A Ranked Review of Local Coffee Shops


Laina Gustafson

This December, Middleton High School students and their families voted on their favorite coffee shops in the area. Barriques and Starbucks tied for first.

Laina Gustafson

Lattes and mochas, freshly baked scones, quiet study corners and warm conversation: the amenities of a good coffee shop are endless. Luckily, the Middleton-Cross Plains area offers more than 20 coffee shops to choose from. But which one is the best? A recent survey of Middleton High School (MHS) students and their families revealed the top must-stop shops. 

1. (Tied) Barriques 

With two locations within a mile of MHS, it is no surprise that Barriques Café tied for first place. Because of its unique atmosphere and large menu, Barriques is a perfect spot for grabbing lunch with friends, studying or enjoying a signature coffee drink. Especially at their larger Cayuga Street location (which features a fireplace and cozy armchairs!), tables to sit at are abundant and quiet, making Barriques a favorite homework location for high school students. 

Barriques has a very classic “coffeeshop” feel with its open-air kitchen, a large menu of rotating specialty drinks and friendly staff. Barriques is also a wine and spirits trader; most locations boast a large selection of wine and alcoholic cocktails for adults. They also offer a large food menu, including bakery goods, “market bowls,” grilled sandwiches and grab-and-go snacks. 

Menu Highlights: Caramel Roll Latte, Chocolate Espresso Scone and Pesto Grilled Cheese

Regular Tip: Join the Barriques Rewards program to earn free drinks, food and wine.


1. (Tied) Starbucks

What goes together better than sleep-deprived high schoolers and Starbucks? This international chain is tied for first place, with two locations in the heart of downtown Middleton. Starbucks’ seemingly limitless menu encourages customers to customize drinks to their liking and offers drive-through, mobile and in-store ordering options. 

Although its food menu is limited to grab-and-go, the seasonal and rotating drink specials mean there’s always something new to try. Starbucks is perfect for grabbing a drink on the way to work or school, a lunchtime pick-me-up or to fulfill your adventurous sweet tooth. 

Menu Highlights: Peppermint Mocha, Vanilla Creme Brulee Latte and Nitro Cold Brew

Regular Tip: Ordering ahead in the app helps beat the often-long line at Middleton locations.


2. Crossroads Coffeehouse

Garnering enough votes to rank at number two, this local favorite of Cross Plains residents is full of small-town charm. The shop’s interior features an open-air barista counter and window bench seating. This hidden gem often hosts community events, such as art fairs and gingerbread house decorating. Even if you do not live in Cross Plains, the welcoming staff will make you feel like a regular! 

Crossroads offers a large selection of staple and signature drinks. Both bakery and grab-and-go options are available for purchase. A hybrid of pickup and sit-down fare, Crossroads Coffeehouse is a great place to chat with friends over coffee or pick up a quick and delicious breakfast.

Menu Highlights: Raspberry Truffle Latte, Matcha Latte and Orange-Chocolate Chip Scone

Regular Tip: Ask the barista for extra flavor recommendations in any latte or mocha!


3. Grace’s Coffee Co.

Grace’s unique and artsy atmosphere, paired with its decadent baked goods and drinks, earns this Madison-area chain third rank. Its muraled walls, tiled barista counters and bars, leafy vines and plants, and various seating options create a beautiful and aesthetic study space. Grace’s Coffee Co. boasts the second-largest food and beverage menu on our list, offering both grab-and-go and plated meals. Specifically the Middleton location, whose seating is spaced out and abundant, tends to be kid-friendly. Not only does Grace’s feature a rotating menu, but it serves its festive drinks in seasonal to-go cups!

Menu Highlights: Cafe Miel Espresso, Acai Bowls and Signature Croissants

Regular Tip: Head to the back of the Middleton location to find picture-perfect velvet green couches!



For those who are always on the go, MOKA’s drive-through locations throughout Middleton and Madison are fast, convenient and delicious. Offering a large menu of espresso, iced, brewed and blended drinks, MOKA has something for everyone — all from the comfort of your vehicle.  While limited to bakery and to-go items, their food menu is complemented by an array of smoothies, iced teas and shakes. MOKA’s seasonal drinks, such as the Gingerbread Chai Latte and the Peppermint Dark Hot Chocolate, are sure to satisfy sweet tooths this winter. 

Menu Highlights: Black and White Mocha, Chaipuccino, Jamaican Cold Brew and MOKA bars

Regular Tip: Ask if the MOKA oatmeal is available — while not offered at all locations, this snack is a favorite of many!


5. Scooter’s

Another drive-through-only franchise, Scooter’s proximity to MHS and reliable service place it in fifth rank. Scooter’s is known for its rapid service and consistency. This drive-through is an affordable option, offering many specials and discounts depending on the day of the week! Scooter’s has a mobile app, supplying customers with exclusive deals and ordering-ahead options. Scooter’s Coffee, a Nebraska-based chain, is also family-owned! 

Menu Highlights: Peppermint Mocha, “Caramelicious” drink and Pastries

Regular Tip: Keep an eye out for discounts and coupons during Middleton’s Good Neighbor Fest!


6. Prairie Cafe & Bakery

A restaurant and coffee shop hybrid, Prairie Cafe offers not one, not two, but four menus! This local favorite serves breakfast, lunch, hand-crafted beverages and house-baked bakery items. Nestled between many other eateries in the Pheasant Branch business area, this bustling cafe is a perfect meeting place for brunch, after-school snacks and homemade baked treats. Keep in mind, because this coffee shop only offers tables with wait service, it’s frowned upon to take up a table for more than an hour or two.

Menu Highlights: Housemade scones, Chai Lattes and Almond Chicken Salad Sandwich

Regular Tip: Grab a mug of in-house brewed coffee for $2.95 and enjoy free refills!


7. Kwik Trip

The only thing high school students love more than coffee is inexpensive coffee! Kwik Trip’s array of espresso, cappuccino, “blended” and brewed coffee machines produce delicious and customizable drinks at affordable prices. 

Menu Highlights: Caramel Macchiato and Blended Strawberry Lemonade

Regular Tip: Try a flavor-shot combo using the customizable syrups machine!


Distance to MHS

  • Barriques 0.7 miles
  • Starbucks 1.7 miles
  • Crossroads Coffeehouse 8 miles
  • Grace’s 0.6 miles
  • MOKA 3.6 miles
  • Scooter’s 1.2 miles
  • Prairie Cafe & Bakery 1 mile
  • Kwik Trip 0.8 miles