Coffee culture has been around for a long time, long before Frappuccinos and international coffee chains. Yet, the pre-2000s coffee culture looked different than today; coffee culture used to be reminiscent of European cafes, with the primary use of space being to gather, sip and socialize rather than make a mad dash for a triple espresso before a Target run. Coffee houses and cafes looked more like the Central Perk during a Friends episode — notably absent of long lines, iPhones and conversation-blocking earbuds. Thankfully, these places do still exist, and 5th and Jefferson Coffee House is one of them.
Opened in 2014, 5th and Jefferson has kept the coffee house culture alive with a relaxed atmosphere and plenty of places to cozy up and take a pause. It’s truly a coffee house, both figuratively and literally, as the cafe is housed in a beautiful historic house in Sturgeon Bay. The multi-room space offers private corners as well as larger, open tables to gather a group or spread out. The furnishings are eclectic with candles, art, and figurines greeting you from every nook. It’s reminiscent of stopping by a friend’s house for a visit, especially if that friend was an artist and adept at using an espresso machine.
I visited on a midweek morning and the coffee house was buzzing with various groups of visitors catching up and chatting happily. The coffee house offers coffee, tea, bakery items and a breakfast menu that can serve as breakfast, brunch or lunch. Topping the drinks menu was something called The Llama, which I learned was a maple flavored latte. The llama love can be seen throughout the house, with little figures and artistic llama renditions sprinkled here and there, making a dedicated drink no surprise.
I ordered a large Llama with whip cream and a Spicy Egg Bake for breakfast. Finding a table with a window view, I sloughed off my winter jacket and within minutes my latte was delivered to me. Taking a sip, it was warm and sweet, with a hint of maple. It was more of a sugary treat than caffeine kick, although an added shot of espresso would likely give it balance. 5th and Jefferson uses coffee beans sourced from Kickapoo Coffee Roasters, an organic, eco-friendly and farmer-focused company out of Viroqua, Wisconsin.
The egg bake followed quickly and had my stomach eager at the sight. It was served with a small cup of grapefruit, salsa and sour cream as an added option, which I sprung for. The bake was evenly cooked and incorporated eggs, chorizo, black olives, black beans, tomatoes, cheddar and green chiles. I would not have called the bake more than mildly spicy, but the chorizo provided a good flavor and the slice was a perfect size for a light meal to start the day.
Other items on the menu that caught my eye included a Belgian Bacon Waffle — essentially a fluffy Belgian waffle topped with whipped cream, bacon crumbles and maple syrup — and the Smoked Pulled Pork & Egg Burrito — a signature item with egg, pulled pork, cheddar, peppers, onion and green sriracha grilled in a tomato basil wrap. Gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly items are also prominent on the menu.
5th and Jefferson is open seven days a week, currently with hours from 7:30 am – 3 pm, which makes stopping in a no-brainer whenever a coffee craving hits. With free Wi-Fi available to guests, it’s also an easy option for meetings and taking work sessions away from your desk. I’ll be eating my way through the menu and enjoying the cozy coffee house ambiance among the llamas often this winter.