For the love of caffeine
Green Bay City Pages’ second installment of our coffee roundup
By Rachel Sankey
There is a line in T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” that reads, “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.”
As a poet, and a former barista, this quickly became one of my favorite lines. Not only does it paint a strong image, but it causes the reader to reflect. For many, coffee is integral to one’s life. For myself, it’s a measurement of how I’ve grown over the years.
Both my parents are avid coffee drinkers. Every morning I would walk into my dad’s office and see the black mug sitting on his desk, with steaming curls lifting off the brew effortlessly in the air, providing a familiar and comforting aroma.
When I was deemed “old enough” to start drinking coffee, we would stop at my favorite local shop on the way home from church on Sundays.
Over the years, I grew to know the baristas, pinned down my favorite drink after trying (nearly) the entire menu and had several great conversations with friends and family.
I have many memories from there, and being at a point in my life where change feels constant and I’m always learning what it means to be an adult (I’m 22), the shop, which recently closed, always stood as a promised staple of comfort and nostalgia when I came home.
What I guess I’m trying to say is, coffee shops are more than the espresso beans and the flavor syrup. They’re a house that facilitates memories, growth and identity.
The next time you stop in your favorite local place, make sure to take a moment to be grateful for the times you spent there – and for the owners and employees that help to make that happen.
This week’s cover is the second installment of Green Bay City Pages’ coffee shop roundup, and focuses on some community staples.
If you don’t see your favorite coffee shop highlighted, let us know where you get your caffeine on.
Coffee Wizardz is unlike any other coffee shop in Green Bay. The dark walls and mismatched, muted color furniture gives off all the witchy vibes, not to mention the wallpaper when you first walk in – a clear indicator that you’re in the wizardz lair.
The shop also provides one-of-a-kind drinks, such as its coffee caviar or raisin bran latte.
Brown said he has been working with coffee for more than two decades, which means it can be guaranteed that each hot coffee beverage comes with outstanding latte art.
The internet access is fast and reliable, and the ambient background music makes it easy to study or get work done.
The staff is also friendly and relaxed.
Hours are a little limited at the moment, though from the looks of the wizardz’ social media, this may be changing soon.
Though it has unique seating options, the number of them is limited. If you come to work during a busy rush, you may not be able to find a space to sit.
Located at 536 Greene Ave, Coffee Wizardz is the newbie of the bunch, opening at the end of 2021 under Sam Brown and Chris Christen.
The coffee duo said they are completely focused on the coffee and providing the best experience for their customers. Roasting coffee in house is one way they do that, as well as their goal of highlighting the work farmers do at the beans’ origin.
Brown and Christen said that the atmosphere is chill and homey, “like a wizardz study.”
The Wizardz also said that their most popular drink varies, depending on the season, but as for year round, their nitro latte is a huge hit.
What I ordered
I’ve been dying to try the coffee caviar since it opened, so that’s what I ordered. The flavor of the caviar is bold and blends well with the condensed milk. But, it’s definitely different eating gelatinous coffee, instead of sipping on smooth espresso. I recommend those who visit the shop try it at least once. Plus, it comes in a super cute mini canning jar with a rainbow spoon.
If you’re not looking to eat your coffee, then I recommend the brown sugar cinnamon latte, which, in my opinion, is to die for. It’s the perfect amount of sweetness mixed in with espresso and milk.
Grounded Café is quiet, clean and spacious. Everyone, both customers and staff, are welcoming and friendly.
There are a variety of different seating choices to choose from, with both high-top and low tables and booths. The variety affords customers the ability to work quietly by themselves or in a group.
The overall atmosphere is cozy and welcoming. Modern and classic hits play softly in the background, and the cafe’s skylight allows for natural lighting.
Those who come to the Grounded Café are of all ages and abilities, which helps to shorten the disconnect between age gaps and provides great community-feel.
The open-network Internet is fast and reliable.
It may be hard for those to find the café the first time they visit, as it’s nestled inside the ADRC. However, there are street signs outside the building to direct the way.
The café is also closed on the weekends.
Part of the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC), the Grounded Café sits nestled inside.
Unlike the majority of other coffee shops, Grounded Café is a non-profit program.
ADRC employees said its mission is to decrease stereotypes and foster the strengths of seniors and people with disabilities, which also sets the shop apart from other places.
Those at the ADRC said despite the café being located inside the resource center, everyone is welcome.
What I ordered
The Mocha Tundra – a blended coffee drink with chocolate and espresso. I’ll let everyone in on a little secret: in most cases, I’m not a fan of mochas, unless they’re made with white chocolate.
However, the Mocha Tundra is the exception. The iced beverage goes down nice and smooth, and is definitely a drink for fellow sweet tooth’s out there to try.
Tazza’s atmosphere gives off classy and high-scale vibes in a small-town setting. From the exposed brick, to the soft ambient lighting and the quiet, jazzy instrumental in the background, the shop makes a perfect place to study or grab brunch with a friend.
There’s a variety of seating, with small couches and tables and a long bar with outlets.
The decor keeps to the classy feel, with mainly black furniture with tan and gold accents.
The Internet is fast and reliable.
Tazza is open until 4 p.m., which is a plus, as most coffee shops within the Green Bay area close at 2 p.m.
Though the lighting is soothing, it may be too dark for some people’s preferences, especially on a cloudy day.
Located at 109 N. Broadway in De Pere, Tazza Italian Coffee Co. is nearing its one-year anniversary – opening in June 2021.
Owner Jenny Palzewicz said the shop’s coffee flights set Tazza apart – think of a beer flight, but instead with coffee beverages.
“It’s definitely a fun way to try all those flavors without having to buy a large drink and not know if you like it or not,” she said.
Weekends at Tazza can get very busy, Palzewicz said, and makes for a great space to get together with friends and family. During the work week, she said the atmosphere is much more conducive to studying or working.
Out of all Tazza’s drinks, Palzewicz said that the vanilla latte is the most popular, with the pistachio latte coming in at a close second.
What I ordered
Tazza currently offers their spring coffee flight, which includes a strawberry rose latte, a macadamia nut latte, a blackberry basil latte and a honey jasmine latte. The flight is offered both hot or iced – I ordered mine iced.
The presentation was beautiful – providing small treats with each drink.
Overall, each drink went down nice and smooth.
I absolutely loved the blackberry basil latte and the strawberry rose latte. I’m always a fan of coffee shops trying out unique coffee flavors. I’ve found that fruity floral/herbal flavors blend really well with espresso.
La Java roasts its own coffee, which is always a plus.
The Howard location’s atmosphere is calm, cool and cozy.
The pale baby blue walls and warm-toned lighting make for a relaxing work environment.
Paintings made by local artists hang on the wall, and there’s a retail space for coffee-related items, racks for cards and more.
Seating is nice and spaced out throughout the shop, with mainly tables meant for one to two people, which is perfect for studying and hunkering down to get work done.
The shop is open until 6 p.m. during the work week, which is great for students to come to after their classes or professionals to work late.
While the shop plays nice jazz music, it’s at a bit of a higher volume.
La Java, Howard
La Java started in 2002 and has three locations across the Greater Green Bay area.
Each shop offers drive-thru, however the Howard location is the only one to offer dine-in.
La Java also roasts its own small batch specialty coffee.
What I ordered
The seasonal Fluffy Bunny latte – a blend of caramel and toasted marshmallow – hot with oat milk.
If it’s not obvious by now, I tend to order drinks that are nice and sweet, but don’t drown out the espresso’s notes.
This latte does just that, and, if I’m being honest, kind of reminds me of kettle corn (and I love kettle corn).
Though this is my first time at the Howard location, I’ve been through La Java’s drive thru off Velp Avenue numerous times, and have always enjoyed the seasonal beverages.
Rachel Sankey is the associate editor of Green Bay City Pages. She can be reached via email at [email protected]