The 50 Best College Coffee Shops in America

For the kids who aren't scoring Adderall in the campus library's bathroom, the college coffee shop is a key element of finals week survival. The hellish hours spent cramming and writing papers are made possible by that hot, liquid caffeine pushed on street corners everywhere. You may feel like crashing after that last test, but there's always one more party, meaning one more trip to the coffee shop for one more shot of espresso.

The coffee shop is just as important to the college experience as the bar, or even the bar after the bar, and the late-night eatery only works if you're up late enough to use it. So whether you need a caffeine fix for studying, or a caffeine fix to help you stay up for not studying, these are the 50 Best College Coffee Shops in America.

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50. Kafein

School: Northwestern University
Address: 1621 Chicago Ave, Evanston, Ill.

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This gem has been serving NU students for years, while also being clean enough to house some local Evanstonians. Be sure to read some of the Trivial Pursuit cards aloud to friends. At least they'll drown out the open mic participants.

49. Kiva Han

School: University of Pittsburgh
Address: 420 South Craig St, Pittsburgh, Pa.

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Kiva Han may not have the best place for artisan coffee, but if you need some magma between classes and a slight refuge from the street heat, you might as well come inside. And once you're in you might notice that this is another coffee shop where the food actually makes up for some of joint's miscues. Bring a sharpie, add to the bathroom grafitti and participate in the great public forum of Pittsburgh.

48. Aromas

School: College of William and Mary
Address: 431 Prince George St, Merchants Square, Williamsburg, Va.
aromasworld.com

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It's rare that a coffee shop offer three meals worth of food, especially in such a small location, but Aromas pulls this feat off for the students of William and Mary every day. However, the location, one block from the heart of colonial Williamsburg, makes the sight-seeing the real star. And, perfectly, Aromas is just far enough away to escape the horse-drawn carriage poop. Be sure to ask if they churn their own butter.

47. Gone Wired Coffee

School: Michigan State University
Address: 2021 East Michigan Ave, Lansing, Mich.
wix.com

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More like a Kiwanis club than an actual coffee shop, you certainly can’t accuse Gone Wired Café of being cramped. The church activity room feel certainly makes it easier to focus on your work, unless you can hear the foosball paddles whirring from your second story perch. It’s no frills, but a good place to get a paper down without the crowd of the library.

46. Small World Coffee

School: Princeton
Address: 14 Witherspoon St, Princeton, N.J.
smallworldcoffee.com

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Though they may be more famous for their whole beans or their coffee club, why get the milk from a carton when the cow’s right there? This open-air café invites people in off the streets surrounding it to enjoy some high priced go-juice. You can also grab a great mango lassi, but why bring a golf club to a basketball court? #mixedmetaphor #danrathersteez

45. Donna's

School: Johns Hopkins
Address: 3101 Saint Paul St, Baltimore, Md.
donnas.com

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Baltimore's Donna’s family of cafes are a local staple, and this location near Johns Hopkins offers a big menu to go with its large, handle-less lattes. A restaurant where locals and students intermingle, it's as good a place to study as it is a place to grab a quick dinner and a glass of wine with your professor (hopefully they’ll grab the check).

44. Caffe Regio

School: NYU
Address: 119 MacDougal St, New York, N.Y.
caffereggio.com 

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Take a seat on one of the incredible wood-carved benches, crack out your laptop and transport yourself into historical inaccuracy. This is the quintessential Italian cafe, and sitting inside of it and wasting away the day is unique to very few places besides New York. And yet New Yorkers wouldn’t be caught dead wasting anything, especially time.

43. Lift

School: Virginia Commonwealth University
Address: 218 West Broad St, Richmond, Va.
liftcoffeeshop.com

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A small and whimsical space, designed to look like you're in the clouds that han from the ceiling. They offer all the regular digs in a carefree space, but the make your own to-go six-packs and bottles of wine are a new idea that gives them a little boost. Stop by at happy hour for half-off drip.

42. Bordertown Coffee

School: University of Minnesota
Address: 315 16th Ave Southeast, Minneapolis, Minn.
bordertowncoffee.com

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Bordertown Coffee is probably the only non-profit coffee shop you’re likely to hear of. If not, then it’s likely the only non-profit coffee shop located in an abandoned and six-time condemned frat house. Like a phoenix, Bordertown grew out of a pile of filth into a sweet firebird (with a fireplace) and with none of the residual Axe smell (or whatever the '80s body spray equivalent was). You can even rent some of the rooms for conference-style coffee and croissant consuming.

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