handcrafted lattes and imported olive oils.

29. Steamworks Coffee

A Lockport joint roasting some of the world’s best green beans to perfection.

30. Taste Bistro and Coffee Bar

An East Aurora cafe filled with artwork, espresso and sustenance.

31. Cafe 59

Enjoy their coffee, sandwiches, vegan fare and comfy furnishings in Allentown.

32. Orange Cat Coffee Co.

An offbeat coffeehouse in Lewiston with a full espresso bar, baked goods and lunch fare. No cats.

33. Ashker’s

Hit up any of Ashker’s four locations for healthy eats and locally roasted coffee.

34. Foibles Coffee & Pie

More fresh coffees, pies, quiches and tarts are finding a home at Five Points.

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