For the OKC Metro Caffeine Addict

For the OKC Metro Caffeine Addict

A (subjective) ranking of my four favorite coffee shops in the OKC metro area.

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I drink coffee too much. I am aware, and I accept that. I find it a source of joy during my stressful weeks to hold a warm latte in the winter or a frozen beverage in the summer. Along with the comfort of the drink itself, I have found several coffee shops in the OKC Metro area whose atmosphere bring me as much joy as the drinks I buy there.

I have ranked each on three categories:

Quality of Drinks: Do they only serve your run-of-the-mill drinks? What about special flavor combinations? Specialty season drinks? You get the idea.

Atmosphere: Is there enough room to sit? Is the atmosphere more suited to studying or meeting with friends? Is? There? Acceptable? Wi-Fi? (The most important question).

Price: This one speaks for itself...

4. Classen Coffee Co. 

Atmosphere: 2 out of 5

Drinks: 3 out of 5 (Recommendation: Vanilla Latte)

Price: 3 out of 5

I'm not trying to completely disregard CCO, I promise. I have several friends that swear by this place, but it's usually my...back-up shop. The few times I've been there, I've liked the drinks well enough, but I end up having to get my drink to-go because the internet connection there is SO slow. I don't know if it's their router or the sheer number of people that are often there, but I usually go to coffee shops study, so this is a major let-down.

3. Starbucks

Atmosphere: 3 out of 5

Drinks: 3 out of 5 (Recommendation: Toasted White Chocolate Mocha)

Price: 3 out of 5

Starbucks is the baseline coffee I compared all the other shops too. The 24th Ave. shop recently underwent a renovation, and I greatly enjoy the new decorations and some of the chairs. That being said, there is usually not much room to sit unless you go at an obscure time, so I had to decrease the atmosphere rating. The seasonal drinks are usually pretty good, but I am often saddened by a lack of afternoon decaffeinated coffee for the (rare) days I'm actually trying to watch my intake.

2. Michelangelo's

Atmosphere: 4 out of 5

Drinks: 4 out of 5 (Recommendation: Orange Blossom Tea)

Price: 4 out of 5

I used to go to Michelangelo's a ton when I was younger, and just this year I started going again. The shop is warm and inviting, and there is an enormous selection of fun drinks to try. I love the warm croissants and hot teas, but I feel like the coffee shop is almost too quiet for me. If you have to study in relative silence, it's a great place, but I always feel awkward trying to talk to my friends because I'm worried I'm disturbing someone.

1. Cuppies and Joe

Atmosphere: 4 out of 5

Drinks: 5 out of 5 (Recommendation: Chai Latte)

Price: 5 out of 5

Forever and always my favorite coffee shop. The shop is a renovated house, so the atmosphere remains cozy and comfortable. The cupcakes are delicious, but the homemade butter on a warm piece of french bread is even better. If you go at what I like to call "Peak College Student Time" (mid-morning or early afternoon), you're probably better off getting your drink to go. I have so many good memories from the shop, from finding out I received a big scholarship there to just hanging out with my closest friends. Cuppies and Joe is one of the biggest things I will miss about Oklahoma City next year.

I'm writing this article while sipping a coffee (big surprise) from one of these shops, but the caffeine hasn't quite hit me yet. I hope these rankings will help you decide where to go when you need your next caffeine fix.

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Please Spare Me From The Three Months Of Summer Break When People Revert Back To High Schoolers

They look forward to swapping stories with their friends at the local diner, walking around their old high school with a weird sense of superiority, and reminiscing their pre-college lives.

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I know a surprising amount of people who actually couldn't wait to go home for the summer. They look forward to swapping stories with their friends at the local diner, walking around their old high school with a weird sense of superiority, and reminiscing their pre-college lives.

Me? Not so much. I don't mean to sound bitter. It's probably really comforting to return to a town where everyone knows your name, where your younger friends want you around to do their prom makeup, and where you can walk through Target without hiding in the deodorant aisle. But because I did this really annoying thing where my personality didn't really develop and my social anxiety didn't really loosen its grip on me until college, I have a very limited number of people to return to.

If you asked someone from my high school about Julia Bond, they would probably describe her as shy, studious, and uptight. I distinctly remember being afraid of people who JUULed (did you get high from it? was it illegal? could I secondhand smoke it and get lung cancer?) and crying over Algebra 1 in study hall (because nothing says fun and friendly like mascara steaks and furious scribbling in the back corner while everyone else throws paper airplanes and plays PubG Mobile).

I like to tell my college friends that if I met High School Julia, I would beat her up. I would like to think I could, even though I go to the gym now a third of the time I did then. It's not that it was High School Julia's fault that she closed herself off to everyone. She had a crippling fear of getting a B and an even worse fear of other people. But because she was so introverted and scared, College Julia has nothing to do but re-watch "The Office" for the 23rd time when she comes back.

Part of me is jealous of the people who came into their own before college. I see pictures of the same big friend groups I envied from a distance in high school, all their smiling faces at each other's college football games and pool parties and beach trips, and it makes me sad that I missed out on so many friendships because I was too scared to put myself out there. That part of me really, really wishes I had done things differently.

But a bigger, more confident part of me is really glad I had that experience. Foremost, everything I've gone through has shaped me. I mean, I hid in the freaking bathroom during lunch for the first two weeks of my freshman year of high school. I never got up to sharpen my pencil because I was scared people would talk about me. I couldn't even eat in front of people because I was so overwhelmingly self-conscious. I remember getting so sick at cross country practice because I ran four or five miles on an empty stomach.

Now, I look back and cringe at the ridiculousness because I've grown so much since then. Sure, I still have my quirks and I'm sure a year from now I'll write an article about what a weirdo Freshman Julia was. But I can tell who had the same experience as me. I can tell who was lonely in high school because they talk to the kids on my floor that study by themselves. I can tell who was afraid of speaking up because they listen so well. I can tell who was without a friend group because they stand by me when others don't. I can tell who hated high school, because it's obvious that they've never been as happy as they are now.

My dislike for high school, while inconvenient for this summer, might be one of the best things to happen to me. I learned how to overcome my fears, how to be independent, and how to make myself happy. I never belonged in high school, and that's why I will never take for granted where I belong here at Rutgers.

So maybe I don't have any prom pictures with a bunch of colorful dresses in a row, and maybe I didn't go to as many football games as I should have. Maybe I would've liked pep rallies, and maybe I missed out on senior week at the beach. But if I had experienced high school differently, I wouldn't be who I am today.

I wouldn't pinch myself daily because I still can't believe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do.

I wouldn't smile so hard every time I come back from class and hear my floormates calling me from the lounge.

I wouldn't well up when my roommate leaves Famous Amos cookies on my desk before a midterm, or know how to help the girl having a panic attack next to me before a final, or hear my mom tell my dad she's never seen me this happy before.

If I had loved high school, I wouldn't realize how amazing I have it in college. So amazing, in fact, that I never want to go home.

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Why Its Okay To Not Go Back To Your Hometown For The Summer

What you need this break is the right way to spend it.

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As the week of finals ends every college student begins to feel this sense of relief. It's the time of year that the sun is shining and outside adventures begin. Plans laying by the water with a cool drink begin to come true.

But for many students that are just ready to enjoy a very much deserved break, there's an overshadowing pressure. A pressure to spend summer, not in the college town that's become important to you, but to spend all your time in the hometown hours away.

Torn between your homesickness and the home you once lived and the new home you've finally settled into. But what's the right answer to how much time is spent in your hometown this summer.

Simply there is no clear answer. Each of us needs mentally, emotionally, and physically something different this summer break. Maybe weekends, one week, or the whole time is what you, personally need to enjoy this time off. But I encourage you to really think about what you need, and not feel pressured to do anything.

Invite your family to spend time with you in this new world of yours. Ask your friends from home to come to visit and meet your friends here in college. The road runs both ways, and if they love you they will spend time with you.

Your friends, job, and life you've built since you moved to college shouldn't have to be put on hold every summer. Never let yourself feel like you have to live a double life just to keep others happy.

But never forget there are more options out there. Those who care about you will understand that you need to refresh from school is an important aspect for your health.

Going home this summer would be great! But if you need to just chill at your apartment to be able to mentally refresh from the year then go for it! If you want to spend your summer back in the town you love with your friends and family you have missed so dearly, then awesome!

This is your summer. Take ahold of it. Use it for fun adventures, long laughs, unforgettable memories, and most importantly a much-deserved break.

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