In addition to being a coffee guy, I'm a history buff. This page will commemorate some of the Milwaukee area's dear (or, um, not) departed coffeehouses. Please do chip in with your memories from any and all eras.
In no particular order:
Jitterz (mid- to late 1990s) - 76th and State, Wauwatosa - When I first went here, they were in a basement. I love basements! Next, they moved to an adjoining 2-story space that later was the Bartolotta Pizzeria Piccolo. I remember that in the more recent location, Jitterz was perhaps the first "Internet Cafe", featuring computers with high-speed access--fast enough to stream music. That seemed pretty darn cool to me in 1997.
Ciao Cafe (2002-2006) - 404 E. Silver Spring Dr., Whitefish Bay - Restaurant as well as coffeehouse. Not much to be said here, as few ever set foot inside. I actually worked here part-time for almost a year--without a doubt, the most dysfunctional environment ever known to man, yet strangely also home to many of the best meals of my life, most cooked for me by the owner after hours. . .
Gil's (1993?-2005?) - N. Downer Ave. - *sigh* Other than the Coffee Trader, this must have pretty much been the original, possibly even pre-Alterra. Home to many, oh so many, of my first dates. Two floors, with restaurant and coffeehouse combined on both (as I recall). It started out a Gil's Espresso Bongo Lounge (!), I think, then became Gil's Cafe, then I utterly lost touch after about 1998. I think it changed quite a bit in later years.
Coffee Trader (anyone have dates?) - N. Downer Ave. - Duh. I'd actually blocked this out before mentioning it just now, due to the memory of the storefront sitting empty for what, a decade? Though perhaps he has departed from the stage somewhat, Dan Katz needs to be run out of town by a torch and pitchfork-wielding crowd.
Places I remember, except for the name (somebody help me out here!):
Basement place (on N. Jackson St. south of E. Wells St.) (mid-1990s) - I think this space was more recently Dino's Taverna. I remember sitting on a couch on the east wall with a date in 1996, so it must have been a coffeehouse. Did I mention that I love basements?