A cup of 'Cuse

With exams, all-nighters and long days right around the corner, here is a list of some of Syracuse’s serious brews worth sipping.

Syracuse may boast basketball and an endless snow season, but let’s not forget about the authentic coffee shops that surround the Syracuse University hill. Whether it is a house blend type of night, or a high-speed latte serving as your morning jolt, this city is brewing it all. But each café offers a unique blend, and some blends are always worth buying. 

Funk 'N Waffles Dirty Chai 

Cup: Funk 'N Waffles owner Adam Gold recommends this chai latte with three shots of espresso for any customer. This chai is best for a morning start paired with their waffles or a plain bagel.

Corner: 727 S. Crouse Ave. 

Clock: Open Mon-Tue 8:30 a.m - 4 p.m.; Wed-Fri 8:30 a.m - 11:30 p.m.; Weekends 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Crowd: Known for both locals and Syracuse University students. Funk 'N Waffles allows for a quiet scene in the morning, where many people study on the comfy couches and corner tables. Wednesday through Friday, it often hosts live music, and the café stays open until midnight.

Cost:  $3.75 for a 12 oz.

Cafe Kubal's Mocha Latte 

Cup:  According to Cafe Kabul’s barista Katie Huntington, Kubal’s mocha latte provides the perfect taste for any chocolate and coffee lover. “It remains velvety and thick all the way through, rather than just from the foam at the top,” she says. Kubal hand crafts its own chocolate mix from cocoa powder, raw sugar, and sea salt instead of any artificial chocolate syrup or Hershey mix. 

Corner: 3530 James St.

Clock: Open Mon-Fri 6:30 a.m. - 7 p.m.; Sat 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. 

Crowd: Anyone who loves authentic drip coffee to go should visit Kabul. It attracts mainly locals and it is also known for its daily homemade soups and aioli sauce. 

Cost:  $3.25 for a 12 oz. 

(Photo: Joanna Weinstein)

Freedom of Espresso's Iced Coffee House  

Cup:  Franklin Square’s Freedom of Espresso’s toddy filter system allows for a perfect blend of sweetened iced coffee without any flavor or sugar. Barista Gabrielle Romano believes it to be the café’s most popular drink, ordered even during the winter by regulars. This coffee will not have you running to the nearest toilet either, as its toddy system helps those with high acid reflux or other stomach issues.

Corner: 115 Solar St.

Clock: Open Mon-Sat 6 a.m. - 7 p.m. 

Crowd: Franklin Square’s location sets up a student study atmosphere surrounded by a ton of brews. Set up with a large lounge, lamps, and many outlets, some students treat Freedom as their second library.

Cost: $2 for a regular iced coffee

Recess' Crazy Shawn

Cup: Recess’ Crazy Shawn is a mocha cappuccino with peanut butter. The idea was adopted from the owner’s favorite drink at Zoe’s, a popular coffee shop once on Marshall Street. This best seller mixes mocha and peanut butter, with an espresso and cappuccino flare.

Corner: 110 Harvard Place

Clock: Open Tue-Sun 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Closed Mondays 

Crowd: Students conceive Recess to be for the punk rock eclectic college crowd on Westcott, but Owner Jesse Daino disagrees. “It’s more of a laid back study lounge that a lot of kids visit to get work done in a quiet environment,” says Daino. Recess has an outside patio and two large rooms inside with desk lamps, corner tables, and couches.

Cost: $ 3.75 

(Photo: Joanna Weinstein)

Phoebe's House Blend

Cup: Phoebe's Restaurant and Coffee Lounge's house blend comes from Creekside Brewery in Skaneateles. Its fresh flavor and affordable price makes it very popular, according to barista Shannon Knickerboxer. 

Corner: 900 E. Genesee St. 

Clock: Open Sun-Fri 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Sat 11:30 a.m. - 9 p.m. 

Crowd: Anyone from students to locals. Phoebe’s attracts many SU theatre students and is a popular coffee and dining spot for families and couples

Cost: $ 1.50 for a 12 oz.

Stronghearts' Cafe Blend

CupStronghearts' house blend from Recess makes for a stronger than your average cup of joe. With a splash of soymilk, barista Chris Johnson deems this to be the best selection at the bar.

Corner: 719 E. Genesee St.

Clock: Open Mon 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Tues-Thur 8 a.m. - 12 a.m.; Fri-Sat 10 a.m. - 2 a.m.; Sun 10 a.m. - 12 a.m.

Crowd: Johnson believes it attracts a younger crowd of students due to its late- night hours. Many locals and families also come on weekends.

Cost: $ 1.25 for a regular cup

Empire Brewing Company's Black Magic Stout

Cup: More than just caffeine spikes Empire Brewing Company's black magic stout. Made of 4.8 percent alcohol volume of Irish dry stout, it offers coffee and malt with a thickness most similar to Guinness beer. 

Corner: 120 Walton St. in Armory Square 

Clock: (bar hours) Open Sun 12 p.m. to last call; Mon-Sat 11:30 a.m. to last call

Crowd: Middle-aged locals come here during the week, but students tend to crowd the bar Friday and Saturday nights.

Cost: $5 for all beers on tap

Forty Weight Coffee Roasters

Cup: Cookin in the ‘Cuse blogger, Reverend Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows recommends Forty Weight Coffee Roasters for those who prefer home brewing. It’s a small batch, full on flavor. This fair trade blends come from Guatamala, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, and Sumatra, allowing for continuous bean variety at home. Founder Andrew Ballard sets up shop with grinders and press pots to produce a drip station for all customers to taste the best blend before they buy.

Corner: CNY Regional Market, 2100 Park St.

Clock: Saturday Mornings

Cost: 12 oz bag: $12.50; 2lb bag: $25; 5lbs: $63

Good article

It warms my heart to see an article on Syracuse coffee that does not include *bucks or DD. I would corroborate many of your recommendations.

Happy Holidays!

Second Story

I agree whole-heartedly with the above comment. Second Story was my coffee shop away from home whilst I was in Syracuse.

Tea and a sandwich there are perfectly complemented by a drink across the street at Taps. Two Westcott gems.

I can't believe Second Story

I can't believe Second Story isn't on this list. It's hands-down the best coffee shop in Syracuse, not only because their drinks are yummy, but also because their food is awesome and it has the best atmosphere for relaxing with a book (or, sure, studying), with awesome music playing over the speakers all the time.

Go to Second Story!! Have a cup of tea for me, now that I'm 3,000 miles away.

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