Coffee is one of the most beloved beverages throughout the country. Yes, many people rely on coffee to give them the energy and spark to get through just about every day, but people also savor the flavor and the creativity that can be had with coffee. From shots of espresso to frappes to flavored lattes, it’s one of the most versatile beverages. That’s why National Coffee Day, celebrated on Sept. 29, is a celebration of all that there is to love about the drink.
National Coffee Day isn’t only about celebrating the caffeinated beverage, it’s about celebrating the people who produce it and make it possible for us to function on most days. What better way to celebrate them than by visiting an independent coffee shop in the Milwaukee area? The city and its surrounding suburbs are home to numerous women-owned coffee shops and cafes at which female entrepreneurs provide coffee drinkers with everything from unlimited drip coffee to internationally inspired lattes.
From long-standing community favorites to new, trendy options, here are 11 women-owned coffee shops in Milwaukee and its nearby suburbs to help keep you caffeinated throughout the day.
2640 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Milwaukee
One of the staples of Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood is the Hi-Fi Cafe, a retro diner and coffee shop that’s been operating in the neighborhood for close to three decades. The cafe has been open since the mid ’90s but was purchased by current owner Mary Hart and her partner Peter Frederick Steinhoff in 2003. The long-standing cafe is as well-known for its large neon sign as it is for its lengthy coffee and food menu. Customers can choose from more than 17 coffee drinks as well as 12 different flavor shot options.
3385 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Milwaukee
Just down the street from HiFi, another one of MIlwaukee’s standouts is Sprocket Cafe, which opened in 2016 and is co-owned by Gwenn Barker and Juliet Popovic. The cafe serves up drinks in 12-ounce, 16-ounce, and 20-ounce sizes, including its Oaxacan Latte, which is made with a Mexican-style hot chocolate called Abuelita’s chocolate. In addition to its abundance of caffeinated beverages, Sprocket also serves up deli sandwiches, bagels, and baked goods. For customers looking to replicate their Sprocket experience at home, the coffee shop sells 12-ounce bags of its coffee beans to go.
Escuela Verde’s Newline Community Cafe
3618 W. Pierce St., Milwaukee
Plenty of teenagers work as baristas for early employment experience, and that’s certainly the case at Escuela Verde’s Newline Community Cafe, which is operated by students and staff at Escuela Verde, a public charter school in Milwaukee. The cafe offers students an opportunity to experience running a small business while also serving up coffee drinks like lattes, cold brew, and espresso, plus tea and a rotating menu of seasonal drinks. The cafe opened up in a convenient location for the students and staff that run it, directly next to the school, in 2021.
The National Cafe
839 W. National Ave., Milwaukee
As all good cafes should, The National Cafe, located in the Walker’s Point neighborhood in Milwaukee, has free refills on its drip coffee. But that’s not the cafe’s only beverage option—its coffee menu has standard favorites including cappuccinos and lattes, plus more creative fare like the restaurant’s Mexican mocha, which contains espresso, steamed milk, chocolate, cinnamon, and ancho. The cafe doesn’t only serve up coffee, though, it also features a large menu of brunch favorites like French toast and breakfast burritos. Don’t worry about dietary requirements here, either. Almost everything on the cafe’s food and coffee menus can be made to be vegan or vegetarian.
Divino Gelato Cafe
227 W. Main St., Waukesha
245 Main St., Racine
95 N. Moorland Road (Brookfield Square Food Court), Brookfield
Divino Gelato Cafe’s name may center its gelato but that doesn’t mean it’s not serving up an impressive array of coffee beverages as well. Owned by Lori Lester, the coffee shop has three locations in the Milwaukee suburbs—Brookfield, Waukesha, and Racine. Each shop offers up the standard fare you’d find in any coffee shop as well as Italian-inspired coffee treats like affogato, a scoop of gelato drowned in a shot of espresso. Divino Gelato Cafe also scoops up more than 100 different flavors of gelato to satisfy your sweet tooth.
La Finca Coffeehouse
3558 E Sivyer Ave., Saint Francis
Owned by sisters Janeth and Lizeth Zorilla Sanchez, La Finca Coffeehouse—which in Spanish translates to “the farm”—has been serving up caffeinated beverages in suburban St. Francis since 2017. The coffee shop takes a lot of its flavor inspiration from Mexico, with drinks like the cafe horchata, which, as the name suggests, combines the shop’s cafe clasico with a glass of horchata; and the Mazapan latte, which melts Mazapan candy in the drink. On top of its wide array of beverage choices, La Finca Coffeehouse also sells burritos, quesadillas, and paninis.
Miss Molly’s Cafe & Pastry Shop
9201 W. Center St., Milwaukee
Miss Molly’s Cafe & Pastry Shop owner Molly Sullivan has a background as a pastry chef, but that doesn’t mean her Milwaukee cafe doesn’t also serve up a great cup of joe. Sullivan has been selling pastries under the name Miss Molly since 2012, and opened up the cafe and pastry shop in 2017. The cafe serves up Milwaukee-based Anodyne drip coffee plus a full espresso bar, serving everything from a shot of espresso to seasonal lattes.
The Little Village Play Cafe
6505 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa
It’s always nice to have some time for yourself while enjoying your favorite caffeinated beverage at a coffee shop, but what if you basically never have time for yourself because you’re a parent? The Little Village Play Cafe in suburban Wauwatosa comes in handy for overwhelmed parents. The cafe is part coffee shop, part gift shop, and part playspace for kids. The indoor play space, which has toys, games, and jungle gym equipment, costs $6 for 30 minutes of playtime and $9 for an hour. As for adults, the cafe has a full espresso bar, which is just as fun.
Urban Beets Cafe & Juicery
3077 N. Mayfair Road, Suite 120, Wauwatosa
5091 W. Brown Deer Road, Brown Deer
Coffee isn’t always a healthy option—with added sugar-laden syrups and whipped cream toppings, it’s easy to rack up the calories in a single drink order. That’s not the case at Urban Beets Cafe & Juicery, a vegan coffee shop and cafe that makes healthy eating a priority in the creation of its menu. Owned by Dawn Balistreri, Urban Beets Cafe & Juicery has a lengthy coffee menu, including cold brew, espresso, and mocha drinks, as well as seasonal favorites like the pumpkin spice latte. The cafe and juice shop has two suburban locations—one in Wauwatosa and another in Brown Deer.
Mama D’s Coffee
104 W Main Street, Wales
928 N Hartwell Ave., Waukesha
Mama D’s Coffee has two locations in Milwaukee’s western suburbs. Owner Diana Markus opened up the first Mama D’s in Wales in 2012, then branched out with a Waukesha location in 2015. The coffee shop has a lengthy menu of espresso and non-espresso drinks, as well as a packed food menu that features all-day breakfast, sandwiches, wraps, and baked goods. People don’t just come for the food and drinks, the coffee shop’s Wales location also has live music from local musicians every Thursday night.
Piece of Love
6768 W. Lincoln Ave., West Allis
While Piece of Love in suburban West Allis primarily specializes in cakes—both for special events or when you’re just in the mood for cake—it also has a creative coffee menu. Owned by Ana Gonzalez, Piece of Love’s lengthy coffee options range from drip coffee to an elegantly designed affogato. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, don’t forget to pick up something from the bakery and coffee shop’s extensive baked goods collection, which includes everything from cake slices and whole cakes to cheesecake cupcakes and tiramisu cups.
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