Cafe Crawl 2017

UVM BORED is fueling up for finals week by trying out the best coffee shops in town! We’ve visited several popular Burlington coffee shops, and rated them in terms of general atmosphere, price, best coffee alternative, and “studyability”. We’re here to tell you about our favorites. And don’t worry if you’re not a coffee lover, these cafes have options for everyone! Here are our votes and ratings for the best cafes in Burlington:

Onyx Tonics (Naydeline)

“The Trending Tumblr Coffee Shop Pic”

General Atmosphere (10/10): The shop itself is gorgeous! There’s an entire wall full of pop art that is very “instagrammable”. The color scheme of the shop gives it a very calming atmosphere with its teal and gray. The shop gives me modern young Williamsburg couple moves to Burlington to start small coffee shop vibes. Also, the staff is friendly and very helpful if you’re indecisive about what to get from their large array of options. I’d definitely visit again!

Price (7/10): The coffee is quite pricey for the amount of coffee you get, but the high-quality and richness of the brew makes it worth it. The coffee is extremely rich, and comes in a beautiful teal or gray cup with a steamed milk design on top – very picturesque! Not only does the shop have the classic latte, mocha, cappuccino, and espresso. They also have some unique flavors such as: Lime Candy, Juniper, Blueberry, Plum, Black Tea, Concord Grape, Rhubarb, just to name a few. Oh yeah, and they also have super rich hot chocolate and tea as a non-coffee alternative!

Best Coffee Alternative (10/10): The best coffee alternative is DEFINITELY the hot chocolate! The chocolate is extremely rich, and may be the best hot chocolate I’ve had as far as coffee shop hot chocolate’s go. Personally, I liked this coffee alternative more than the actual coffee. I know that’s a BOLD statement, but I got the Tierras Benditas with cream and sugar, and it was way too strong for me! However, if you’re into your coffee, especially rich coffee, I definitely recommend Onyx Tonics.

“Studyability” (8/10): Overall, I think the shop is great for studying. It’s a small shop, and I was sitting right next to the front counter where the magic is made, so it was bit noisy; however, I would study here again because it’s so damn pretty!

Total Score: 8/10!

Scout & Co. (Marty)

“Minimalist Flair”

General Atmosphere (8.5/10): The interior of Scout & Co.’s North St. location has some retro flair in a generally modern and airy atmosphere. The walls are white accented by light colored woods that make up the counter and tables. The lighting is perfect windows surround the shop and there are fixtures above each table that kept my work lit as the sun set at 4pm. My only critique is that the interior is a bit sparse

Price (6/10): While my “smoked maple latte” was delicious and pretty to look at, it was small for its price. However, more standard cups of coffee run 3-5$ which is fair for the quality of coffee you receive. I should note that the smoked maple latte is an experience and comes with a maple marshmallow that is toasted with a blow torch upon serving.

Best Coffee Alternative (7/10): There is a wide breadth of snacks and teas available for those too weak to submit to the magic brown liquid, jk. But the majority of the menu is taken up by coffee items and ice cream, there are about 12 funky flavors of ice cream to choose from such as turmeric cinnamon or sweet potato froyo.

“Studyability” (10/10): This is personal preference but I prefer a quiet drone of conversation to surround me when I am working. The concrete floors and open seating area created a pleasant echo thatresulted in maximum productivity. If you prefer a more quiet space, this shop is not for you, there is little sound deadening and a good amount of guests come to converse. I will definitely be returning to study throughout finals week.

Total Score: 8/10!

I would definitely recommend exploring any of the Scout & Co. locations, there are three to choose from around Burlington and Winooski!

The Cosmic Grind (Jimmy)

“Hip and welcoming”

General Atmosphere (9/10): Right as you walk into Cosmic Grind, you are immediately immersed in an artsy yet contemporary atmosphere with a super cool space theme. The general layout is nothing like any coffee shop I have ever been in as the entrance/”dining room” is more of less a glorified hallway. Not that this is a bad thing at all and it definitely adds to the overall unique character of the cafe.

Price (8/10): I would say that the fair is pretty as expected for any non-mainstream coffee shop. Today when I went, I got a small mocha latte. It was $4.50 and it was totally worth it! All of the other items on the menu seemed like they were pretty average prices as well. Nothing that will break the bank!

Best Coffee Alternative (8/10): Other than their extensive coffee, latte, and hot chocolate selections, The Cosmic Grind also has a minimal but quality selection of baked goods in pedestals on the counter. From huge chocolate chip cookies to fresh slices of coffee cake, they definitely have some yummy sweets to go along with your favorite drink.

“Studyability” (4/10): If you are seriously trying to get some studying in, I would not recommend The Cosmic Grind. Although I love the atmosphere from a regular patron’s point of view, from a student’s perspective who is trying to get work done, the small tables and minimal space to spread out and stay for a long period of time certainly hinders your ability to get work done.

Total Score: 8.5/10!

I loved the fun and unique space theme of the inside of this coffee shop. I would definitely recommend!

Radio Bean (Giannina)

“i love beans”

General Atmosphere (9/10): Heck yeah I love the Bean! The same colors, twinkly lights and disco ball that set the funky music mood when you’re tearing up the dance floor at nighttime makes it a cozy and warm study spot during the daylight hours. The stage is sometimes occupied by welcoming acoustic performers to add taste to your study session.

Price (7/10): Well this one time I accidentally bought a cold brew and it was really expensive but then this other time I bought a regular coffee and it was like a dollar. So I feel like if you really intentionally look at the menu you can make good choices according to your wallet.

Best Coffee Alternative (9/10): There’s a lot going on! I can’t choose the best one. They have a selection of teas! And for the 21+ folks, there’s a whole lot of *spiked* drinks (it is a bar, after all), both warm and cold ones.

“Studyability” (5/10): There aren’t a whole lot of tables, and the seats are pretty hard. Because the Bean is also a music venue, being accommodating to studious studiers probably isn’t their top priority. So if you’re really trying to hunker down and plug into your studies, I wouldn’t go to the Bean. However, it’s a great place for a cozy brain break! f

Total Score: 8/10!

Good good place! I’m a big fan. And don’t forget to check out the adjacent Duino Duende! for some great tacos or chicken and waffles, and the Lamp Shop that is, indeed, a lamp shop as well a great music venue.

Henderson’s (Camilla)

“The Classic”

General Atmosphere (10/10): This is a quick stop on campus that many UVMer’s love. Not only do they provide you with delicious coffee but it is also very convenient when you want somewhere to go study and have a coffee shop vibe, but you don’t wanna make the trek all the way downtown for coffee.

“Studyability” (7.5/10): You’ll definitely run into a few friends and professors, so if you’re trying to buckle down and study, this might not be the place for you because it is often a magnet for chit chat. Otherwise, one of the best places to study on campus.

Best Coffee Alternative: The Matcha latte. BEST. DRINK. EVER. If you can get over the fact it is green, you’ll forever be thanking me that I turned you on to this. It’s pretty caffeinated so it’s a great coffee replacement, and you’ll just need one to get you through the day.