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Columbia's Favorite Local Coffee Shops

Columbia's Favorite Local Coffee Shops


Since its grand opening in ‘92, Lakota has been a well-known Columbia staple for providing both remarkable coffee as well as a place to connect with locals and visitors alike. The interior of the coffee shop flaunts an impressive dose of originality. Its brick walls date back to the 1920’s and the tables and chairs are hand-made from Hickory trees. Tribal patterned tapestries decorate the brick and create a cozy atmosphere that makes any patron feel at home. Lakota’s 25lb in-house roasting machine from San Francisco is sure to impress the taste buds of those new to coffee and experienced coffee drinkers alike. They specifically roast their coffee beans longer than most, around 12-18 minutes, to get that unique flavor that is so highly praised. Lakota’s staff are coffee educators. The shop sources their beans from high elevations across the world, keeping in mind: the higher up the bean, the harder the shell, the better the flavor. Lakota believes in making every cup from the “perfect grind” of coffee beans. They know everything there is to know about the cup they serve you; from the origin of the bean and the roasting time to the grinding process and type of brew. Self serve water and free wifi make this a hotspot for students, freelancers and remote workers to relax and get stuff done. Overall, Lakota is a town favorite for its welcoming yet productive atmosphere.

The Grind

The Grind is both a place to casually catch up with friends and a study haven for students. The study bar is prime seating for those wanting to grind out some work and get ‘er done. During finals season, the shop has extended hours to give students a place to study off-campus. For those looking to relax and catch up with friends, there are cozy couches to settle into while sipping on your custom cup of coffee.The location of the Grind’s two coffee shops are on the north and south sides of Columbia. The Grind saw all of Columbia’s local shops were concentrated downtown. They wanted people from all directions of Columbia to have a place to grab an excellent cup of coffee without having to go downtown. This coffee shop supports the Mizzou Tigers with their “black and gold” drip coffee. The Grind offers a wide variety of coffee drinks that can be custom made, making them completely personalized with fun flavorings and add ons. Their menu features drinks unique to their shop as well as local favorites. Left the house barefoot in your pj’s but still want an excellent cup of coffee? Have no fear as The Grind has a drive-through option. This convenient amenity makes The Grind special as they still provide high quality coffee with fast service.


A good cup of coffee can be enjoyed in any setting. Fretboard, however, raises everyone’s standards by serving coffee out of an old garage that is part coffee shop and part art gallery. It’s  unique setting allows you to sip and admire local artists’ masterpieces. This is not your average coffee spot. The set up of the coffee shop looks like a chemistry lab with its stylish glass beakers and winding tubes that showcase the science behind your next cup of morning joe. The coffee served at this eclectic joint is sourced from sustainable and ethically sound farms around the world. With minimal tables inside, Fretboard provides outdoor seating in a quaint “backyard” where dogs are always welcome. If you are looking for more than just a cup of coffee, Fretboard provides a worldly atmosphere accompanied by a warming emphasis on community.

Shortwave Coffee

If a coffee shop that rotates their flavors seasonally sounds intriguing, pop over to Shortwave Coffee. This place honors the traditional cup of coffee made for the coffee connoisseur but also adheres to the student needing a tasty boost of energy while cramming for finals. Shortwave’s coffee is sourced from various places around the globe. The unique logo is inspired by the hard-working radiomen who put copious amounts of time and energy to keeping the world connected by receiving and transmitting sounds. Shortwave aims to continue this legacy by "transmitting" delicious coffee to fuel your day. Don’t let Shortwave’s discreet alley location fool you, the coffee shop is a hit for those spending their day in The District.

Uprise Bakery

To use the word unique to describe Uprise Bakery would not do it justice. This shop wears many hats, as it is a bakery, coffee shop, provider of yummy food, and a bar all in one without having an identity crisis. Not convinced? The shop also serves as an entrance into an indie movie theatre that is intimate and not your average theatre. The interior has spacious seating with wooden chairs and tables, giving off a mom and pop, simplistic vibe. The coffee is just as top shelf as their liquor and spirits. With specialty drinks such as a vanilla-honey latte, Uprise’s coffee is just as intriguing as the character of the shop. Enjoy your coffee on a sunny day relaxing on their outdoor patio.

Coffee Zone

After being around for over 20 years, Coffee Zone has made a name for itself in the Columbia coffee scene. They have a diverse selection of coffee beans ranging from Guatemala to German Chocolate to Sumatras. Their list of specialty drinks is sure to excite your brain and consume your taste buds. Rocket Fuel is a locally famous drink that was invented by the coffee gurus at Coffee Zone and will have you buzzing with caffeine within your first few sips. The Mediterranean-themed shop is dotted with genie pots and gold accents. Wanting more than a cup of coffee? Try something off their full menu of Mediterranean food. Every customer is warmly greeted by the saying “hala,hala” which means hello, good-bye and thank you - making each experience a special one.

Kaldi’s Coffee

With leather booth seating available, colorful walls and stylized decor, this award-winning coffee shop is committed to serving excellent coffee. Their staff is not only knowledgeable but also passionate about the cups they serve. In need of a powerful, midday pick me up? Try their Espresso 700 whose beans hail from both Africa and Latin America. This delicious drink has a sweet flavor throughout that is balanced by acidic tones and finishes with notes of chocolate and caramel. The inspiration for the name of this coffee shop comes from a goat herder named Kaldi. In the 6th century, Kaldi discovered coffee beans after witnessing the pep in the step of his goats after eating from a strange bush. If you like to sip your coffee to the tune of an indie song in a trendy, modern setting, Kaldi’s is your home-base coffee shop.

Editor’s note: While Kaldi’s is not a coffee shop that was founded in Columbia, we’ve chosen to include it on this list based on Kaldi’s continued commitment to the Columbia community.  

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