These shops are the cream in our coffee

Rachel Karas

When starting a new school year, students tend to focus on getting school supplies, setting up their new living arrangements and either making new friends or meeting up with old ones. The one thing many people forget is their fuel: coffee.

According to a study done by Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 54% of Americans who are 18 or older drink about 3.1 cups of coffee every day. That means the average college student drinks about 1,131.5 cups of coffee in one year.

With all of that coffee, there are many options to choose from on and around Kent State’s campus to supply students’ coffee needs.

In The Kent Stater’s annual Best of Kent issue, community members voted in 27 different categories to choose their favorite local spots.

Voted as the favorite coffee shop in Kent, Tree City Coffee & Pastry is co-owned by Mike Beder and Evan Bailey.

It was founded in 2011 with “a mission to create a true community coffee house experience,” according to the shop’s website.

Tree City has an expansive menu and serves a variety of cappuccinos, mochas, lattes and teas. It also offers a wide variety of desserts and pastries that are made in house every morning along with a large selection of bagels and peanut butter sandwiches. Customers can stop in for the “Honey Nut Crunch,” a sandwich with freshly ground peanut butter, honey and granola, or “The Stelvis,” a peanut butter sandwich topped with banana slices, honey and bacon.

Patrons can enjoy their drinks and treats in any of the shop’s various seating areas, surrounded by a relaxed atmosphere that is great for many different activities.

“I can not work at home and I feel I am more productive working at the coffee shop,” Maeed Almarhabi, a Ph.D student studying English literature, said. “I get distracted so easily when I work at home … I feel like I work better when I’m surrounded by other people. It motivates me.”

Bent Tree Coffee Roasters is the third most popular coffee shop with “Best of Kent” voters.

The shop is an “artisan coffee roaster” that uses “high quality Arabican green coffee beans and carefully roasts them to perfection,” according to its website.

Owned by Kent State graduates Mike Mistur and Ryan Brannon, Bent Tree roasts and brews coffee directly in the shop. It offers a variety of handmade beverages, including teas, mochas and lattes, available at its espresso bar. Cusomers sit on benches and enjoy their drinks as the smell of roasting coffee wafts through the air.

“I love the special that they have which is ‘cappy hour’ where you can get half price from 3 to 6, and that’s a great deal,” said Nicole Shafei, an alumni of Kent State who works with the Kent State chapter of Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship. “Also, I like the environment here. I like that when you walk in you smell the fresh smell of fresh roasted coffee and I think out of all of the maple lattes in the city, their maple latte is the best,” she said.

Another popular coffee shop in downtown Kent that came in second in the “Best of Kent” issue is Scribbles Coffee Company.

Located on North Water Street, Scribbles is the oldest coffee shop in Kent and is owned by Beth Budzar and Jenn Richards.

The shop sells organic, fair trade coffee and provides visitors with a comfortable setting to relax and enjoy their drinks.

“We roast our own coffee here, so that gives us a unique flavor, a unique taste that is strictly Scribbles,” Budzar said. “We have a whole menu of Jr. Bolts, and they are all two shots of espresso, eight ounce drinks and we use organic or natural spices in [them] to give it lots of flavor and lots of kick.”

Artwork rotates on the walls of the shop throughout the year. On weekends in the fall, local artists perform original music.

Besides the local shops, there are also chain coffee houses available for coffee lovers who just want a quick drink.

Located on East Main Street across from Rockwell Hall, Dunkin’ Donuts is a morning staple for many students and faculty.

Since the store is open until 10 p.m., many late-night coffee drinkers and students looking for a place to study will visit Dunkin’ after the shops downtown close.

“I really like Dunkin’ because they have good service, as well as they have larger sizes for less,” said Lauren Eckersley, a junior majoring in music education at the University of Akron.

Dunkin’ offers a wide range of drinks that can be ordered hot, iced or frozen. The fast-food coffee chain also boasts about its “all-day breakfast sandwiches,” which are available along with several kinds of pastries, including its signature donuts.

With two locations on campus and two off campus, Starbucks coffee shop is frequented by many in the Kent State community.

Similar to Dunkin’, Starbucks offers a variety of drinks that can be customized and ordered hot, cold or frozen. It also offers seasonal flavors throughout the year, like pumpkin spice in the fall and peppermint in the winter months.

With the Starbucks app, customers can order and pay online for their order and then pick it up in the store when it’s ready.

“I go to Starbucks because it’s super close to the architecture building,” said Sarah Carter, a senior architectural studies major. “I love their fancy drinks like the cloud macchiato. Also their reward program is great and I love getting a free drink on my birthday every year.”

For coffee lovers who want to save some extra cash, there are several fast food locations like Sheetz, McDonalds and Burger King where people can buy coffee more cheaply.

Rachel Karas is the editor of KentWired. Contact her at [email protected]

Editor’s note: Paige Bennett contributed to this story.