Straying from Strada

With the only Starbucks being at least a 10 minute walk from campus, students have become pretty good at expanding their coffee horizons beyond the world’s largest chain, but students still seem to settle on what feels comfortable and convenient. When it comes to coffee, and to life in general, you should never be afraid to explore! Here’s one gal’s review of a few places and recommendations for more! 

Caffe Strada, conveniently located right across from Phoebe Hearst Anthropology Museum and easily accessible from Unit 1 and many Greek houses, is the first coffee stop for many visitors and incoming students, but, in my opinion, it doesn’t live up to the hype. Don’t get me wrong, it has a great outdoor seating area making it perfect for studying! Great vibes, but the coffee itself? Overpriced and subpar. I would also knock them for their customer service, as the employees never seem that excited to help you out. 

Cafe Milano is another student favorite! I would argue that it is even more conveniently located than Strada, as it is right across from Sproul Plaza! I was taken there by a self-identified coffee enthusiast and was truly so impressed by the white mocha. It was definitely on the sweeter side, but that was exactly what I was looking for, plus it energized me for a long night of studying! Every drink I’ve gotten there has propelled me into another universe and made me feel like a superhero! And, just to put the icing on the cake, you can order ahead on Snackpass!

MY Coffee Roasters latte and croissant

MY Coffee Roastery may be a bit far from campus, but consider it your excuse to take a nice walk, or bus ride, Downtown and visit the farmers market on a Saturday morning — and perhaps even stop by Trader Joe’s or Flora Arte (a plant parent’s dream) while you’re at it! It is an absolutely stunning cottage-style building with a fenced in patio area perfect for studying or just hanging out! If you need a reminder that you’re the main character, this is the place for you! High-quality, hand-picked bean selection with in-house roasting, beautiful latte art, the kindest staff, and unique menu items like the “fluffy” are just a few of the reasons you should mosey down to MLK Way and experience it for yourself! 

Other local favorites to check out are Romeo’s (shout out to the complimentary Hershey’s kisses), Third Culture (rather far from campus but deserves a spot on your coffee/matcha bucket list), Way Station (nothing compares to their lavender latte!), 1951 (great coffee and a great message), and Cole Coffee (situated amongst the beauty and chaos of Elmwood). 

There are still so many places I wanna try! Cafenated Coffee Company, Artís Coffee, Sodoi Coffee Tasting House, Rasa Caffe, The Hidden Cafe, and Souvenir Coffee are all calling me and I can’t wait to answer the phone! Consider this your sign to search through Yelp and show a new coffee shop some love. You can even make it your goal to try a new place every week, month, or however often your coffee budget and caffeine tolerance allows! 


Author: Alyssa Hurtado

I am a second year student studying Environmental Economics and Policy and Urban Studies! I am very involved in the UC Rally Committee, our main spirit group on campus, and love to rep Cal whenever I can! I'm also involved in Greek Life, Residential Life, and a Pre-Law fraternity here on campus. I love combining my interests and passions and seeing where they can take me!