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The Best Coffeehouses Near Columbia to Get Your Caffeine Fix

By Gustavo Solis | August 9, 2013 4:43pm | Updated on August 12, 2013 6:49am
  DNAinfo has compiled a list of the best coffee houses around Columbia Univeristy.
Best Coffeehouses in Morningside Heights
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MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS — Professors at Columbia University can teach you a great deal about astrophysics, foreign policy and existentialism.

But one thing you might not be able to learn in class is where to get a decent cup of coffee.

DNAinfo has compiled a list of some of the best coffee shops around Morningside Heights for students looking for a caffeine kick.

The Hungarian Pastry Shop, 1030 Amsterdam Ave. (at 111th Street)

This place offers free refills on regular coffee, but you can literally order one cup, sit down for six hours and nobody will bother you.

“It’s a very unobtrusive space,” said staff member Philip Binioris, 27, whose been working there since he was 13. “There’s no pretense about who you’re suppose to be here.”

The Hungarian Pastry Shop is also recommended for serious studying. It is open until 11 p.m. and doesn't have loud, distracting music. Also, it doesn't have Wi-Fi, so don’t expect to waste any time on Facebook.

As one of the biggest coffeehouses in the area, you can usually find a place to sit down.

Baristas don’t use any artificial flavors or corn syrup, so the drinks are pretty tasty. The Hungarian coffee — drip coffee, almond extract, cinnamon, and whipped cream — is perfect if you craving something sweet while the Russian coffee — mocha with unsweetened steamed milk and hot chocolate — is an excellent choice if you’re in the mood for something bitter.

Make sure to bring cash, as the pastry shop doesn’t accept cards.

La Toulousaine, 946 Amsterdam Ave. (at 107th Street)

Let’s face it, sometimes you go to a coffeehouse for the sweets and there's no better place to indulge your sweet tooth than this French pastry shop.

The head pastry chef, Jean-Francois Gatorze, brought his recipes from the south of France. Hear him say "croissants" in his thick accent and you’ll think you’re studying abroad in Toulouse.

All of their pastries are made fresh every day, including their specialty the almond croissant is the best croissant in Manhattan, according to Gatorze.

It isn’t a big place but if you’re lucky enough to get a table you can take advantage of the free Wi-Fi as long as you want.

Make sure to bring cash, they have a $10 minimum for cards.

Oren’s Daily Roast 2882 Broadway (at 112th Street)

Oren’s is the best place to go when you need a great cup of coffee but don’t have a lot of time.

This java joint is all about quality coffee, importing their blends from all over the world, and employing baristas who can guide you to exactly what kind of brew you need.

“Students come in all the time and ask me, ‘What has the most caffeine?’” Selina Ullrich, the store’s manager, said.

The answer to that is the Red Eye, a large drip coffee with two shots of espresso; sure to come in handy during finals week.

The place is small, so it isn’t great for studying. There’s a long line in the mornings but it moves pretty quickly.

Joe The Art of Coffee 550 W 120th St. (at Broadway)

You don’t have to leave campus to get a great cup of coffee with Joe's. Problem is that everyone knows about it.

“Mobs of people form a crazy line to grab coffee before class,” the shop’s owner, said.

The line is worth the wait though. Joe’s treats coffee like a culinary art form. The baristas don’t mess around with specialty drinks or flavored syrup, instead sticking to the classics and do them well.

If you’re new to coffee, a cup of Joe’s will taste a bit strong. But after a while you’ll know what good coffee is.

Culture Tea Bar 3111 Broadway (at La Salle Street)

If you prefer tea leaves to beans, Culture is the place for you.

Culture Tea Bar get their leaves, which are blended with real fruit and flower pedals, from Taiwan. They are one of two teashops in the city that get their leaves from this supplier so you won’t find tea like this in any old teashop.

They also make great bubble tea, using real tea as their base instead of powder, which is commonly used. That makes for really fresh tasting tea that isn't too sweet.

It’s hard to pick out a favorite drink but their apple oolong is unique and definitely worth trying.

The shop has big windows that let in a lot of sunlight. It’s a good place to sit and read for a while but it’s small so if it gets too crowded and you haven’t bought anything in a while you’ll be asked to leave.

Also, don’t be confused by the Chokolat Patisserie decal posted on the window. The teahouse is affiliated with the Chokolat bakery on 125th Street.