Repurposed from bowling alley bar to laid-back coffee shop on Howell Avenue, Hawthorne Coffee Roasters brings to the community a unique vibe and a killer cup of coffee.
Steve Hawthorne has been involved in the coffee industry for about 20 years. He started by roasting small batches and selling at markets and he and his wife Kendra have now expanded their love for coffee into a prominent coffee shop business and event space. Hawthorne engages the community further by hosting weekly pop ups – portable temporary restaurants – from small food businesses such as Foxfire, Press Waffles, and Donut Monster.
The cafe is a wide open space with plenty of large group tables, bar seating and couch areas. There’s a patio outside for summer outdoor seating. While there isn’t a ton of natural light, it does make us nostalgic of the old bar history of this building. This could be a place for quiet studying, but also a great place to meet with a big group of friends.
Hawthorne’s roastery is on-site, and we got to take a look around. With years under his belt perfecting the roasting process, Steve roasts and packages his coffee several times a week. We love the personalization he adds to each batch he roasts!
We had heard (numerous) good reports about Hawthorne’s coffee, so we were excited to check it out for ourselves! Hawthorne has an espresso blend called Revival, plus a list of single-origins like Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Papua New Guinea and Sumatra. They also have both original and bourbon barrel cold brew. Our barista, Heidi, kindly helped direct us toward drinks she thought we’d love.
Mocha – Made with Hawthorne’s Revival espresso, this mocha was not overly sweet and had a very significant espresso flavor – as it should! We love the art, and think this would pair well with a sweet scone. (Spoiler alert: we did order a sweet scone. Worth it.)
Cortado – This Cortado had a lovely finish to it. Again, a nice strong and bold espresso with notes of chocolate and berries, blended elegantly with perfectly steamed milk. We love espresso drinks served in glass cups so you can see how beautifully the espresso has been extracted, this Cortado did not disappoint.
Macchiato – This was some of the best espresso we have ever tasted. We loved this strong espresso with just a touch of steamed milk, and being in a tiny cup didn’t stop our lovely barista from impressing us with her art skills. This is a must-order at Hawthorne. We’re not even ashamed to tell you that we ordered two of these!
Honey Cortado – This was strong with a slight honey twist. The honey didn’t compromise the drink at all. Smooth and sippable, this was a great order! Our only regret in the drink department is that we stopped here and didn’t order the Hawthorne Flight, which is a 12 oz pour over, a 2oz espresso, and a 4oz cold brew. I guess we’ll have to go back…
Hawthorne sources their bakery items from Canfora Bakery in Bay View (http://www.canforabakeryinc.com). These bakery options were both reasonably-priced and delicious, so you don’t have to feel guilty about going back for more.
This cranberry scone was not dry at all! The sweetness of the frosting was not only a great topping on this moist scone, but a great pair with a macchiato or mocha.
Hawthorne doesn’t just sling out lattes here. They have tea and juice available, plus a full whiskey and cocktail menu.
Merchandise is available (we fell hard for this adorable yellow mug!) as well as whole bean coffee.
Attached to the cafe is an old bowling alley that has been transformed into an event space with several tables and a stage. This space is ideal for large group parties or live music!
As if all of this wasn’t cool enough, Hawthorne Coffee Roasters are able to take their coffee on the road with their mobile cafe. To find out where the coffee truck is stopped this summer, we recommend following Hawthorne Coffee Roasters on social media.
4177 S Howell Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53207
Cafe Hours: Weekdays 6am-6pm; Weekends 7am-6pm
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