Searching for the Best Coffee in Claremont

As finals and end-of-semester projects draw closer and closer, one drink has become a favorite across all five campuses: coffee. Available in a variety of forms (latte, mocha, black) and desired for its caffeine content, coffee is a vital survival tool for most college students. But where is the best place to buy coffee? Even though the campuses and Village are relatively small, there are still many options. So, The Student Life sent me out to investigate and report back on the best coffee in Claremont.

There are three main factors that would define the best cup of coffee in Claremont: First and most important is taste—we may be drinking it for the caffeine, but we still want something that tastes good. The second most important factor is price, seeing as we’re college students and therefore broke. Finally, we have to consider accessibility.

The campuses themselves offer lots of food and café options, but not many of these places specialize in a variety of coffee and espresso drinks. The only self-declared “coffee shop” is the Motley, located in Seal Court on the Scripps Campus. The Motley has lots of pros and cons. Overall, it had very tasty black coffee at a reasonable price (12 ounces for $1.40), but this good-quality coffee required a wait since they make their coffee fresh to order. It is possible to get instant auto-drip coffee, but this type is not very good. It is also important to note that the Motley specializes in sustainability and charges an extra dollar for a to-go cup. If you go, be sure to bring your own thermos or mug in order to avoid the charge.

Another popular place to get coffee on campus is the Honnold-Mudd Café. Unlike the Motley, they only have two sizes of coffees at slightly higher prices (12 ounces for $1.50). Their location is great if you need to get work done in the library and is closer to Pomona College. Overall, though, their coffee was of an inferior quality and left a slightly bitter taste.

I checked out three coffee shops in the Village, though there are more. I tried Last Drop Café at 119 Harvard Avenue, Some Crust Bakery at 119 Yale Avenue, and The Coffee Bean at 101 N. Indian Hill Boulevard.

Some Crust Bakery is known for accepting Claremont Cash and offering up delicious yet affordable sandwiches and baked goods. Based on that fact and the store’s name, it should not have been surprising that patrons don’t go for the quality of the coffee. A 16-ounce regular coffee cost $2 and was definitely one of the worst coffees I tasted. It was very bitter and hard to drink. To top it off, I had to wait quite a while for that disappointing cup.

The Village represents two coffee chains: Starbucks and The Coffee Bean. The latter had good coffee at $1.70 for 16 ounces. Their café is clean, has free wireless, and, as a bonus, is next to Yogurtland. There are many solid reasons for choosing to buy coffee at this shop.

However, the coffee joint that takes the cake would have to be Last Drop Café. The only drawback is that there are not many tables, so you may not get to sit down to enjoy the drink. A 16-ounce coffee usually costs $1.60, but their student discount brings it down to $1.44, so they’re obviously the most affordable. Not only was the coffee served instantly, but it was piping hot, delicious, and easy to drink.

The Last Drop Café offers around five to seven different roasts, including flavored coffees, a regular, a dark roast, and occasionally organic coffees. The staff is always friendly, and the shop is local, so it’s common to see the owner around. Earlier in the year, my friends and I were even given free, fresh-baked goods by the café owner! Free wireless is available as well, and the walk— just a couple streets off of College Avenue—is very doable.

Sometimes it is hard to explore beyond well-known chains like Starbucks and discover someplace new, but hopefully with these recommendations in hand, students can rest assured knowing that their mug will be filled with something delicious. Perhaps, the quest for the best coffee in Claremont can finally end.

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