There are few things I love more than coffee. The taste, the smell, the energy boost it gives me: I don’t know how I would be able to function without it. Thankfully, I don’t seem to be alone in that front at Macalester. It’s not uncommon to see scores of people walking to their morning class with a tumbler or cup of coffee, and there are plenty of places right around campus where I can get a cup of coffee (or tea, if I’m in the mood.) The coffee shops around campus are amazing places to study, chat with a professor about a paper, or take a study break and catch up with a friend. And as I’ve slowly branched out and explored the Twin Cities beyond Macalester’s campus, I’ve found more and more places that have great cups of coffee. If you’re ever up visiting Macalester, walk around the neighborhood and pop into one of the se shops – you won’t be disappointed!
Dunn Bros: This is my favorite place to grab a quick coffee on the way to class. Even though Dunn Bros is a Minnesota chain, this is the original location so it still has the feel of an independent coffee house. They roast all their beans in-house (which makes it smell amazing inside) and their coffee is very strong. It’s cheap, too — a 16-ounce cup only costs $2! I’ve had quite few meetings with professors here, and Garrison Keillor is known to frequent Dunn Bros. It’s also open until 10:00, and they have live music almost every night of the week. When it comes to coffee shops, Dunn Bros is hard to beat.
Caribou: Caribou is my go-to place if I know I need to hunker down and spend a few hours writing a paper or studying. Even though it is a chain, Caribou has a really cozy feel inside of it that makes it a great place to spend a few hours in. Their chairs are super cozy, the tables have plenty of room for spreading out, and there are plenty of power outlets which are great for plugging in your laptop. There’s plenty of chalkboards for you to scribble on, and they have a daily trivia question which, if you answer correctly, gives you 10 cents off. I tend to treat myself when I go there and get a specialty drink — check out the Mint Condition Mocha! It’s also located right across from campus, making it super easy to get to and they have pretty generous hours.
Grand Central: This coffee shop/restaurant is one of the newer additions to the neighborhood; it opened about a year and a half ago and has quickly become one of my favorite places on Grand. Everything feels very sleek and polished inside, and they recently started showing different professional photography collections on the walls. I love their coffee (their lattes are huge!) but they really stand apart from these other coffee shops because of their great menu. Try one of their crepes–they have plenty of different kinds and they’re all equally as filling. Throw a cup of coffee in there and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better lunch near campus.
Cahoots: By far my favorite coffee shop in St. Paul. It’s about a ten minute walk away, but if you’re willing to make the trek, it’s so worth it. It’s the coziest coffee shop I’ve been to here, and they have a beautiful patio that feels like it was plucked right out of Europe. This is the one coffee shop on the list where I refuse to do homework — I use this space solely to catch up with friends or get away and read for a few hours. My favorite drink here, by far, is the lavender mocha.
The Grille: Right in the Campus Center, it’s the only place I’m talking about that’s actually on campus. While I love the experience of hunkering down at a cozy coffee shop for a few hours, sometimes you just need that bare-bones cup of coffee to keep you going. That’s where the Grille comes in. If I’m working upstairs in the CC (my favorite place to study on campus), I’ll often pop downstairs and buy a quick coffee to fuel my studying for a few more hours. They also take flex and aux points, so paying for your coffee is incredibly easy here. Plus, for the true night owls out there, it’s open until midnight during the week!