Berkeley is famous for coffee spots like Caffe Strada (voted eight-best college town coffee shop by Complex Magazine) and Café Mediterraneum (self-proclaimed creator of the cafe latte), but sometimes finding a free seat – let alone a power outlet for your laptop – in any of the old favorites can prove a challenge. If you’re looking for a change of scene, here are a few new coffee shops we’ve spotted in the past few months: read more »
The library, as a study space, sucks. That is, unless you’re one of the some who thrive off of a collective atmosphere of stress, anxiety and dread, enjoy being somewhere so quiet that you can perfectly hear the sh*tty house music emanating from your neighbor’s earbuds, and prefer the smuggling of energy drinks over the freedom to drink coffee while you work. For the rest of us, we go to cafés.
However, we’ve experienced over the years that the wifi situation varies notably from café to café. At best, you’ll experience free, fast wifi that doesn’t make you jump through hoops to access. At worst, you’ll find places where you must inquire for a wifi password, only to connect to a slow or flickering connection that makes you watch a 30-second ad every hour. Not to mention the audacious f*cks that charge a fee.
For your convenience, the Clog has compiled a list of 12 near-to-campus cafés and the wifi sitch for each: read more »
Ah. Nothing says snooty intellectual college life like a steaming hot caffeinated beverage, equally pretentious company and some good, old-fashioned studying. So when we embarked on our latest crawl, we thought it would be appropriate to revisit cafes as a theme–only this time, the Clog kept a keener eye on study-ability, and ordered cappuccinos (at the behest of special guest Clogger/Arts blogger/ caffeine fiend, Rajesh Srinivasan), rather than lattes.
We also came up with a somewhat arbitrary–yet ever so apropos–overall rating scale. From worst to best: Steamed Milk, Weak Coffee, Single Shot, Double Shot or Triple Shot. read more »
First stop, Nefeli’s Caffe, the shining star of Northside, and what turns out to be some of the best coffee in town.
Ethan Strauss: Can you normally grind your own nutmeg? Because that’s pretty cool.
Christine Borden: Very good mix of cafe and latte. You don’t even need sugar.
ES: You can really taste the beaniness.
CB: The beaniness?
ES: The beaniness.
Gerald Nicdao: …
Quality of coffee: 9 of 10
Overall quality: 8.5 of 10
Ethan’s rating of pretentiousness: 7 of 10
Next we wandered down Hearst Avenue toward Berkeley Espresso. Despite the underwhelming coffee, we’ve gotta give some points out to anywhere that has free wi-fi. Their carrot cake’s pretty damn good too.
ES: The flavor is reminiscent of burnt taste buds.
Skyler Reid: It’s definitely a weak flavor . . . way too hot . . . yeah, burnt taste buds seems about right.
CB: Needs sugar. [Goes inside to get sugar. Adds one packet of sugar. Sips. Adds a second packet of sugar. Sips] The sugar didn’t work. It still tastes like burn.
Quality of coffee: 6 of 10
Overall quality: 8 of 10
Ethan’s rating of pretentiousness: 9 of 10
People’s seems to be hidden in the occasionally staggering number of options near University and Shattuck avenues. Sadly, it’s not that big a loss.
SR: Feels a little bit quiet . . . and there’s a creepy old guy staring at you, Christine.
ES: I don’t really know about this flavor.
SR: You mean the flavor of overly roasted beans and bubbly foam?
CB: Wow. This tastes just like the smell of my weird video production teacher’s breath in high school . . . wait, that sounds wrong.
ES: Whatever the fuck that stuff is on the wall, it’s cool.
CB: That’s bamboo, Ethan. Hey, if you’re really lucky you might find that book for class that you never bought!
Quality of coffee: 5 of 10
Overall quality: 7 of 10
Ethan’s rating of pretentiousness: 8 of 10
The Clog’s next stop in our pain-staking research was the Free Speech Movement Cafe. Low and behold, it’s closed for Memorial Day weekend. But that didn’t stop Ethan from monologuing in place of an actual review.
ES: So at FSM you get to stand in a line that’s twenty people long where you’ll run into a GSI from a class you took two semesters ago and have an awkward conversation about the class, which you don’t remember at all. Eventually you make it through the line of annoying, screeching students and are served by that one guy who everyone knows. You know, that one guy. The coffee is spectacularly alright-ish, but then you have to somehow find seating, which is simply impossible to do anywhere inside.
CB: Great place to smoke, though.
Quality of coffee: N/A
Overall quality: N/A
Ethan’s rating of pretentiousness: N/A
A short walk across campus brought us to the normally packed Cafe Milano. Chalk it up to the effects of too much caffeine (we’re all drinking water by this point), but everything seemed a bit off, from the service to the taste of the latte.
SR: Tastes . . . sour? It’s like the milk is a bit off.
CB: It tastes a bit burnt. I’m reminded of Berkeley Espresso.
ES: The only way it could feel more pretentious would be if they built a chamber for foreign grad students to smoke in while listening to minimalist electronic music.
Quality of coffee: 5.5 of 10
Overall quality: 6.5 of 10
Ethan’s rating of pretentiousness: 11+ of 10
In the last stop of the day, the heavily caffeinated Clog staff went all the way down to Beanery by College and Ashby avenues. While it is, admittedly, outside of the two block radius from campus that most students rarely break, we felt it important to see what was available in the outer ring of the Berkeley Bubble.
ES: Although the milkiness might be too much for some people, I think it’s nice. It makes it really smooth. Reminds me of the lattes my mom used to make.
SR: [Confused look]
ES: No, seriously. That’s not even a joke.
CB: I like it, but it’s kind of overshadowed by this peanut butter cup sundae drenched in hot fudge and peanuts.
ES: [Finishing last coffee] Mmmm, tastes like Gerald.