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Week 2: Coffee shops

Coffee is a staple of almost every student’s life. Whether it’s the best spot to study for an exam or part of a morning routine, we asked our staff, “Where’s the best place in Nashville to get your coffee fix?”

Sarah Maninger (Editor-in-Chief): Ugly Mugs East

Most days, I don’t really care how the coffee is, I just need caffeine. But the Ugly Mugs in East Nashville combines two of my favorite things: great coffee and a chill study spot. The prices at Ugly Mugs are pretty good and the coffee is amazing. There’s plenty of space for studying, including a big couch for when you want to pretend to work but really just scroll through Tik Tok (I do this more than I care to admit). The food is great but if you’re in the mood for something different to go with your coffee, Graze and Five Daughters Bakery are right next door. My go-to is the 20 oz iced caramel latte with oat milk and an extra shot of espresso, but I recommend anything on the menu.

David Pang (Managing Editor): Americano Lounge

If you know me, you know I’m not a big coffee guy. However, there’s something about Americano Lounge that I enjoy. It gives off speakeasy vibes, and it’s a great place to study, hang out with friends or pick up a latte. Plus, if you’ve never gotten coffee in the WeHo side of Nashville, did you actually get coffee in Nashville? My favorite part about Americano Lounge is its variety. I feel like I can join in with my coffee-loving friends when I come here because they offer beverages other than coffee and a serviceable food menu. I highly recommend ordering the chicken and basil panini.

Lillie Burke (Social Media Manager): Crema

You will never see me without an iced coffee in hand, and that is a fact. I have been to — not kidding — every coffee shop in Nashville, and therefore think I have a good knowledge of the true top dogs. Right now, my favorite coffee shop has to be Crema Coffee. Located just outside of downtown, this cafe has the best iced Cubans. With a cute outdoor patio, a quaint interior with natural wood accents and a bustling counter, plus inexpensive coffee tasting and brewing classes, Crema has everything a coffee lover wants!

Sophie Slusher (Lead Copy Editor): OSA Coffee

I've worked as a barista on and off for about two years. As a result, I’ve got pretty strong opinions on the best coffee in Nashville. My favorite right now is OSA Coffee in Edgehill, a tiny spot surrounded by so many bushes you might miss it if you don’t look closely enough. As someone who doesn’t get syrups in my lattes, I care a lot about the taste of the espresso, and OSA roasts its own beans to perfection. It’s simple and high-quality — just how I like it. Also, OSA is walking distance from campus, which is great for anyone without a car!

AJ Wuest (Sports Editor): Bongo Java

When given the choice between coffee or, say, a Red Bull, I almost always choose the latter. There is, however, a coffee shop just across Belmont Boulevard that I find to be a pretty cool place. It’s called Bongo Java, and it’s a vibe. Have you ever heard of the “nun bun?” No? Well, one day, back in 1996, Bongo Java employees discovered a cinnamon bun closely resembling the likes of the great Mother Theresa.

Isaac Wetzel (Lead Photographer): Café Ma’Kai

Now I’m not a huge caffeine fiend, but when I’m looking for a cozy spot to read or catch up with some old friends, Café Ma’Kai is THE spot. On the corner of Wedgewood Avenue and 12th Avenue South, it’s an easy walk from campus and well worth your time. The warm, earthy atmosphere makes you feel right at home, and the floor-to-ceiling plants add a botanic feel. My go-to order is their matcha latte: it’s simply the best I’ve ever had. I would go so far as to say I will never order anything else from them except said matcha latte. Period. Go give it a try and change my mind.

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