Name: Crescendo Espresso Bar and Music Cafe
Location: 1859 Monroe St, Madison, WI 53711
Ambience: Coffee shop
Best Dish: After School Special
Crescendo is another one of the small, local coffee shops that dot Madison. They are a great study space, with a darker interior, but the large window keeps it feeling open. The staff is very friendly — when I asked, the lady at the counter had a good suggestion for a drink, and mentioned that the music is chosen by the staff. They also have a small area where they sometimes have live music, adding to the feel of the place.
I didn’t quite enjoy their iced vanilla latte, because it was little too watery. However, their ‘after school special’ (at about $3.50), was very good — especially for someone who doesn’t like a strong coffee taste. It’s a blend of chocolate milk with cold brew, and is sweet with a very mild coffee flavor. It’s not as strongly chocolate flavored as a mocha, but the flavors come together very well. They also have a couple of unique options, like a nitrogen cold press and blueberry matcha tea (served either shaken or blended). A friend really liked the shaken version, mentioning that the blueberry really came through. Their black bean burrito was also quite good for a quick snack — although, I’d describe it more as a warm wrap and the salsa was lacking.
Crescendo is a nice spot on Monroe Street for a day of studying, with lots of options and a good atmosphere. It’s a little more spacious than other local coffee shops in Madison, and since it’s less well known, tends to be less crowded. The softer music also helps make a better studying environment.