By Suzannah Young
College life is rough - sometimes it even seems impossible. But coffee is the drug that helps us survive. It is our best friend, our number one fan, and it is our life.
As someone who lives on a solid five hours of sleep and gets her nutritional needs met by mystery substances served in the cafeteria, coffee is my green juice. It’s the extra three hours of sleep I should’ve gotten. It’s the fuel that wakes me up for my 9 a.m. theology class and keeps me alive in my 3 p.m. lecture. This is why I have taken it upon myself to list the top four cafés in Miami I found to serve the strongest coffee, offer the richest menus, and satisfy any desired ambiance needed for studying, all within a reasonable price range.
Coffee Break Enjoy (Bal Harbor)
When I first moved to Miami, I went to the beach nearly every weekend. On the way, I would pass the bustling café, Coffee Break Enjoy. Knowing a busy place is a good place, I eventually stopped for a coffee and immediately fell in love.
Not only are their beverages–like their cappuccinos, smoothies, and detoxifying juices– extremely tasty, but the cafe itself is a mouthful of flavor. The full breakfast and lunch menu is built to satisfy both your health needs and hangover cravings, offering paninis, salads, milanesas, and much more.
Run by a team of strong and efficient Latinas who energize the space just as much as the coffee they serve, this café is mellowed with a simple, yet bright design of light turquoise and yellow accents.
Whether studying inside with floor-to-ceiling windows or out on the sidewalk patio, the popularity of this café suggests using your headphones to focus.
Shepherd Artisan Café (South Beach)
My roommate and I were looking for a good place to study near the beach during the fall semester of 2020 and, long story short, Shepard Artisan Café hit the spot.
This café offers smoothies and caffeinated classics, like iced chai lattes, with all-day breakfast, sandwiches, salads, and a variety of vegan and gluten-free pastries. Walking into the café, guests will see a bookshelf on the back wall, a large marble counter with pastry encasements, an espresso machine, and a kitchen area on the right. Although it has limited indoor options, its outdoor patio contains multiple round tables with large blue-and-white-striped umbrellas and comfortable whickered chairs.
Located right on Collins Ave, I am convinced Shepherd Artisan Café is the only quiet place in South Beach. With the wind off the ocean swaying surrounding palm trees, studying here is a paradise.
Vice City Bean // located in Citadel (North Miami)
For those who can’t travel too far from school, Vice City Bean is your spot. Technically speaking, this spot is a burger joint, pizza parlor, sushi hut, pasta bar, and coffee shop – all in one.
Valuing quality over quantity, the espressos here are quite small for their relatively high price. However, as a former barista, I can tell you this place takes their coffee-craft very seriously for a price that matches the art.
Inside, the industrially designed space is made larger and cozier by its high ceilings with light wooden walls and indoor plants.
For those who prefer to study outdoors, the roof of the Citadel has white umbrellas for evenings and weekend study sessions.
Aroma Espresso Bar (Miami Gardens, South Beach, Downtown)
While I prefer to support local businesses, Aroma is my exception. With three Miami locations covering Miami Gardens, South Beach, and Downtown, its hands down my favorite chain café.
I usually hit the downtown location with my roommate to sit at a booth in the back of the tropical orange and turquoise accented café. Other times, we sit outside overlooking the Brickell skyline under blue umbrellas with the sound of the city and café jazz providing a calming background for studying.
This Mediterranean café has one of the best iced matcha lattes in town and offers unique pastries such as fresh-made burekas, or Balkan cheese danishes. Aroma also offers a modern Mediterranean menu including everything from vegan omelets to burger bagels. And, every coffee comes with a complimentary Aroma chocolate, which might even tide you over until dinner.
I love Aroma for its family-centered environment from its friendly baristas and delicious smells that give studying here a homey feel. So, if you’re sick of Dunkin or itching to get off campus for a couple hours, visit these spots to get schoolwork done while sipping on the matcha latte of your dreams.