Over the past couple of years, I have grown to become a coffee addict. During quarantine especially, coffee became a part of my everyday routine and was something I looked forward to in the mornings.
Whether it was simply a cup brewed at home or a trip to my local Starbucks with my mom, I love not only the taste of coffee, but the social aspect associated with it as well. When I finally returned to campus this fall, I knew I had to try Friends Cafe for that very reason.
My first trip to Friends was with a friend whom I actually met virtually last semester. Since we were both back on campus, we decided that the best place to finally meet up in person was at Friends over a cup of coffee.
When I arrived at Friends, I immediately understood the hype of the quaint little cafe on the corner of Robinson Street and Central Avenue. The atmosphere was fantastic. Some were conversing over their beverages with friends while others worked silently and diligently at one of the tables or couches inside.
As I looked at the menu, I could not decide what I wanted. Everything sounded so good and I wanted to try something more than just a basic coffee. After a couple of minutes, I finally made up my mind and decided to get the Iced Honey Bear Latte with oat milk and the tomato and mozzarella sandwich on a French baguette.
After my first sip of my latte, I knew this was going to be my newest go-to. For starters, the coffee blend they used was amazing. It had all of the tones and flavors that I love in my cup of Joe without being too bitter or overpowering. The honey added a great richness and sweetness to the coffee and was a unique experience for me that I thoroughly enjoyed.
When I get a panini, my usual order is a tomato and mozzarella. These two ingredients complement each other so well. When I saw they had it as a sandwich on a French baguette, I was extremely excited. The tomato and mozzarella were both very fresh and nicely balanced within the sandwich. The bread was also crispy on the outside yet fluffy on the inside and provided the perfect foundation for the ingredients.
Since my first visit to Friends, I have returned multiple times. While I usually stick to my Iced Honey Bear Latte, I have also tried the Iced Thin Mint Latte and would highly recommend it. It perfectly encapsulates the signature Girl Scouts cookie flavor while also giving you the caffeination and coffee flavors you typically look for in a cup of coffee.
Besides the food and drinks at Friends, as I had mentioned before, a big part of the cafe’s charm is the atmosphere. The cafe is warm and inviting and the ambiance is extremely relaxing. Not only that, every employee that I have interacted with has been very friendly and attentive to their customers. Even during a crazy lunch rush, they remain pleasant and work efficiently to get everyone their orders in a timely manner.
Another great thing about Friends is the outdoor live music that they have during the warmer months of the year. I have found myself drawn to their corner on a Friday or Saturday night after hearing the music while walking on the street. With talented performers and an enticing atmosphere, it is a great way to support local musicians and a local small business.
Compared to other spots around campus, Friends is a little bit more on the pricey side. For a large latte with oat milk, it costs just under $6. Although this is a bit expensive, it is comparable to the price of my order at Starbucks. If I am spending the money on a coffee anyways, I would rather spend the money at Friends.
My sandwich was also around $6.50, which surprised me a bit. Although, once I got my sandwich, I realized that you are paying for higher quality ingredients compared to most places.
If you are looking for a place to catch up with a friend over coffee or study for your upcoming finals, I cannot recommend Friends Cafe enough.
Cameron Delfino is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in journalism and media studies. His column, "Cameron's Crunch," runs on alternate Thursdays.
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