Coffee Confessions: Find Your Perfect Cup

Iman Benraoui, Staff Writer

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We all know the top coffee chains that can be found on every corner, sometimes twice on one street if you’re called Starbucks. But sometimes it’s nice to broaden our horizons and explore new options that aren’t so mainstream. As nice as it is knowing the staple coffee shops we’re surrounded by, don’t you often wonder what lies beyond the world of Starbucks?

There is such a culture that comes along with coffee. Want to meet up with a classmate? Go to a coffee shop. First date? Coffee shop. Want to catch up with an old friend? Let’s do it over coffee. It’s what 83 percent of Americans drink according to USA Today. Seeing the importance that coffee plays in our culture, the following coffee shops were rated based on quality of coffee, customer service, atmosphere, and distinct unique factors.

Starting off with Starbucks, you can never go wrong with a cup of the classic Pike Place roast. The convenience Starbucks offers is definitely the best. With multiple locations right here on campus and virtually anywhere you go, they take the win for that category. The atmosphere is very laid back and study-friendly with their complimentary wifi and outlet plugs at every station. As for customer service, I found Starbucks employees to be the friendliest and most optimistic about their work.

Neck in neck with Starbucks is its famous competitor, Peet’s Coffee. Now when it comes to needing a serious caffeine pick me up, Peet’s takes the win for helping me push through an all nighter. Their medium blend roast is simply delicious and although it is about fifty cents more than a cup of Starbucks coffee, it is absolutely worth it. As for the atmosphere and customer service aspect, Starbucks takes the win. Peet’s employees just aren’t as friendly and the ambiance serves more as a social gathering rather than a study hut. If you’re looking to get your work done, definitely opt out of here for the LRC or Starbucks.

Besides these two famous chains, there are several other places right here in San Diego that are not as big but just as great.

Down the street from campus on Mesa College Dr. is a little shop called LION coffee. The quality of their coffee is outstanding and it feels good to support a local business as well. The iced coffee at LION was by far the best. If you’re looking to get a refreshing drink before class on a hot day, definitely stop by on your way to campus. The employees are extremely social and personable.  They also have amazing acai bowls for a reasonable price that are worth trying.

Another local spot in North Park is the well-known Caffe Calabria. If you’re looking for an artsy cup of coffee, this is your spot. The decor is simply beautiful and the ambiance is relaxing. They do brew their own coffee beans, and offer a variety on the menu varying from cappuccinos with neapolitan pizza. The vibe is one more of a restaurant than a coffee shop, which explains why the employees are more fast paced and a little less personable than the previous shops stated. If you’re looking for a study spot, definitely visit during the day because at night it transforms into a candle lit restaurant.

Last but not least, The Living Room Cafe in La Jolla is the perfect combination of everything. My overall experience here was the best and the environment was very versatile. It seemed to be a hub for college students and when I revisited on a Friday night, it turned from a study zone to a fun social gathering. The diversity The Living Room Cafe offers makes it the most catered to college students.

Each coffee shop offered different attribute that made them equally different. For a easy quick cup of coffee that you can even quickly drive thru, Starbucks takes the win. If you are in need of a caffeine jolt, Peet’s is your spot. If you happen to be in North Park and want an artsy, hip spot to stop by, definitely check out Caffe Calabria. As for an iced coffee or before or after school, LION Coffee is worth the stop to or from your commute. The Living Room is the perfect combination of all the factors that went into judging each place. Wherever you go, you’re bound to enjoy something that each place has to offer!


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