9am Ithaca Coffee Company

Photograph by Liz Clayton


Every great adventure begins with a good cup of coffee.

I’m fairly certain those were Juan Valdez’ final words, though I wasn’t there so don’t quote me. Or him. As addictions go, America has come to love the dark black. Sure, we’ve added some cream and sugar over time, even found a way to make coffee into a milkshake and ramp up the price to just shy of a green Abraham Lincoln, even when a normal cup of coffee only costs a few of the copper variety of the Great Emancipator.

I’ve ridden a bike leant to us by our gracious hosts and explored every cafe this city has to offer. The ooze of freshly baked morning deserts and bread fill the long lines that form in the Ithaca Bakery. Collegetown Bagels brings the greasy, delicious breakfast sandwiches and mascot touting sweatshirts galore. Gimme Coffee! drips excellent local chain caffeine in a clean, sterile environment. The Shop houses a tattoo parlor in the back of their funky little coffehouse, my favorite in terms of ambience and the likelihood of seeing guys dressed in belly shirts (if you’re into that sort of thing). Of course, there’s a Starbucks in town.

The single greatest cup I’ve had in this fair little city though has come from Ithaca Coffee Company, though. Why? Well, I’ll first have to admit that the location we visited, which hangs just east of where Green Street and Seneca swirl around to loop the Commons, isn’t the coziest place. If your idea of the perfect coffee shop involves couches and a girl playing her acoustic guitar, you might be a little let down by the decor of this particular shop. However, if you’re just straight up looking for great tasting coffee that’s been roasted in house (they actually do their roasting at their Triphammer location, which we didn’t have the chance to visit), this is the place for you.

If Billy Mays was writing this article though, here’s where he’d drop his infamous “But wait, there’s more!” on you. In addition to pushing great cups of the ol’ Joe, the store also serves as a tavern featuring craft brews and fine cheeses from around the world. You could literally start and end your day here.

Drop in, grab a cup and whether you want to take it with you while exploring the city or just sit back and wait for happy hour to roll around, we’re pretty sure you’ll leave adequately caffeinated from the experience.