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When you NEED coffee in the Westcott Nation, take a Recess

When you NEED coffee in the Westcott Nation, take a Recess

At 7 AM, the C in CNY stands for one thing: caffeine. Nothing unites the region—the stressed students, the early-rising farmers, the 24-hour party people—like the daily ritual of coffee.

To hear the author Steven Johnson tell it, coffee is responsible for the great intellectual leap forward of Enlightenment-age Europe. Closer to home, coffee is the essential fuel that moves Central New York from tough mornings through long afternoons, and into late-night conversations. In celebration of that, LivableCNY is presenting a special series on the best coffee shops and roasters in the region. This isn’t about Starbucks or Tim Hortons—it’s about the local caffeine-scene.

Local coffee shop and roaster, Recess Coffee, understands the importance of ritual. That’s why they serve coffee in a serene, calm place where customers can drink and think.

National coffee franchises like Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks attract big crowds into small space, making it noisy and chaotic. For those who like working while sipping their coffee, Recess Coffee—which provides coffee beans for local restaurants Pastabilities and Strong Hearts Café, just to name a few—doesn’t try to serve a big morning crowd.

Students often come to 110 Harvard Place, to get work done in the dimly-lit, home-style coffee shop filled with comfortable arm chairs and small tables with pots of cacti.

Soft music like Coldplay and U2, mixed with the usual sounds of a coffee shop, soothes those coming to Recess to get work done, creating a relaxed, serene environment on the inside, which invites a diverse crowd.

The diverse crowd has much to choose from. Recess’s menu includes hot and cold coffee and espresso drinks, hot and cold specialty teas, juices, sandwiches, paninis, breakfast sandwiches, baked goods, chips, fruits and more. They also offer many vegan and vegetarian options throughout their menu.

With a smaller morning crowd, Recess Coffee recently went through a bit of a facelift, changing their appearance from the outside, while updating and improving the layout inside. At first glance, Recess Coffee could be confused for a house, but with a worker still painting the front of the business, Recess Coffee continues to go through some changes.

Baristas at Recess Coffee believe that the change in scenery is great for the coffee shop, praising its business.

Tim, a Recess Coffee barista (he declined to give his last name) said the shop gets “… a lot of diversity. We get many people in here, a lot of students and regulars.”

The recent changes in the local coffee shop’s appearance will bring a different color and feel to the ambiance. While painting the front patio, contractor John Sculco explained that the patio was in desperate need of repairing before chairs and tables could be placed on the outside.

“When I came to check it out a few weeks ago, we took up the wood and it was rotted,” said Sculco. “So we’re replacing it so that people can sit out here,” he said. He also mentioned that the patio will be painted grey, a cool color that matches the environment.

The changes to Recess Coffee should continue to attract the small and intimate crowd that craves delicious coffee on Westcott.

About The Author


This site celebrates the people places, and culture that make Central New York one of the most vibrant and livable regions in the country. From Auburn to Utica, from Syracuse, to Ithaca, this is LivableCNY.

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