Tuesday, June 23, 2015

"Need a Caffeine Fix...or Not?"- Coffee Houses in the UVa and Charlottesville Community

UVa and the greater Charlottesville area is home to many coffee houses and cafes! Most of these places have extensive menus as well as quiet little areas to study (definitely necessary, especially during the school year!). You also don't have to drink coffee to really appreciate these different cafes. Below are some of the UVa Summer Interns' favorite coffee places:
1. Greenberry's (On-grounds location Alderman Library):
I’ll confess: I know next to nothing about quality of coffee. I could not for the life of me tell you which coffees are “more nimble” (I read that in some fancy coffee review once) or even the difference between a light and dark roast.

That said, my favorite coffee spot in Charlottesville in the Greenberry’s in Alderman Library right here on UVa Grounds. While I can’t speak to the quality of the coffee, this location has more than a few perks that make it my go to spot. For those who find themselves in the same situation (coffee snobs, you can stop here), read on.

  • LOCATION, location, location. Greenberry’s is located in Alderman library, which is centrally located with regard to the University. For the vast majority of students, it’s the closest in proximity to both classes and housing.
  •  Plus Dollars! This Greenberry’s location accepts Plus Dollars, which come with the meal plans offered by the university. READ: you don’t have to spend real money.
  • Study Spaces. Greenberry’s is located right in the lobby of Alderman- perfect for socializing, group projects, etc. Additionally, there are silent spaces throughout the building for serious studying. There’s no need to procrastinate studying by leaving the library to grab a coffee.
  •  Friendly Employees. If you find yourself a regular at Alderman (which many do, especially during finals) many of the employees will get to know you, make conversation, and remember your order.
  • Hours. This location is open during most library hours, and even stays open late during finals.

-Casey Eilbert

2. Greenberry's Cafe (Barracks Road Location):
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Greenberry's is a local coffee chain and there are multiple locations on Grounds and around Charlottesville. The ones that are on Grounds are good to grab a quick cup of coffee and go into the depths of the libraries. The Greenberry's in Barracks, however, offers a large seating area inside as well as quaint tables outside. This is the perfect place for you to get away from Grounds and complete assignments, essays, or express your creativity through creative writing
The menu is also more extensive than the Greenberry's on Grounds by offering breakfast and lunch sandwiches and burritos which are delicious and made fresh to order. My favorite is the Vegetarian Burrito. Take note, however, that the kitchen closes at 2PM. Warm muffins and pastries are available whenever, during all hours. This is a nice place to have a light breakfast or lunch with family or friends. Another idea is to order a burrito or sandwich and take it with you on a hike. Overall the selection of food is extensive and definitely made with quality in mind! 

Coffee-wise, I feel as though the Barracks location has fresher and stronger coffee than the ones on Grounds. If you are staying and enjoying your coffee inside, be sure to ask for your coffee in a mug. They will make your drink in a ceramic mug which is (1) super classy and (2) perfect for Instagram. 

The Greenbery's at Barracks is an excellent option for you if you want a classy, but casual coffee house experience. The Charlottesville Area Transit routes 5, 7, and 8 all stop in the Barracks. Barracks is also about a 15 minute walk from Memorial Gym if you'd prefer that. The atmosphere is relaxing and perfect for either doing work or having long conversations. Enjoy!

-Tyler Cox

3. Mudhouse:
There are multiple Mudhouse coffee shops located around the Charlottesville area
that students often frequent. Firstly, students can hop on the Charlottesville free trolley or
walk to the Downtown Mall, which is a outdoor pedestrian mall located about a mile from
Grounds, to grab a café drink or a pastry while exploring downtown. Often time, students
will travel out to Mudhouse as a good way to get away from Grounds or from any
distractions so that they can focus on work and studying in a different setting than what
they are accustomed to. Students also travel out to the Mudhouse in Crozet, a small town
about 15 minutes from Charlottesville, to study or to grab a cup of coffee after going on a
sunrise hike at Humpback Rock or any of the other Blue Ridge Mountains. Mudhouse offers
a variety of drinks and food options and is a very common place for students to travel to when exploring Charlottesville

- Connor Andrews

4. Starbucks (On-grounds location Nau-Gibson)

This is a great coffee shop for UVA students since it is on grounds, conveniently located in Nau-Gibson Hall where many politics and history classes are and its only a few minutes from the Lawn. Even more important than its convenience, it's location on grounds means they take plus dollars as payment! This is also a great place to study because Nau-Gibson has many seats and tables just outside the Starbucks, along with the seating inside the Starbucks itself. Professors and TAs (Teaching Assistants) will often take advantage of these and have office hours close to the Starbucks. The employees at Starbucks are great and are always a pleasure to chat with in between classes while you stop for a quick coffee fix!

- Erik Morlock

5. Starbucks (The Corner location):

While Charlottesville offers a multitude of different coffee houses to try out, my favorite has to be the classic (and non-UVA specific) Starbucks. Located on the Corner, the Starbucks is surrounded by a variety of other shops and eateries as well—it isn’t uncommon for students to grab a Starbucks coffee and then head right next door to Bodo’s Bagels for a bite to eat. 

Not only is the Starbucks a great place to stop if you’re in a hurry, but they also have lovely upstairs area for dining inside. With free Wi-Fi, comfy chairs, and numerous outlets, it’s no wonder that many students flock to this area during finals week. The nice ambient music is conductive to all situations, from studying for a test to catching up with an old friend.

I struggle to make a recommendation only because of the plethora of different options, each of which is pretty good (believe me—I’ve tried them all)! On a hot summer day, I highly recommend the Peach Green Tea Lemonade. If you want something caffeinated and sweet, try the new S’mores Frappuccino. And of course, the classic Caffè Mocha is a great way to warm up on a cold winter morning. If you feel like going on an adventure, Starbucks also has a “secret menu”, a fan-created list of various Starbucks drinks you can custom order—I have yet to try any out, but they all look scrumptious.

From classic favorites to novel recipes, the Starbucks on the Corner is a great way to satisfy that coffee need for any “Starbucks lover”, Taylor Swift fan or otherwise.

- Catherine Pollack

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