The Ames coffee bar scene is for the most part an irritating letdown. Though Café Diem is a definite bright spot. Homey atmosphere. Very good chocolate muffins (also blueberry and pumpkin). Dynamite mango smoothies.
Café Diem on main street probably does it the best in Ames. Summer is the best time to go there, most of the college kids are gone. For awhile they had a problem similar to a lot of Ames places, each month seemed to bring a new group of employees.
Café Milo on Mortensen does a mocha just as well, but they have an overabundance of squatters (college age kids with laptops who don’t have a home and sit for five hours after maybe purchasing a $1.69 cup of coffee). The other coffee bars around campus town have the same infestation. They should all get Rottweiler’s and chase the little parasites out. Milo has had some really fine baristas.
But! All the Ames coffee bars pale in comparison to Zanzibar’s on Ingersoll in Des Moines. They are the king of the mocha (and the mango smoothie too). They grind coffee for sale in the center of the store. They sell Putumayo music CDs at the bar. The place simply reeks with ambience. Their mugs seem of a special glass that stay warm forever. They also have the most unique whip cream, it’s so stiff you can float a nickel on top of it. [Scratch that. Zanzibar’s ain’t perfect either, 6/7/13. That’s what kills me about these places, you pay nearly $5.00 for a mocha, you’d think they could get it right.]