Five great coffee shops in Topeka

Richard Kelly

Sometimes it gets a little dull just working on homework in the same spot.

That’s why it’s best to find another place to go every once and awhile. These ideas led me on a hunt for good coffee shops in Topeka. I knew being a local of 19 years it’s always good to advertise local business, so sorry, but no corporate coffee in this list.

The five coffee shops around the Washburn area I went to have their advantages and disadvantages, but each was unique in its own way.

World Cup Espresso, which sits at the corner of 21st and Washburn, was my first stop. The outside is home to a few chairs if you care to relax in them on a nice day. But inside, the first thing to the left of the door was a Washburn banner. Already, it was easy to feel at home. The area inside was spacious, with many couches and tables to do work on, and artwork was abundant.

Service was friendly. Fresh fruit was available at the front counter as well, which may be a nice snack while doing homework.

Then it was on to Lazio’s Coffee Bar and Roasterie off of 21st and Belle. The setting was a bit different when you walked in than at World Cup. Immediately, I noticed a seating area to the left, along with a stage, which led me to believe they may have music some nights. It’s always a positive attribute to know they offer entertainment. Right as you walk in, the bar is straight in front, and service was quick and polite. There were chairs lined up at the bar, but there were also big comfortable chairs and tables. Again, I felt subject to another quiet and peaceful setting.

A coffee shop named after a cute dog? Is that even possible? Evidently it is, because that’s exactly the case of my next stop at Lola’s CafĂ© Espresso sitting at 10th and Gage. Outside, an awning covered any patrons who care to enjoy a fresh breeze. As I strolled in, another stage was to my left, and a bar was straight in front of me. Baked goods seemed like a hot commodity and they were readily available at the cash register. The chair set-up didn’t allow for a lot of privacy, but it did allow for close intimacy between patrons. One of their tables was even transformable into a long table. Again, a couch was available to relax on for homework. A billboard of festivities was also visible near the sugar and coffee creamer.

The next location arguably had the best coffee of any of the places I visited. It was PT’s Coffee at the 29th and Oakley location. While nothing about the outside jumps at you, when I walked in, the aroma of coffee in the air was fantastic. The walls were lined with the employee’s pictures, and the chairs were lined in a way to provide intimacy for the visitors. It was a quaint and quiet visit, but as I left I again noticed a board of activities going on there and around town.

It was at this point that I realized I was on to my last coffee shop. Classic Bean, at their 21st and Fairlawn location, was where I ended up. My first thought was how much bigger it was than any other I’d been to. And when I walked in, it was considerably louder and more festive as well. Definitely not the average quiet coffee shop feel. But it was hard not to notice the good spirits that were evident.

A stage sat in the center of the shop, which was even more inviting for patrons. Everything was available, from couches to high tables. As I left, I was also informed that they roast their beans at their location, which was encouraging.

Overall, I was satisfied with each coffee shop. Each one had something to offer that the others didn’t. I advocate all the coffee shops for your next homework endeavor. And if you have your own shop I didn’t speak of, more power to you. Just don’t forget to support local business, whatever they may be.