Celebrating International Coffee Day locally

Ames is filled with local coffee shops offering unique food and drink options, making it a great place to celebrate International Coffee Day this weekend. Since 2015, Oct. 1 has been recognized as a time for coffee consumers to come together and support the businesses that offer it.

Many of these shops are located within walking distance of each other, so coffee shop hopping is easy. Most can be found in Downtown Ames, with others scattered around town.

Cafe Diem

One of the most popular shops is Cafe Diem, located in the center of Main Street. Being within walking distance of some Ames neighborhoods and apartments, they see a mix of residents and students who come in.

“Right now, the caramel apple butter is super popular. We’ve been going through a lot of it,” Morganne Dennis, Cafe Diem general manager, said. “Pumpkin spice is, of course, popular now too.”

Vinyl Cafe

Vinyl Cafe is a mix between a coffee shop and a record store. Just down the street from Cafe Diem, this locally owned shop is filled with records, trendy decor and classic music always playing.

While their menu has only drinks, there is a wide variety of iced coffee, tea and smoothies with flavor options that other cafes do not provide. Their unique specialty coffee drinks, including one called “Cherry Bomb,” are created by the owner, Blake Delaney, who is open to experimenting with flavors.

Morning Bell

On the opposite end of Main Street resides Morning Bell Coffee Roasters. Their sign out front showcases their title of “Best independent coffee shop in Iowa,” given by 24/7 Wall St. in 2020. Morning Bell is Iowa’s first workers-cooperative, meaning they are owned and managed by employees.

“I’d say our most popular drink is the Austin. That’s what we call it,” Max Wesley, a barista, said. “It’s a ginger molasses latte. Alexes are really popular, that’s a rose tea latte. And since we are a roastery, black coffee is always popular.”

Lockwood Cafe

Lockwood Cafe is farther west than most of the others, located on Reliable Street. Their outdoor seating, street art and flavorful crepes bring in morning customers from all over Ames.

“We’re really known for our Chai, it’s a good go-to,” Megan Bird, barista, said. “Which I know is not necessarily a coffee drink, but people like adding the espresso to make it one.”

Other popular cafes around Ames include Cafe Milo, Burgies, Daytime Diner and Clouds.