Papers, exams, extracurriculars– for Yale students, it often seems there just are not enough hours in the day. And since, despite all of the other extraordinary talents possessed by students here, there is no way to add hours of light, Yalies have found another solution — working through the darkness.
But long night after long night gradually takes its toll on weary students. To make sure they don’t pass out in the middle of their Cold War reading, many students rely on a caffeine buzz to get them through the night — or the day. The overwhelming selection of New Haven coffee spots can be intimidating at times, but upon closer examination, each has its own distinct personality.
BEST PLACE FOR:
Long conversations: Koffee Too?
With its warm blue walls and comfortable couches, Koffee Too? provides the perfect atmosphere for a nice long chat with a friend.
“It’s the best place to sit on the couches all day long and talk,” Emily Gruen ’07 said.
Though the plain coffee at Koffee Too? is on the verge of being too bitter, the breadth of selection of specialty coffees and teas makes up for it.
A small regular coffee costs $1.45, just about the average for an Elm City brew. Koffee Too? also provides a variety of lunch foods and baked goods, which students especially enjoy.
“The brownies here are delicious,” Gruen said. “They melt in your mouth.”
Friendly baristas are willing to help out in experimenting with new teas, and the general clientele is laid-back enough to appreciate the jazz music playing in the background.
“It’s the best place to spend six hours and have a very involved conversation with someone,” Elisa Lomnitz ’07 said.
Group studying: Booktrader
Its brighter lights, brick walls and big windows give Booktrader a less cozy feel than Koffee Too?, while at the same time making it more conducive to focusing on work. And Booktrader’s round tables make it the perfect place to study en masse.
“I think it’s a good place to work with a group,” Skyler Brickley GRD ’05 said.
Booktrader’s coffee goes down smoothly, without the bitterness of a cup of Koffee Too?’s joe. Booktrader also boasts a large selection of soups, salads and sandwiches, all of which the sociable baristas are more than happy to provide.
Forlorn Timothy Dwight students: Dunkin’ Donuts on Whitney and Audubon
When the trek to the West Side is just too far, TDers can get their fill of coffee at the Dunkin’ Donuts just past the Gourmet Heaven on Whitney.
“It’s really close to TD, so it’s always convenient,” Dave DeAngelis ’08 said.
Though DeAngelis himself is not a coffee drinker — he goes for the blueberry bagels — some tout Dunkin’ Donuts as having the best coffee of any chain. It has a soft taste, without the usual tartness of black coffee.
Service at Dunkin’ Donuts is efficient — just as one would expect service in a chain fast-food restaurant to be, and a small cup of regular coffee is just $1.38. But the atmosphere is also too much like a chain fast-food restaurant — stark and impersonal. Dunkin’ Donuts’ large selection of bagels and donuts, however, make for a great quick snack for TD-ers on the go.
Saving $1.45: The dining halls
While the coffee in the dining halls does not have the distinct flavors of some of the New Haven coffee shops, it is certainly what college students look for most — it is free.
Dining hall coffee is an item from the Fair Trade organic food program, but its taste is not distinct enough to merit extreme praise. Although there are a few different flavors, dining halls do not boast much variety. A bit nuttier than the rest of the coffees, dining hall brew is always there and always free: tall, grande or venti.
A guaranteed good cup of coffee: Starbucks
Yes, it is cliched. Yes, it is the obvious answer. But coffee at Starbucks never fails to please. With a large selection of freshly-brewed coffees, Starbucks appeals to true coffee connoisseurs.
In addition to regular coffees, Starbucks offers its ever-popular Frappuccinos, rich hot chocolate and some snacks. It recently added a line of light Frappuccinos to its menu, appealing to more calorie-conscious Yalies.
Though Starbucks can get a little louder than some of the other coffee shops, many students choose to head to the corner of Chapel and High to escape dorm-room distractions.
“I like to go to Starbucks because it’s close to my room, and I can get a lot of work done there,” Shani Malloy ’08 said. “And they really do have amazing coffee.”
A small regular coffee at Starbucks is a little pricier than at other caffeine locales — $1.59 — but the robust, almost nutty flavor of the coffee makes it well worth the extra $0.14.
Hang-over cure: Yankee Doodle
Though Yankee Doodle does not have a wide selection of exotic blends, mouthwatering baked goods or innovative salads and sandwiches, this coffee will get even the most hung-over Yalie up and out. Maybe it is the fact that the coffee itself does not taste great; maybe it is the amount of sugar added to the coffee before the paper cup is handed across the counter. But that little cup packs a powerful punch, perfect for pulling anyone out of a Sunday morning slump. A small coffee costs just $0.91, but it is considerable smaller than at the rest of the coffee shops and comes with cream and sugar already added.
So whether you’re searching for solitude and a gourmet brew or a cup of mud to snap you back into reality, there is a place in New Haven for you.
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