Owned and operated by two UW-Madison graduates, Coffee Bytes has students in mind with many study nooks, relaxing recliners, free wifi and great campus location at the still relatively new University Square complex. It is not located in the second-floor food court, but right off the street across from the University Theatre.
Coffee Bytes strives to reach the community as well by supporting local artists with a pedestal stage, and walls decorated with photos of Madison (currently by local artist Ross Freshwater) available for purchase. The store features Ancora Coffee Roasters's local organic fair trade coffees.
The students' top pick is the White Zombie, a frothy white latte made from Cafe Bianco. The flavor is more nutty than coffee-like because the beans are roasted less, but still has twice the caffeine as regular coffee. Any flavor can be added, with the most common ones being hazelnut, white chocolate, caramel and vanilla. It's great if you like a big pick-me-up without strong coffee flavor.
The most classic item on the menu is also the most unique. The Latte Miel is a regular latte with honey and powdered cinnamon, rather than cinnamon syrup as is sometimes used. This gives it a more natural cinnamon flavor.
This fall, Coffee Bytes will offer rotating specials including a White Pumpkin Latte and Spiced Cider.
The cafe also serves muffins, scones, cinnamon rolls and bagels. For an afternoon snack, the "light bites" menu includes daily soups and wraps, garden salad, hummus plate and a to-go yogurt parfait.
The busiest time at Coffee Bytes is before class from around 7-10 a.m. and the evenings are filled with studiers balancing laptops. Watch for extended hours during finals week.