The Greek gods drank nectar, but who needs it when there’s a plethora of local coffee houses brewing up their own elixirs?
There are three local coffee shops within a 10 minute walk from the ISU campus: The College Market, Mocha Madness and CoHo Coffee (The Smart Bar). All provide their own, unique coffee and style for students and the community.
The College Market is .3 miles from campus, is the largest of the three and is owned by Bart Nawotniak.
The College Market is special because it has been an institution in Pocatello, and closed after twenty years of service in 2012. Nawotniak later reopened the location, and will be concluding his second year of ownership with the end of this semester.
“I try to do a lot with the university. We have open mic nights, we have game nights, the atmosphere we’ve geared towards students,” Nawotniak said.
All of the baked goods are provided by an ex-student of the university.
In addition, all of the art on the walls has been done by ISU students, and employment is directed towards students as well. For two semesters, one of the art classes even held class at the shop.
Nawotniak has “plans in motion,” to try and do even more with the university.
The house coffee blend is shipped over 2,000 miles from a roaster in Buffalo, New York. That roaster is the same one who won a competition of roasters in the area to provide the house coffee for a local coffee shop there, the same one Nawotniak managed for many years before he came to Idaho.
Besides teas and coffee such as the very popular Nutella mocha, The College Market has a small kitchen that makes a variety of salads, wraps, sandwiches and Paninis.
One of the reason students choose the College Market is the difference in size and space.
“Every coffee shop around here has a different atmosphere. The thing I’ve decided to do to set us apart is, there’s a lot of seating, there’s a lot of tables to spread out and study,” Nawotniak said.
Mocha Madness is just a half mile away from campus, and has a, “…very chill, relaxed environment, not a lot of events,” said Samuel Vineyard, a manager at Mocha Madness.
Mocha Madness opened in 1997, in an old Taco Time building and has been focused on providing students with jobs, and a place to get a caffeine fix and to study.
Mocha Madness has a much smaller, but quieter atmosphere.
Around finals week, there are usually some deals for students so they can get a fix and keep studying and year round you can get a 10 percent discount with a BengalCard Plus, the student ID/ ISU Credit Union debit card combo.
CoHo Coffee is just .6 miles away from campus.
According to Philip Murphy, CoHo’s owner, the name stands for one of two things: Coffee House or Come Home.
“We’re not like any other place in Pocatello,” Murphy said. “We’re freed people.”
CoHo prides itself on being a place where anyone can come and not be judged for who they are. Murphy says there’s no dogma on race, color or gender orientation.
“We love the human condition and its many faults. We think it’s beautiful.” Murphy says his shop has been described as “An oasis in the desert of Pocatello.”
CoHo offers some of the more costly coffee in town, and Murphy openly admits, “We’re expensive.”
The cost comes from the beans and ingredients. CoHo uses four or five of “the best master roasters in the region.” There’s not a single bean over two weeks old in the store. Because it’s a fresher and mostly a lighter roast, the beans have a higher caffeine content.
Part of the atmosphere is live music. Besides open mic nights, there’s CoHo Live, where local bands or musicians come and play. Also, one Sunday per month the ISU Jazz Band comes and performs.
Murphy has been running his coffee shop for around five years, and has had good times as well as bad times.
He developed a love for coffee around 30 years ago.
“I got off the booze and drugs when I was 21, and coffee has been my wine ever since,” Murphy said.
Coffee is ubiquitous, especially in college culture. Going to a coffee house is almost as much about finding a justification to set some time aside and slow down, whether it’s to read, meet with friends or to help focus on studying.
If you’re going to partake in the magical black beverage, why not help out a local business and enjoy one of the various atmospheres they offer?