Get Caffeinated, Get Hype

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Lehigh Culture & Community


by Sam Sorensen & Katie Hurlock

Environment can be the most influential factor in your productivity level; leave your apartment and be a functioning person in the real world, but comfortably so! It also holds you accountable–you feel like you cannot squander away time on Facebook or what have you because you want to look like a serious scholar to the masses.

In this post, we review quite a few coffee shops near Lehigh and out and about in the valley. The location photos are all courtesy of Sam.

The South Side
Lit Roastery and Bakeshop

Sam: I am in love with this place. Full stop. The South Side has needed something like this spot, and I’m glad it’s arrived. This place is a collaboration between Monocacy Coffee Co. and Made by Lino. They roast coffee and bake goods on-site. Melanie Lino is quite possibly the best baker I’ve ever met and keeps you guessing with delightful treats like Fruity Pebbles macarons, lavender blackberry cake, and spiced blueberry and lemon empanadas. She has also perfected the chocolate chip cookie with a slight kick of sea salt—it’s to die for. As for the coffee, these guys have a DOPE iced Americano (no sugar, light half & half). A+

Katie: It’s lit, as the kids say. I agree with Sam 100%. The only minor problems with Lit are few outlets, crowding (especially on weekends), and occasionally grating techno-loop music. They do host local farmers and other vendors most Saturdays, so you can do food or gift shopping and studying on the same trip. My favorite is the Assam black tea (with their raw local honey!) and the white chocolate rosemary cookie. A+

Sam: Saxby’s is one of the more convenient locations that’s technically “off-campus,” but it’s often crowded and therefore loud. This is a pretty significant detail for me, since I often need at least some quiet to focus. However, there are quite a few outlets available. C

Katie: The wooooorst place in the City of Bethlehem. It’s geographically convenient, but so is Lit, Deja Brew, and the college Bookstore–or literally anywhere else. Saxby’s is always crowded with young people at all hours of the day. Bad drinks, bad food, a bad time. (I will concede that, other than me, most people I know find it somewhere between tolerable to fine). F

Deja Brew
Sam: I want to love this place, and I do, in ways. Let me explain. I’m super into their sandwiches, and their prices are very reasonable. I love that. But, I’m not particularly into the space itself; it’s a vibe thing, I guess, and I can’t seem to ever spend more than a lunch break here. But, that’s just me–I always see people studying here, so it’s definitely possible. B+

Katie: It’s complicated. I actually really love a lot of the drinks at Deja Brew–they do interesting flavored coffees and hot chocolates you can’t find anywhere else–and, unlike Lit most days, they have actual lunch food, so you can easily spend a whole day here. I like the Cherry Bomb (hot cocoa with cherry syrup and whipped cream–I am, in fact, secretly five-years-old) and the Tuna Melt sandwich. I agree with Sam that the work ~vibe~ is imperfect. I think it especially tends to crowd around 11-1 each day, since more people do know it as a lunch spot, but that cuts into peak study hours. B+

Lehigh Bookstore Café
Sam: Oddly enough, this place is usually deserted, especially on weekends. It offers most of the usual ‘Bux products, and ample outlets are available. Unfortunately, it closes at 5 on weekends, so if you don’t leave your apartment until 2… you know. B

Katie: A perfectly reasonable workspace, provided that you are alright with the usual Starbucks beverages and sandwiches. Like Sam said, the cafe, unexpectedly, tends to be relatively uncrowded, especially on weekends. Those who are there tend to also be studying, keeping the general volume down. Unfortunately, though, you get to hear some sort of carefully crafted playlist of the Hits of Circa 2005-2009, which is always playing at a rather loud volume, giving me, at least, weird 8th grade dance flashbacks. B+

The North Side
The Joint

Sam: I don’t know… I like the Joint, I guess. I’ve worked here because it’s close to my apartment. Again, though, they close at bizarre hours on the weekend, but they’re at least open on Sundays (unlike Lit). The place is small, and you feel it. There aren’t many tables or outlets, and I feel like I’m in a closet, so I can’t work there for too long until I feel the need to shift to another space. (This is where I feel like this is becoming a post about how picky I am. *shrug*). Regardless, I’ve regularly heard good music here (Beirut, Mac DeMarco are pretty standard). B+

Katie: Here is where Sam and I are going to have our major earth-shattering disagreement of this post. I love The Joint. I think they are perfect. It’s super cozy–I like the low ceilings and vaguely cavernous feel. The lighting is comfortably dim (not so dim that you can’t work, but not so bright that your eyes liquefy), and the playlist is non-obnoxious. They have amazing homemade flavored syrups–a latte with lavender and honey syrups is to die for. The Joint is my favorite place to be when it’s raining outside, especially. A+

Moravian Bookshop

Sam: Another earth-shattering disagreement! I love the Moravian Bookstore. It has an open, fresh feel to it, and I can sit here for hours. I don’t tend to get distracted. They also have regular drip coffee available, but it’s nothing to write home about–I’m here strictly for the space. A+

Katie: I also kind of hate Moravian Bookstore, though in a bit more of a low-key fashion than Saxby’s. It’s fine, but nothing to really get excited about. The food is incredibly overpriced (do not get the cheese plate). I find the tables and chairs a bit small and uncomfortable. I’ve never been able to do anything really productive here. C

Greenmouth Table
Sam: I really love the aesthetic details of Greenmouth; it’s in a house, super cute decor, everything. But, they’re SO expensive. The vegan burrito is life, and they also brew Monocacy Coffee Co. coffee. Their smoothies are also wonderful. I have graded and written papers here successfully, but they recently instituted a bizarre “loitering” rule–only in effect on weekends, which is when I would hit this place up because many places are closed. There are a couple outlets, and it can get slightly noisy. I will say that they know how to make a smaller space bright and comfortable though, unlike the Joint. (They also have another location in Allentown!) B

Katie: I have incredibly mixed feelings about this one. It’s very expensive–you get what you pay for, with totally delicious vegan food and smoothies (try the burrito, peanut butter banana sandwich, and/or Red Velvet smoothie), but is a bit out of the grad student budget for regular visits. They also have a weird, passive aggressive sign up about not staying more than an hour when it’s crowded. You can either leave, and not get work done, or stay, feel the weight of your incredible guilt, and, thus, still not get work done. It’s generally quiet, though, with ample comfortable seating and outlets. B-

Terra Café

Sam: This feels like another Deja Brew to me, only further away. They have an above-average Americano and decent sandwiches. They also have Sunday hours which are attractive to me, a person who works on Sundays. It’s a bright coffee shop but with almost no outlets and few tables. It’s also next to the Easton Public Market, which is a bonus, but also not conducive to actually completing your work. B

Katie: Basically, Terra is a no frills, standard-issue coffee shop. Nothing to write home or complain about. They do have a slightly above average tea selection (I had some kind of orange spice-ish thing, which was very good with honey), but, overall, basic drinks, coffee shop sandwiches, and typical baked goods. It’s located next to the Easton Public Market, which is handy if you want to break for a more substantial meal or to pick up groceries. It’s quiet and has a non-offensive playlist. B+

Whitehall Barnes & Noble
Sam: All I know is that this B&N is right next to Sephora, so… Guess where I’d be? #poorselfcontrol

Katie: We included this one because it’s one of the few places that all you kids living in the Saucon Village Grad Apartments without cars (so, me, in another life) can access easily. The campus bus goes here on Saturday afternoons and evenings, leaving from the SV bus stop. As a person who lived in the apartments without a car, I appreciate its ease of access, but that’s its only major merit. Otherwise, it wavers between fine (a perfectly predictable Barnes and Noble Cafe) to above average in annoyingness. It is in the mall, so expect to see (and, more unfortunately, hear) lots of youths hanging around. A creepy man here once tried to get me to talk to him by inquiring about the book I was reading (Caleb Williams, for all you early Romanticists out there), but that seems to be a non-normative incident. B-

Well, there you have it. Check out these coffee shops for yourself (or others–who knows about the Wise Bean on the north side?!), and let us know what you think in the comments!

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