Review of Cafes Around Campus

If you are a cafe enthusiast stuck living the hard cold truth of Caltech, I am here for you. I too am just a simple coffee loving gal trapped in a world of problem sets. Although I love red door, sometimes I just want to get out of the campus bubble. This is why I have compiled a list of my favorite cafes around campus rated by aesthetic, studyability, and the quality of coffee/pastries. The best part is that all of these are walkable so you do not have to experience the horrors of Los Angeles public transit.

The first two locations on our coffee journey are one of the closest coffee shops to campus located in Burlington Arcade on Lake Avenue: Float Coffee Shop and Mandarin Coffee Stand.

Float Coffee Shop

This is one of my go to study spots when I do not want to venture too far off campus.

The coffee is ok if you stick to classics like the iced mocha which is in the picture here. You should stay away from the sandwiches. The location of this cafe in the beautiful Burlington Arcade really sells it and the availability of both indoor and outdoor seating is a bonus. The sad thing about this place is that the Mandarin Coffee Stand is outcompeting it, eroding away at much of its previous allure.

Studyability: 7

Coffee/Pastries: 4

Aesthetic: 9

Mandarin Coffee Stand

Located in Burlington Arcade, you can tell when Mandarin is open based on the huge lines that form. The lines are a testament to the unique and delicious coffee. While this place is on the pricier side and the servings are quite small, it is definitely worth it. The one downside to this cafe is the lack of indoor seating and limited outdoor seating.

Studyability: 5

Coffee/Pastries: 9

Aesthetic: 9

Pillow Talk

This is another shop on Lake that is really nice if you do not want to venture too far off campus. It is known not only for its creative coffee but also its adorable cakes.

I do not usually go to study here since the music is very loud. However, if you are looking for a girly pop study aesthetic this could be your place. They have all sorts of lattes and cakes ranging from tiramisu to honeycomb and indulgent chocolate options.

Studyability: 4

Coffee/Pastries: 9

Aesthetic: 7

Republik Coffee

I go to Republik located close to the intersection of Colorado and South Lake Avenue fairly often to get some work done and enjoy criminally delicious coffee.

The environment both inside and outside this cafe is a work of art. With lots of tables alongside tasteful decor, it feels like cozy neighborhood coffee shop at the scale of a chain. I have liked almost all the drinks I have tried here with my favorite being the black vanilla latte as illustrated in the middle. For people who like their coffee on the sweeter side, the Vietnamese coffee as shown on the left is a must. It can get loud in the afternoons when they bring live music or a DJ and this cafe is always very crowded because it is so popular. Make sure to come during non peak hours if you can. Also, if you do not want to pay 6 dollars for mediocre pastries, just stick to the coffee (you will not be disappointed)

Studyability: 7

Coffee (not including pastries): 10

Aesthetic: 8

The Boy & The Bear

This place is such a gem and I probably should gatekeep and gaslight everyone, but I wonʼt. It is located on Green Street close to South Lake Avenue. The inside is freaking ethereal. It truly feels like a wooden cabin inside a forest with the pleasant wood smell and the decor. The presentation and branding of coffee is on point. The taste of coffee here is also very agreeable and easy to tell that it is quality. Finding seating in this small shop is a bit hard especially at peak hours and the servings can be small if you are getting take out. However, if you go during the week and at a non peak hour, you are certain to have a surprisingly productive study session or an elegant and relaxing coffee break.

Studyability: 9

Coffee/Pastries: 8

Aesthetic: 9

CAR Artisan Chocolate

Now, I really should keep my mouth shut about this place because it is my number one absolute favorite cafe in the area. Located on Colorado, this place has the best croissants I have ever eaten. This is saying something since I have tried croissants in Copenhagen, Paris, DC, Ankara, and many more places. Their pain au chocolat is detrimental to your health because you WILL be craving it like crack (Iʼm not sure if I have to censor that). They have a limited assortment of coffee but you cannot miss with their choco lattes. I can confidently say it is not too sweet. There is ample space and good wifi inside if you want to get a couple of hours of work in. However, you should beware as lines here can curl up to the end of the street beyond the entrance. If you do not go here at least once after reading this review, something is seriously wrong with you. On the other hand, if you keep going so much so that you are part of the crowd, I will have to find you and kill you.

Studyability: 8

Coffee/Pastries: 10

Aesthetic: 9

You can follow me along my journey of exploring cafes around campus, the greater LA area, and even other countries with my instagram account @cafestodiefor! If you visit any one of these cafes feel free to DM me with your take on the study ability, coffee/pastries, and aesthetic.