Cafe Rundown V: Klekolo World Coffee

4 Aug

(I found no working title in The Order of the Phoenix, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, or The High King.  10 points if you can think of something.)

181 Court Street, Middletown, CT



Monday-Saturday: 6:30am-10pm; Sundays: 7am-7pm

Klekolo World Coffee has been on Court Street for 17 years and has consistently served–hands down–the best and the cheapest coffee in town.  Even though it’s within earshot of Javapalooza, Klekolo might as well be another planet.  You won’t find any wedding planners or fake rock posters or posh desserts, just a few tables, some great armchairs, and kickass bean water.

Best stuff on the menu: coffee of the day (there are usually 4 or 5), iced coffee (in summer there are a few different varieties in the fridge, all served over coffee icecubes!), espresso (Klekolo prides themselves on making the best in the state), anything made with espresso (the cappuccinos particularly), the specialty drinks, if you have a sweet tooth (try the witch’s brew, which has chocolate, hazelnut, and caramel; the hendrix; and more), Pony Express Coffee (3x the caffeine of normal coffee… beware) and the Buffalo Soldier (A mix of Pony Express coffee and smooth, dark hot chocolate).  Be sure to check out the back of the store, too, where they sell bags of beans from all over the world.  There isn’t much food; what’s there isn’t bad, but it’s not great either.  Drinks are where it’s at.  You can view the “menu, sortof” here.

Student Discount: No.

Middletown Cash: No.  No DBD cards either.

Price: Can’t beat it 🙂 Klekolo serves not only the highest quality, but the lowest priced coffee in town.  The downside is that they only take cash.  Remember to visit the ATM before you go.

Service:  Exceptionally knowledgeable, quick, and chill.  If you ask “what’s good today?” the person behind the counter will inevitably recommend something awesome.  But don’t expect a wide grin and a chirping “How can I help you, sir?”  A lot of Klekolo’s patrons have worked there at one time or another, and if not, they are often on a first-name basis with the employees.  It’s definitely not Starbucks; if you treat the baristas like they work an assembly line, you’ll get glared at bigtime.  (And frankly, you deserve it.)  They’re also open both early and late, which is really nice.

Atmosphere:  Klekolo is the smallest cafe in town, so the tables are pretty close and so are the people.  Fantasy books are neatly arranged on the shelves and flyers for shows and services are plastered all over the bulletin board.  The back wall usually features the work of a local painter or sculptor.

If you go in the morning, you’ll find what looks like all the old Italian men in the state perching outside with their tiny espresso cups and newspapers, speaking a pidgin English and sometimes playing chess.  Later in the day, 20 and 30-somethings who look like they are probably still mourning the original breakup of Rage Against the Machine loiter around the street tables smoking and acting unapproachable.  (Let the yelp reviewers say what they will, but I don’t think a group of guys in Megadeth T-shirts is necessarily “creepy,” just clique-y.)  The parking garage next door blasts classical music in a misguided attempt to ward off hoodlums.  (As a friend pointed out to me yesterday, whoever made that decision has clearly never read/seen A Clockwork Orange.)  The armchairs inside are great for chilling with a laptop, a book, a friend, or a game of chess, and no one will mind if you stay for hours.

WiFi: Free!


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