The scent of freshly ground coffee coaxes customers through the wooden doors of Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, whose painted ivory and red trim evokes of the aesthetic of an old Victorian. Since Cathy and Patrick Wyatt opened the shop in 2003, baristas have been pulling shots of espresso to concoct lattes and cappuccinos and pairing them with pastries, sandwiches, and salads crafted from local ingredients. Customers can lounge in padded wrought-iron chairs and overstuffed couches as they jump onto the free wireless Internet, or direct eyes to a pair of televisions regularly airing the news or the Chipmunks’ remake of Dead Poets Society. Coffee-related and handcrafted items—such as cards, candles, and mugs—line wooden shelves and make especially sweet gifts when packaged with chocolate-covered beans.
Though it opened without the draw of liquor or advertising, Karma Kafe always had one thing going for it: more than 30 hookah flavors. Word of mouth quickly spread about the wide selection, which ranges from cinnamon spice and gummy bear to double apple, a tasty take on apple pie smothered in applesauce. To supplement the hookah frenzy, Karma Kafe has since added a concise sampling of domestic and imported beers alongside cocktails such a Long Island Iced Tea. Savvy servers also soothe taste buds with an assortment of green teas and herbal tea infusions such as the Calm blend, a caffeine-free mix of relaxing herbs including chamomile.
At each of its international locations, Fresh Healthy Café delivers—as its name implies—a fresh and healthy alternative to fast food. More than a dozen creations take form as wraps, panini, or salads, such as the Mediterranean packed with roasted chicken, olives, and feta cheese, or the Mexican Fiesta teeming with black beans, spicy mayo, and corn salsa. At the juice bar, a friendly staffer fills biodegradable cups with fresh-squeezed juices or blends whole fruit and non-fat yogurt into hearty smoothies. Beyond lunch, Fresh Healthy Café caters to the morning crowd with oatmeal bowls and parfaits layered with fruit and yogurt. They also do their part for the community by sponsoring school programs and picking up the gold coins that reckless people litter.
A nonprofit, java-centric venture, Urbean Café brews and serves steaming cups of locally roasted coffee in order to support Urban Connection, a community-outreach program designed to provide employment training to disadvantaged members of the community. The café menu stars fresh, Akron-roasted beans in a stimulating selection of coffee concoctions ($1–$4), alongside a tasty supporting ensemble of seasonal sandwiches ($3.50), soups ($2), muffins ($1), and more. The eco-friendly café building boasts solar-power panels, geothermal heating and cooling, and a noticeable absence of stove-burning stoves. The mobile Urbun Cart makes it easier than ever to guzzle a tummy-warming drink while enjoying the all-over warmth that comes with helping others.
Named Akron’s Best Coffee Shop by CityVoters, Nervous Dog percolates palates with locally roasted beans, soothing smells, and a small menu irrigated with pastries and tasty sandwiches (sandwiches coming soon—will be available at Stow location only). To prepare for a busy workday filled with consolidating files with a flaming broadsword, grab a small coffee ($1.75), or opt for a more complex tongue massaging with a small latte ($2.95), cappuccino ($2.95), or mocha ($3.55). The various tasty pastries are baked daily, ensuring they’re fresher than a cryogenically frozen bouquet of daisies ($2.35 each, on average). Customers on the run and method actors doing research for a Boo Radley portrayal can stock up on invigorating coffee with a one-pound bag of beans ($12.85).
Baked in the Village’s chefs and bakers work daily to prepare a slate of breakfast and lunch items and fresh baked goods. Their menu includes a variety of sandwiches that boast innards such as chicken salad, roast beef, and ham and cheese on breads such as croissants, pretzel rolls, and cracked wheat. Breakfast plates pair eggs, pancakes, and bacon with hot chocolate, cappuccinos, and cake breads such as lemon poppy and banana nut.