Elena Perez, ’15
Finals are upon us, intense cramming is in the near future, and when it’s T-2 hours until that Biology final and you can’t even remember what a cell is, there’s one drink you can depend on to keep you from breaking out into a full scale crying fit of desperation: coffee.
Coffee is one of the most popular beverages worldwide. Everyday we globally consume 300 tons of caffeine, and for good reason: it releases dopamine, increases concentration, decreases fatigue, and apparently helps your memory. In addition, coffee has some astounding health benefits, preventing against diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and cardiovascular disease. Just when you thought coffee couldn’t get better, it turns out that widespread consumption of coffee in the sixteen hundreds was a large contributor to the Enlightenment period. Switching from a depressant (ale and beer) to a stimulant (coffee and tea) allowed for the intellectual boom of the period. So next time someone tells you you’re addicted to the stuff, too obsessed, or driving yourself into bankruptcy from your absurd quantity of coffee consumption, just lay down the facts and set the record straight. Now that you can enjoy that coffee completely guilt-free, let’s delve into the best places around BHSEC to get a cup of your mojo.
Porto Rico in Essex Market is one of the most convenient places to get coffee if you’re one of those people who, despite what Google Maps and the security guards advise, walk from the Delancey train station. “It’s really quick since all they do is coffee,” (Eugene Vanilla, Y1) and it’s only“$1.25 for a small black coffee” (Noah Gnocchi, 10th). It also has an excellent specialty drinks, the “four dollar iced mochaccino” is a personal favorite of Noah, BHSEC student and coffee enthusiast. Although it’s pricey, it only takes “five drinks to fill up a loyalty card,” so you could get five eighty-five cent teas and then a four dollar iced mocha for free, if that’s how you roll. If you’re in a rush to get to an exam and only have a few bucks, Porto Rico definitely is the way to go.
Café Vita, located on Ludlow and Rivington, is neglected by most BHSEC students who refuse to venture a block past Essex street to get their cup of morning bliss. The fools are oblivious to the splendors that lie within this temple of java. “They’re the kind of place other baristas in the area sneak off to go get really good coffee, literally, Tiny’s Giant people go there” (Cena Alfredo, Y1). It’s only $2.75 for a cup of iced coffee, which is definitely your coffee of choice in the June heat. Despite the coffee being out of this world, it’s still reasonably priced and the baristas are all incredibly friendly. “Vita is hands down the best. Highest quality, roast in-house and best baristas” (Gabriel Halal, Y1). Café Vita’s only downfall is that unlike Porto Rico, Black Cat, and Tiny’s Giant, they don’t have loyalty cards, but with every other detail so perfect, you don’t sweat the small stuff.
But what if you’re in school and you desperately need coffee? Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of incredible options so close to BHSEC; if you haven’t noticed, we are completely surrounded by housing projects. Adinah’s is a go-to stop for all BHSEC students. The walk there and back usually takes you about 10 minutes if you walk quickly, and when there’s no line you can be in and out in about two minutes. The large iced coffee, which is huge, is $2.75, and the small is $2.25. The coffee is fine — it’s deli coffee, so you can’t expect the same quality as Tiny’s or Vita.
Another coffee spot relatively close to BHSEC is Black Cat Coffee, located on Rivington St. It’s a bit farther away, but if you walk quickly the round trip should take about 16 minutes total. However, the service is pretty slow. The upside of this spot is that it is prime study space and you can sit on the sofas there for hours and only order a one-dollar coffee espresso. Also, the people who work there are really sweet.
Finally, if you’re walking down Second Avenue like we all should, there are two different coffee places you should definitely check out for your morning brew. The first is Heaven’s Hot Bagel. Think they only serve bagels? Think again! “They’re cheap, quick and convenient if you’re walking on Second Avenue, [and] they also have pretty good iced coffee” (Isaac Bacon Y1). “Heaven’s rocks my socks” says Megan Cantaloupe, an avid Heaven’s coffee drinker.
If Heaven’s isn’t for you, then you must check out Gaia, a bit further down Second Avenue. Not only is this Italian eatery’s food to die for, but its iced cappuccinos are quite literally transcendent. They don’t just add a bunch of cream, no, they steam milk on top of an iced espresso, and at three bucks, it’s like Gaia is giving it away. It’s not open very early in the morning, but if you stop by during a double free it’s an excellent study place, and if you go there often enough the woman who owns it always throws in free stuff. Hopefully this information will be useful in the weeks to come. And remember, if coffee stimulated the Age of Enlightenment, it can stimulate you to hit those books and ace all those finals. Good luck my little foodies, and have an amazing summer.