What’s Cookin’ with Bri: Give studying a java jolt

Move over, Thanksgiving, because winter break is on its way.

There are no cutesy, blinking lights in my apartment because they only add to my permanent migraine. There is no sign of Frank Sinatra crooning “Jingle Bells” since he reminds me that I’m homesick.

We don’t have a tinsel-trimmed tree, because frankly I don’t have time to vacuum. No mistletoe hangs in the doorframe since chances are no one will want to come within 20 feet of me while I’m in this fantastic mood.

We don’t have Christmas cookies, holiday-colored groceries or eggnog in the fridge.

Actually, we don’t have much of anything in the fridge.

What prolongs my sad existence in this state of studying until my eyeballs crack out of my skull? A coffee maker, several pound-bags of coffee, sugar, Coffeemate, a cabinet dedicated to coffee filters and a 16-ounce mug. It’s that serious.

Let’s face it: the days in December before the break are all about the consumption and finding of coffee. I checked out some great places to grab a cup o’ Joe around Philly when you need a break from your decidedly smothering study spot.

I’m a no-frills coffee girl. If it smells good, isn’t crunchy and has caffeine I am sold. This is not to say I cannot appreciate a fine blend. The best coffee Philly has to offer, in my opinion, is La Colombe Torrefaction.

Its coffee is served at many fine restaurants around the city because the name alone is a seller. The smooth, robust flavor of its dark roasts is both a great pick-me-up and a relaxant. Cheap prices and quick-handed baristas make this coffeehouse an overall fun experience.

For a cozier and less busy environment, try Millennium Coffee in the heart of the Gayborhood. It might be small, but their chai tea alone made me thrilled my friend and I stopped inside for a chat. Like coffee, chai tea usually has caffeine, but a lesser amount. The spicy tea was a nice switch-up from my traditional fix at a coffeehouse.

My friend packed in the caffeine with a frothy cappuccino so full that he almost steamed off his goatee. Clearly, this place made up for its size in quality drinks.

A last favorite spot for coffee and other drinks is very student-oriented. Located on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus, pretty much the entire clientele are students also studying their brains out.

The cafe has wireless Internet and plenty of tables and chairs for students. Any number of drink combinations is possible, with plenty of sugary add-ins, syrups and flavor shots.

They also serve assorted bagels, pastries, soups in the winter and cookies. The prices border those found at Starbucks for smaller drinks, so get more for your dollar and order the ‘grande.’

My favorite drink is definitely the mocha with extra whipped cream, four shots of espresso and two shots of amaretto syrup. This cafe is the most suited to studying of all three mentioned here.

So when winter break seems as close as Antarctica and you feel as awake as a rock, grab your notes and take a field trip for some wonderful caffeine.

Brianna Barry can be reached at bbarry@temple.edu.

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