Top 10 Best Coffee Shops In Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines, the capital city of Iowa, boasts a vibrant and diverse coffee culture, offering a plethora of unique and charming coffee shops. Whether you’re a resident seeking your daily caffeine fix or a visitor exploring the city’s culinary scene, Des Moines has something to offer for every coffee enthusiast. From cozy neighborhood cafes to trendy artisanal roasteries, the city’s coffee scene reflects its rich history, cultural diversity, and commitment to quality and innovation.

Top 10 Coffee Shops In Des Moines, Iowa

  1. Java Joe’s Coffee House: Established in 1992, Java Joe’s is a beloved institution in Des Moines, known for its laid-back atmosphere, friendly staff, and excellent coffee roasted in-house. Located in the heart of downtown, it’s a favorite spot for students, professionals, and artists alike.

  2. Zanzibar’s Coffee Adventure: Tucked away in the historic East Village, Zanzibar’s offers a cozy retreat from the bustling city streets. With its eclectic decor, extensive menu of specialty drinks, and commitment to fair trade and sustainability, it’s a must-visit for any coffee connoisseur.

  3. Smash Park: More than just a coffee shop, Smash Park is a unique blend of coffeehouse, sports bar, and entertainment venue. Featuring a full-service espresso bar, craft cocktails, and indoor games like pickleball and shuffleboard, it’s a popular destination for socializing and unwinding with friends.

  4. Scenic Route Bakery: This charming bakery and cafe in the historic Sherman Hill neighborhood is known for its scratch-made pastries, artisanal breads, and locally roasted coffee. With its cozy atmosphere and outdoor patio, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a leisurely breakfast or afternoon pick-me-up.

  5. Mars Cafe: Nestled in the vibrant Drake neighborhood, Mars Cafe is a hip and trendy coffeehouse known for its creative menu, local art displays, and live music performances. Whether you’re craving a classic cappuccino or an adventurous seasonal specialty drink, you’ll find something to delight your taste buds here.

  6. Ritual Cafe: A fixture in the downtown arts scene, Ritual Cafe is more than just a coffee shop—it’s a community hub where locals gather to enjoy live music, poetry readings, and art exhibitions. With its cozy ambiance, vegan-friendly menu, and commitment to supporting local artists and musicians, it’s a beloved gathering place for creatives of all kinds.

  7. Smokey Row Coffee Co.: With multiple locations across the city, Smokey Row Coffee Co. has become a go-to destination for coffee lovers seeking quality brews and hearty comfort food. Whether you’re grabbing a quick latte to-go or settling in for a leisurely brunch, you’ll appreciate the cozy atmosphere and friendly service at any of their locations.

  8. Horizon Line Coffee: This sleek and modern coffee shop in the East Village is dedicated to showcasing the best of specialty coffee from around the world. With its minimalist decor, expertly trained baristas, and meticulously sourced beans, it’s a haven for coffee purists seeking the perfect pour-over or espresso shot.

  9. Grounds For Celebration: Since opening its doors in 1991, Grounds For Celebration has been serving up delicious coffee and baked goods to the residents of Des Moines. With its warm and inviting atmosphere, extensive menu of coffee drinks and teas, and commitment to using only the finest ingredients, it’s no wonder this local favorite has stood the test of time.

  10. Sisters’ Sludge Coffee Cafe: Located in the charming Beaverdale neighborhood, Sisters’ Sludge Coffee Cafe is a cozy and eclectic coffee shop known for its friendly staff, quirky decor, and delicious drinks. Whether you’re stopping in for a quick caffeine fix or lingering over a slice of homemade pie, you’ll feel right at home in this welcoming neighborhood spot.

Historical Overview

The coffee culture in Des Moines has deep roots that date back to the early 20th century when immigrants from Europe and Latin America brought their coffee-drinking traditions to the city. In the decades that followed, coffeehouses became popular gathering places for intellectuals, artists, and activists, providing a space for lively discussions and cultural exchange.

During the mid-20th century, the rise of chain coffee shops and diners began to overshadow the independent cafes that once flourished in Des Moines. However, in recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in specialty coffee and artisanal roasting, leading to a renaissance in the city’s coffee scene.

Today, Des Moines boasts a thriving community of independent coffee shops, roasteries, and cafes, each offering its own unique blend of flavors, ambiance, and hospitality. From cozy neighborhood spots to sleek and modern establishments, the city’s coffee culture continues to evolve and thrive, reflecting its rich history and diverse population.


One of the defining characteristics of Des Moines’ coffee scene is its diversity. Reflecting the city’s multicultural population, many coffee shops in Des Moines proudly showcase a wide range of coffee traditions from around the world. Whether you prefer a classic espresso or a bold pour-over, you’ll find something to suit your tastes at one of the city’s many cafes.

In addition to traditional coffee drinks, many Des Moines coffee shops also offer unique and creative specialty drinks that draw inspiration from international flavors and ingredients. From Mexican-inspired horchata lattes to Japanese-style matcha teas, there’s no shortage of innovative and delicious beverages to explore in Des Moines.

Furthermore, Des Moines’ coffee community is also committed to promoting diversity and inclusion within its ranks. Many coffee shops actively seek out and support minority-owned roasteries and farms, ensuring that their supply chains are ethical and equitable. Additionally, several cafes in Des Moines host events and initiatives that celebrate the city’s diverse cultural heritage, fostering a sense of belonging and unity among patrons and staff alike.


Coffee shops play a multifaceted role in the social and cultural fabric of Des Moines, serving as gathering places, community hubs, and centers of creativity and innovation. For many residents, coffee shops serve as a home away from home, providing a welcoming environment where they can relax, socialize, and connect with others.

Moreover, coffee shops in Des Moines often serve as incubators for local artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs, providing a platform for them to showcase their talents and build a following. Many cafes host live music performances, art exhibitions, and other cultural events, contributing to the city’s vibrant arts scene and fostering a sense of camaraderie among patrons and performers alike.

Additionally, coffee shops play a vital role in supporting local economies and promoting sustainable practices. By sourcing their coffee beans from ethical and environmentally responsible suppliers, many cafes in Des Moines are able to support small-scale farmers and promote fair trade practices. Furthermore, by providing a space for patrons to gather and socialize, coffee shops contribute to the vitality and vibrancy of Des Moines’ neighborhoods, helping to create a sense of community and belonging for residents of all backgrounds.

Coffee Shop Etiquette

While each coffee shop in Des Moines may have its own unique set of rules and customs, there are a few general etiquette guidelines that patrons should follow to ensure a positive experience for themselves and others:

  1. Respect the staff: Be polite and courteous to the baristas and other staff members. Remember that they are working hard to provide you with a great coffee experience, so show them appreciation and respect.

  2. Mind your manners: When enjoying your coffee at a cafe, be mindful of your noise level and behavior. Avoid talking loudly on your phone or engaging in disruptive behavior that may disturb other patrons.

  3. Tip generously: If you receive excellent service, consider leaving a generous tip for your barista. Tips are an important source of income for many coffee shop workers, so show your appreciation for their hard work and dedication.

  4. Clean up after yourself: When you’re finished with your coffee, be sure to dispose of your cup and any other trash properly. Keeping the cafe clean and tidy helps to create a pleasant environment for everyone.

  5. Be mindful of seating: If the cafe is crowded, try to be considerate of others who may be looking for a place to sit. Avoid hogging tables for extended periods of time and be willing to share communal seating areas with fellow patrons.

By following these simple guidelines, you can help to ensure that your coffee shop experience in Des Moines is enjoyable for both yourself and those around you.


In conclusion, the coffee shops of Des Moines, Iowa, offer a rich tapestry of flavors, cultures, and experiences for residents and visitors alike. From cozy neighborhood cafes to trendy artisanal roasteries, the city’s coffee scene reflects its diverse population, vibrant arts community, and commitment to quality and sustainability.

Whether you’re seeking your morning caffeine fix, a place to unwind with friends, or a platform to showcase your artistic talents, you’ll find a welcoming home in one of Des Moines’ many coffee shops. So grab a cup of joe, pull up a chair, and immerse yourself in the unique and vibrant culture of Des Moines’ coffee scene.