Review: End of Semester Tip: Get Your Caffeine Fix

With final paper, group project, and thesis deadlines right around the corner, it’s definitely the most important time of the semester to ensure that you have a steady supply of caffeine running through your bloodstream. Unfortunately, however, many of us have pathetically low amounts of Flex dollars left to obtain our necessary caffeine fix from the Motley or the Sagehen Cafe. Personally, I feel that during the last month of classes, all students, and especially thesis-writing seniors, should be allotted an extra $100-$200 in Flex specifically for triple-shot lattes and extra-sugary mochas. Until this necessary policy is passed, though, there are luckily two delicious and affordable alternatives to getting your fix not too far off campus.

Many of us make the costly mistake of rushing to Starbucks at every caffeine-deficient moment without realizing there are actually alternatives to a Mocha Frappuccino. Last Drop Café, only a short walk away from the 5Cs, offers a creative and diverse menu of tasty beverages and snacks that will fuel your day-long writing sessions for the next few weeks. In addition, Last Drop offers free wireless, a rare amenity that will help you get your work done instead of getting distracted by all your friends at the Motley or SCC. Finishing up that research paper will be a breeze while you sip on a vanilla chai latte, a taro-flavored iced latte, or a strawberry lemonade made with freshly-squeezed lemons. A variety of sweet treats are available to complement your beverage, such as a decadent homemade chocolate chip macadamia nut cookie or an oatmeal cranberry cookie. Another advantage of Last Drop is that it’s located in an extremely low-traffic area of the Village, meaning that the increased alertness caused by your coffee will be directed toward your work rather than checking out passersby. In fact, the only disadvantage of Last Drop is its limited hours—they close at 7 p.m. on weeknights, and from my experience, the majority of college students’ paper writing happens much later than 7. Just get four or five shots of espresso in your drink, though, and you should be wired for the night. Last Drop is located at 119 Harvard Ave. and is open Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturdays 7 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sundays 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

If you need a funky, mellow vibe to get your paper done, CK Café is a village treasure that will make you temporarily forget you’re still in Claremont. Nestled behind the other businesses on Yale Ave., many students don’t even realize CK exists until somebody tells them about the boba-making, hipster hangout that nobody can find on their first try. To get there, just take the side street behind Heroes into the parking lot. The fact that CK is open until midnight gives me hope that someday, maybe someday, Claremont may inch closer and closer to being an actual college town. The dimly-lit interior, comfy chairs, board games, and random collection of books provide a comforting and relaxed atmosphere; the only rule is that they kindly ask everybody to make a purchase. Like Last Drop, they offer free wireless, and also have open-mic nights on Thursdays. The menu includes a tempting variety of sugary indulgences, such as almond or mango-flavored slushies with boba. The Thai iced tea with boba is both creamy and perfectly sweet, and prices are reasonable considering that it is an independent coffee shop. CK also offers an exceptional variety of herbal teas that are far superior to the pre-packaged bags in the dining hall. Order the Dragon-Jasmine tea, for example, and a bulb is dropped into a huge glass of steaming water. Wait a few seconds, and the bulb blossoms into a flower as the tea steeps. With a little milk and a squirt of honey, the dimmed lights, and the cozy furniture, just be careful not to get too relaxed. CK is a must-visit at least once; if not to partake in a delicious smoothie with boba or one of the semi-psychedelic teas, then at least to prove that Claremont isn’t completely devoid of nightlife after 7 p.m. They are open weekdays noon–midnight and weekends 10 a.m.–midnight.

Finals is the time of year when we look forward to summers in the sun, reminisce about the best parties with our friends, and most importantly, realize how badly we’ve procrastinated all semester and that several all-nighters in a row are inevitable. In such a dire situation, always remember to stay caffeinated—I’m sorry, but eagerness and desperation alone are not enough to get that 25-pager done by tomorrow morning. Luckily, though, late-night caffeine fixes can be affordably and deliciously attained at both Last Drop and CK Cafes in the village. Avoid the long lines at the Motley, and the longer lines at the ‘Bucks, and rejoice in the fact that while you’re helping independent businesses, their drinks are helping you pass your classes.

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