Is there anything better than studying at a coffee shop? Picture yourself cranking out a midterm paper amidst the whir of espresso machines, the soft hum of conversation, and the gentle clinking of mugs and plates. Coffee shops are often a college student's ideal study space -- and for good reason. A study led by University of Illinois professor Ravi Mehta finds that a certain level of ambient noise -- the sweet spot being the levels found in your average coffee shop -- actually boosts our productivity, when compared to louder or even quieter environments (sorry, Willy T). For a quick and cheap fix, make a friend with a Keurig and open up Coffitivity in a new tab -- but if you want the real deal, bundle up and head out to one of Lexington's great local coffee shops.
1. Common Grounds Coffee House at 343 E. High St.
If you're looking for a wide variety of creative drinks and a great study atmosphere, the original Common Grounds is for you. They've got plenty of study space (pro tip: yes, you can go upstairs -- the entire second floor is filled with tables you can study at), comfy seating (hello, couches), and a great, studious atmosphere. Bonus: every Monday night is open mic, so go belt out your midterm stress.
Try: Rattlesnake latte.
2. Coffea Island at 385 Rose St.
If you're living on/near campus, there's a good chance that Coffea is the closest coffee shop to you. Perks include a warm, welcoming atmosphere, comfy booth seating, late hours for last-minute exam cramming, and a huge menu of imaginative drinks. Bonus: you get a chocolate-covered espresso bean with your coffee.
Try: Portland Park latte.
3. A Cup of Commonwealth at 105 Eastern Ave.
The summer that I lived in the apartment complex above A Cup of Commonwealth was one of the greatest (and most caffeinated) times of my life. It's a true hole in the wall: small and unassuming from the outside, but cozy and welcoming inside. There's very limited seating, but if you find yourself without one you can head to Thoroughbred Park across the street and soak up a bit of autumn sun. Pro tip: check out the pay it forward board to see if you can score a free coffee (and leave one to make someone else's day).
Try: Bottled cold brew.
4. Third Street Stuff at 257 N. Limestone St.
Third Street Stuff is definitely not your parent's coffee shop. With a color scheme like a Warhol painting and decorations adorning literally every inch of available space, the whole store seems like a giant piece of art. Gazing at a festive wall covered in paintings and newspaper clippings is a great break from your twelve-page single-spaced midterm paper due tomorrow at eight. Bonus: if studying has left you too stressed for words, you can get your retail therapy on at their eclectic gift shop, located in the front of the store.
Try: S'mores latte.
5. North Lime Coffee and Donuts at 575 N. Limestone St.
Your reason to go here is all in the name -- donuts. Not just any regular Krispy Kreme, either -- their wide range of speciality donuts is both mind-blowing and awe-inspiring. You just may cry from the sheer pathos of the spiritual experience that your first North Lime donut brings. The atmosphere is warm, rustic, and hipster-ish in a perfect way, and don't be fooled: they may be famous for their sweets, but their coffee is just as good.
Try: Caramel macchiato and funnel cake donut.
6. Daily Offerings Coffee Roastery at 529 W. Main St.
Daily Offerings is the new kid on the block when it comes to Lexington coffee shops, but don't be fooled: it's here to stay. It's a huge, modern, minimalistic space: perfect for those of us with low attention spans who need to sit down and cram for an exam with absolutely no distractions. The menu is simple and no-nonsense, but don't be afraid to experiment with a custom drink. They also have a great selection of pastries, including many gluten-free options.
Try: Latte with half-vanilla and half-hazelnut syrup.
7. Coffee Times Coffee House at 2571 Regency Road.
If you happen to find yourself by the Fayette Mall area and want to get a few study hours in, stop by Coffee Times. They have plenty of comfy seating, incredibly friendly baristas (who remembered my name after a month of not seeing me!), a store to browse for coffee products and other fun gifts, and a homey, study-friendly atmosphere. Bonus: when you're finished studying, head next door to the adorable vintage shop and treat yoself.
Try: Log cabin latte.
8. Wild Fig Books and Coffee: 726 N Limestone St.
It's a bookstore and a coffee shop. I repeat: it's a bookstore and a coffee shop. Aside from being every English major's dream, this place boasts one of the happiest mediums between the two most popular study spots: libraries and coffee shops. Those of you who like to hole up in the Willy T until the wee hours of the morning will appreciate this (subtle) change of scenery.
Try: Flat white.