Cheap Eats: 4 Cafés for the Perfect Study Date

Being able to participate in New York’s café culture can feel like a blessing and a curse. Although hovering around makeshift, out-of-office desks to set up one of your own may not be an ideal situation, sometimes working outside of one’s apartment is more productive. Plus, when that feeling of accomplishment is accompanied by a perfectly made latte, it’s hard to think that there could be a way of getting things done. Well-made specialty coffee could not ever get enough praise from yours truly. As a self-proclaimed aficionado of the caffeine-related arts, finding the perfect atmosphere to set up shop is always at the forefront of my mind. 


1. Variety Coffee Roasters


Inside Variety Coffee Roasters | Lexington Ave. Location


This classic haunt of many FIT students actually has five locations. Located in the Upper East Side, Chelsea, and three various places in Brooklyn, this specialty coffee shop has a plethora of natural light, relaxing tunes, and seasonal single-origin coffee. While they do not offer things like flavored lattes, they also do not charge extra for alternative milks (Yes, this includes the most coveted, Oatly). All their beans are roasted right here in Brooklyn. This means that your beans are always at their peak freshness! The atmosphere screams vintage Americana— posters of a young David Letterman are framed on the walls, the red, black, gold, and blue are accented by white tile mosaics, dark hardwood, and Brooklyn hipsters. The company itself values sustainability, freshness, and quality above all else. 


2. Devoción


Inside Devoción | Flat Iron location


With four cafes, two located in Manhattan and two in Brooklyn, Devócion also serves up yummy single-origin brews. The yellow interiors, which are always filled with big leafy plants make it feel extra sunny while the red exposed bricks and dark leather add a cozy and intimate feel to the bustling cafés. Beware! Certain cafés don’t offer wifi on weekends. This is a great place to sip and read, particularly on rainy days. The  gloomy feeling that comes with bad weather becomes extinct within the walls of Devócion, allowing me to focus intently on whatever I may need to wrap up that day. As their website explains, “the Devoción team does everything short of picking the cherry, and does it faster than anyone else — we hand-select our 1,000+ farm partners, dry-mill at our Bogotá facility, control the export process, and roast in Brooklyn.”


3. PlantShed


Inside PlantShed | Prince St. location


If you love plants, like, love LOVE plants, this is a must-try stop. With “floral cafés” located on the Upper-West Side and in Nolita, according to their website, PlantShed offers its patrons, “a unique retail experience incorporating both a traditional floral and plant shop with a wellness-focused café”. Even though I do not know what it’s like to dislike the delectable treat we call coffee, this cafe offers many “healthful zero-proof libations made with homemade, holistic ingredients by Have a Nice Daisy Botanical Beverages.” Both of these things make this insta-friendly café unlike anything else in the city. Slow down, sip, and smell the roses! 


4. Dear Mama


Inside Dear Mama | Harlem Location

Dear Mama is an eclectic space. The design elements they use, everything from their porcelain-inspired paper cups to their unfinished wooden fixtures, make this place feel like you’re having the best afternoon tea party ever. This effect does not occur by accident, according to the founders of Dear Mama, each cafe “is a melding of the… fondest childhood memories in the kitchen – especially recipes from their mothers – combined with their mutual passion for delivering quality food and a flawless experience within an artful and warm setting.”  Every cafe is set up a little differently, so to check for things like seating, make sure to look at the location online before you head out.

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