1. Introduction
    2. Third Wave Movement
    3. List of Coffeehouses
      1. City of Rochester
      2. Regional
    4. See Also
    5. Links


Coffeehouses, (aka Coffee Houses) typically focus primarily on serving brewed coffee and related beverages, particularly tea. They also distinguish themselves from other retail outlets serving coffee, tea and other beverages, such as cafes and diners, based on their role for social interaction - where people meet to socialize, build community, develop business, and/or hold events.

Many establishments may have a strong coffeehouse section or may cater to social interaction but offer too broad a range of services to qualify as a Coffeehouse.

See a detailed history and discussion of the subject, [wikipedia]Coffeehouse on Wikipedia.

Coffehouses are a places to chill, to write, to draw, to think, or to express oneself. Independent coffehouses are typically furnished with unmatched furniture, exposed walls, and local artwork. Many have wireless internet access. The sounds of soft conversation, espresso machines, and music provide atmosphere. And, oh yes, they have good coffee too.

In Rochester, coffeehouses usually have espresso, cappuccino, latte, iced coffee, teas, flavored chais, fruit smoothies, Italian sodas, and many other concoctions in addition to coffee. Almost all coffee houses have pastries such as muffins, scones, biscotti. The establishments with full menus may have a traditional coffeehouse section, but are really cafes or restaurants. A few coffeehouses in Rochester serve beer and wine. Most offer Fair Trade brews.

Many of the coffeehouses around Rochester have at least one open mike night where musicians can play, poets can emote, or comedians can try to make you laugh.

Third Wave Movement

In recent years several coffeehouses in Rochester have opened as part of the [wikipedia]Third Wave of Coffee. The movement has been described as a

Third wave coffeehouses take their craft very seriously. They typically [wikipedia]source directly from small, individual farms and roast their own beans with a lighter technique to bring out the different flavor profiles. For brewing, they offer alternative methods such as French Press, AeroPress, Chemex, and pour-over. "Scales are used, high-tech machines are dallied with, beans are discussed like expensive bottles of wine - this is coffee on the next level."2 Unlike most second-wave places like Starbucks, third-wave coffee shops do not offer flavored coffee, flavor shots, coffee smoothies, or dessert-like coffee drinks (i.e. Frappuccinos).

Though usually found in big cities, the third wave took root in Rochester when Joe Bean opened in 2011. Fuego Coffee Roasters arrived two years later, followed by Glen Edith Coffee Roasters and Ugly Duck Coffee, a pop-up operation. The Art Museum of Rochester's cafe also considers itself third wave. Altogether, Rochester has quite possibly the best local coffee culture in the state outside NYC.

When asked to define what makes a shop third wave, baristas from these coffeehouses agree that it is ultimately about the people: from the farmers who grow the beans to the knowledgeable server behind the counter.3

Of course, specialty brewing methods mean you will have to wait longer - sometimes as much as five or ten minutes - for the barista to prepare your cup. But it's worth it, we promise!

List of Coffeehouses

* - Roast their own beans.

City of Rochester

The University of Rochester Official Bookstore at College Town also has its own 2,000 sq-ft coffeehouse and cafe.


See Also



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How is this different than Cafes? — TobinFricke

2005-08-30 11:15:45   Coffeehouses are just the latest in drinking establishments that have become [WWW]"the third place" in american culture. While there are many different feels and styles of coffee houses worldwide, the American coffeehouse in the 21st century are clearly descended from the espresso and pastry centered Italian-American coffeehouses, by way of the 'beat-nick' coffeehouses of the 1960's. Liquor laws, and the feeling that many bars 'push' drinks on people has helped make coffeehouses a part of communities across the United States. — FarMcKon

2005-09-17 04:31:51   Refer to the first paragraph - coffeehouses could be a subset of cafes - but cafes can be places that just serve food and drink —TomKaminski

2005-11-01 13:12:57   Contrasting the first paragraph [now under History], the second gives latitude for “beer and wine”, and some coffee drinks include alcohol or alcohol-base flavoring. Dual categories with near duplicate listings are confusing. The categories are vague, and should be reorganized. Interestingly, Frontier Yellow Pages has a category for “coffeehouses”, but not “cafes”. —JohnLam

2005-11-01 16:21:11   In the old sense of a coffeehouse, it's not what the place serves, it's the sense of community & expression that goes on there. The idea of a coffeehouse is a place to meet - often there is a community there like Perks on Tuesday nights (musicians) or Java's on Monday nights (musicians & poets). They have local art on display. A Cafe is a place to eat - no "community" there. A Rochester asset, each of these places has a vibrant community - the same people spend hours there there every week. Starbuck's doesn't have that. —TomKaminski

2005-11-09 04:10:20   I have a complaint about the local coffeehouses though. I like really strong coffee and I have yet to find a local coffeehouse that has a really strong blend. It seems watered down. Many have "Witches Brew" and "French Roast", but it comes nothing close to what you can get at Starbucks (i.e. Ethiopian) or Panera Bread. Sorry. Comment here if you find a local place with strong coffee. —TomKaminski

2006-01-05 00:31:01   I agree with Tom on the strength of brews. The closest I've come to a strong brew is StarryNites "doppio" Espresso. Starbucks machines are wicked expensive and it takes about a minimum $7,000 investment to extrude that "panic-attack" like strength of Starbucks line of coffees. Talk to "Cole" on the 2nd floor of Midtown mall and his Seattles Best kiosk. Though not a coffeehouse, he will try to give you the "community" all himself and easily the taste and strength of Starbucks. (note: a "small" is $1 only) —JayPeek

2006-04-18 08:29:19   Coffeehouses can serve alcohol. Cafes can serve food, but they permit no mingling and have no community. Starbucks is not a coffeehouse. Okay? I think i understand? —JohnLam

2006-04-18 08:58:34   I believe this needs to be reworded. The idea of a coffeehouse is where a group of people come together regularly - artists, poets, musicians, political activists, gamers, board game players. Most coffeehouses have a stage or an area designated as a stage. Both coffeehouses and cafes have (local) art on the wall, but a coffeehouse may have a night where artists present their work. Cafes are more for socializing. Both serve beverages and food. I don't think the point is what they serve, it's the theme of the place. Rochester is unique in that we have many of these type of places. Buffalo, for example, does not (has SPoT and PeopleArt). —TomKaminski

2007-01-11 20:26:30   The difference is in the intent. If the business focuses itself around the coffee, then it's a coffeehouse. If the focus is on the food, then it's a cafe. Witness the difference between Spot and Starry Nite's. —DaveMahon