Consider this new coffee contender in the East Village like a next-gen Apple product of the original Drake neighborhood mainstay; a sleek, caffeinated evolution of how Des Moines experiences coffee consumption.
Barista Daniel Bosman zeros in on what Mars Cafe's identity is based on. It is not the endless mug of dripped Joe and it is not a sugar sweet Starbucks Frappuccino. It is an art.
Fair-trade Kickapoo coffee and espresso is used (like the original Mars Cafe) in the brewing process. Two kinds of espresso, the original Rooster blend and a rotating origin will be available. Mochas, lattes, Americanos and the regulars' favorite latte with almond, honey and cinnamon called the Sputnik will also be available; a selection of hot and iced Gong Fu tea (now a neighbor!), house made chai and cold brew Toddy (iced coffee) round out the menu.
"Quality coffee is definitely the focus," Bosman said of the purposefully unadorned space. "Most drinks are to-go and the espresso is for here."
Eventually there will be a small counter with some seating for the espresso sippers to enjoy the space. As Bosman said, coffee is very social.
The approach to the blends on the menu is seasonal. You try to eat seasonally with produce grown locally in specific seasons for freshness, why not drink coffee that way as well?
"All coffee is seasonal," Bosman said. "Just because you love the Kenya roast does not mean we will always carry it."
Altitude, soil conditions and weather all affect the coffee bean, according to Bosman who recently traveled to Guatemala sponsored by the socially aware Kickapoo Coffee. The Viroqua, Wisconsin-based company is a friendly partner and supporter of the cafe. Kickapoo is a big believer in the education behind the "field-to-cup" mentality.
Along with your favorite cup of coffee (or tea), take one step over to Thelma's Treats for cookies and supreme ice cream sandwiches. An easily devoured treat, Thelma's homemade cookies cradle Anderson-Erickson ice cream in a bountiful bassinet of frozen flavors like Double Chocolate Chip with chocolate ice cream, Sugar Cookie with strawberry ice cream, and of course the Signature Snickerdoodle with vanilla ice cream.
Keep up with Mars' adventures on Twitter and Instagram at @MarsCafe and on Facebook at Mars Cafe. Drink up, Buttercup!
Find it: 505 East Fifth Street
Hours: 6:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Saturday (hours subject to change)