Ever since its birth back in 2004, Indie Coffee can definitely be considered one of Madison’s staple coffee houses. Being located near Camp Randall, it has grown to be a must stop for locals and a great study location for college students.

Unlike many cafes, Indie coffee is extremely well known for the waffles they make in house.

Yes, that’s right, Waffles.

Because of this delicious breakfast item (and others), I have been to this cafe many times over the last few years and am beyond excited to be writing this review!

A Peek into Indie Coffee: One of Madison’s Best Coffee Houses

The Atmosphere

In my opinion, Indie Coffee is 100% a cafe that conquers both the relaxing and energizing environment. This is done through having a busier indoor seating area of about 8 tables as well as a shady outdoor patio area.

While the indoor area can definitely get crowded when it gets busy, the tables are spaced apart enough to avoid having that claustrophobic feeling we all hate. They also have window seating that allows you to avoid the line out of the door a bit better.

The patio seating outside is absolutely perfect for the warmer months, especially if someone brings their dog with them (when does a dog not make an experience better?)

The patio is also the perfect place to escape to if the inside gets too noisy for your liking.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Indie Coffee (@indiecoffeemadison)

All in all, the coffee shop can be a bit chaotic sometimes as the indoor space is smaller than most other cafes in the area. However, I find the busy energy inside can definitely help you push forward with studying, even when you’re exhausted.

If you’re looking for a quieter experience, try coming in during the week after the morning rush.

Coffee & Beverages

I have had everything from Indie’s drip coffee and cold brew to a lavender & honey latte (named the Monet Sunrise) and none of it has even slightly disappointed yet.

They offer three different drink sizes, all named after the beautiful Wisconsin Lakes (Wingra, Mendota and Monona).

I personally love drinking coffee out of a huge coffee mug, and that’s exactly what you’ll get when you order the “Mendota” size or 20oz coffee.

Do you love coffee mugs? Check out my post on adorable animal coffee mugs here!

Indie has some great seasonal options available along with the classic espresso-based drinks such as:

  • The Twist (a mix of espresso, milk, Ghirardelli caramel and vanilla)
  • The Milano (a slightly sweet latte that has vanilla and cardamon flavors)
  • A Mayan Spiced Mocha (Ghirardelli dark chocolate, cinnamon, and cayenne)

Note: They also offer six different types of milk for those with dairy intolerances!


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by ash cash eats (@ash.cash.eats)

If you do stop by and find you love their coffee, you can purchase the “Indie Coffee” dark roast both in the shop or on their website.

Note: This darker roast will typically come as a whole bean unless you would like it pre-ground.

If you’re after something a bit stronger than coffee (as a typical Wisconsinite probably is), their website claims that they are re-introducing a new menu that includes:

microbrews, wines, and spirits such as Jameson whiskey, Kahlua and Baily’s

I personally haven’t ordered anything alcoholic from this coffee shop but I’m sure it only adds to the experience.

The Food

Oh, the food. This is honestly the best part about Indie Coffee. They absolutely nail their food items by elevating simple savory breakfast staples.

The Mediterranean wrap? Divine.

The breakfast bagel? Extraordinary.

While it might take a bit longer to receive your order, their food hits the “comfort food spot” of the stomach every time. They also have a number of Gluten Free, Vegetarian & Vegan menu items for those with food intolerances or preferences.

Now… let’s talk about the waffles that were featured on Wake Up with Al Roker back in 2015.

What makes these waffles so great, is the simple base that comes out crunchy in the right spots and fluffy in the middle.

I’m not sure if they have a secret ingredient thrown in there that helps create this masterpiece but what I do know is that if you’re getting a waffle anywhere in Madison, you need to stop at this coffee shop.

With each fantastic waffle, you will receive a few pats of butter on the side that are perfectly warmed from the heat of the waffle, along with some delicious syrup.

I personally go for the grasshopper waffle (a buttermilk or wholegrain batter with walnuts) but if that’s not for you, you can take a look at their other 5 options and pick what would be best for you!

Some of their other popular waffles are:

  • The Red & White (a waffle topped with strawberries and house made whipped cream, inspired by UW-Madison’s colors)
  • Chocolate Chip (self-explanatory & delicious)
  • Cranberry & Walnut (for those wanting to be a bit healthier in the morning)

Indie Coffee: One of Madison’s local businesses that you need to visit

As you can probably see now, Indie Coffee is a must stop the next time you’re in need of a coffee or a snack.  The range of coffee beverages they offer, from classic to seasonal, makes this a versatile cafe with something for everyone.

They are also open from 7am-6pm every day, so you can stay late and study or just enjoy your morning coffee here.

P.S if you’re a student in need of a new reusable coffee mug check out my list of brands offering student discounts!

I highly recommend the food options here as well but keep in mind, you may be waiting a while for your takeaway coffee or food item if its busy. So, if you’re in a rush, try and plan ahead (or order online here!) so you don’t end up missing anything!

As always, thank you for taking the time to read this review and happy procaffinating! 🙂


Related Articles:

Staying in Madison for a while? Check out the top things to do here!

We’ve covered coffee but if you’re after some dinner check out these 15 recommendations

Are you a student? Take advantage of your discount on these travel mug brands!