The energy inside of Old World Coffee Lab on a Friday is buzzy.
I’m not sure if it’s the day of the week, the Midtown location or the highly caffeinated menu, but the result is energy that is palpable—and we’re here for it.
As a strictly decaf drinker, I have to start out by praising their no-caffeine coffee options. Not every corner coffee shop serves decaf, and sometimes when they do it’s obvious the choice was an afterthought.
Old World Coffee Lab, however, brews their own beans, including decaf that can be used in espressos, Americanos, pour-overs, etc. and the taste is actually good—not that weird stale flavor you get from diner decaf. So, at first sip, I was pleasantly pleased.
The standout menu items include Keep Calm and Cherry On and Blue Bouquet Tea Tonic, two specialties we hope stick around. The first is a 12 oz. latte boasting big cherry flavor using cherry, almond and cardamom syrup. The latte is then finished with a sprinkle of sea salt to cut the sweet and add dimension. The latter is a 16 oz. tea tonic using blue bouquet tea and tonic syrup. It’s then completed with sparkling water to give it that effervescent kick and a dash of aromatic bitters to bring out the flavors.
While these coffees are obviously extra special, the menu is finished with a lot of regulars. You can sip on single-origin espresso, order a drip coffee (with several available flavors) or get one of the Old World pour overs. If you love the coffee as much as we do, you can browse the retail portion of the coffee shop for bags of beans to take home and brew throughout the week.
Though the options aren’t grand, there is also breakfast here. The go-to is a liege waffle. They take a few minutes to make so not a great option if you’re in a rush but worth it if you can spare the time. If you’re not familiar, liege waffles differ from Belgian waffles because of their batter, which is slightly thicker. They are also made using caramelized pearl sugar clumps, distributed unevenly for surprising little bursts of sweetness.
A pastry case houses other items like muffins and cinnamon rolls, but there’s no microwave in sight for warming them. The liege waffles are made to order so they come out nice and warm, but anything else will be served room temperature unless you take it home and nuke it yourself.
If you have the means, we suggest the cinnamon roll, which is sweet and flaky and perfectly iced, but tastes a million times better when it’s hot and melty.
Overall it’s a worthy contender for your morning cuppa joe, and one more stop to add on your tour of Reno’s local coffee joints.
104 California Ave, Reno, NV 89509
Daily 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Nora Heston Tarte is a long-time Reno resident living on the southside of town. In addition to food, her hobbies include wine, hiking, yoga and travel. She is also the managing editor of a regional, lifestyle publication and freelances for other publications most frequently in the travel space. Nora received her bachelor’s in Journalism from California State University, Sacramento before graduating from University of Nebraska, Lincoln with a master’s in Professional Journalism. You can follow her travel adventures, and local exploits, on her Instagram account @wanderlust_n_wine.