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RU Connection 2023: Your new campus caffeine craze may just come from this list

While Rutgers has two Starbucks locations, there's so much more for caffeine lovers on or near campus. – Photo by Ice You

As August winds down, it's almost time for our return to Rutgers. Move-in days, welcome week and syllabus week await, and soon enough, we'll be back in the swing of things for a whole new school year.

But let's be honest: being in college can be exhausting. When balancing classes, clubs, jobs, internships and other commitments, sometimes we all need a boost of energy. And what better way to get that than with a delicious cup of coffee?

While we're fortunate to have a few Starbucks and Dunkin' locations on campus (including the Starbucks truck), there are some hidden gems you can visit if you're looking to try something new — or if you're a first-year on the hunt for your new spot.

From unique coffee creations to tasty tea lattes, here are some lesser-known places to get your caffeine fix at Rutgers!

Hidden Grounds Coffee

Hidden Grounds Coffee has not one but two locations in New Brunswick just off of the College Avenue campus. In addition to your classic cafe options like a latte or Americano, it offers some more unique drinks like lavender cold brew and various pour-overs.

If you're a tea lover, it also serves chai and matcha lattes in addition to tasty tea drinks like rose chai. And if you're looking for a snack alongside your caffeine fix, Hidden Grounds has you covered there, too. This cafe has plenty of food options, from bagels to donuts to chicken tikka sandwiches, to keep you fueled throughout a long day of classes or during a midday study session.

Efes Cafe

Part of Efes Mediterranean Grill on Easton Avenue, Efes Cafe offers a variety of classic coffee options like Americanos and cappuccinos. The cafe also offers Mediterranean options like Turkish coffee, affogatos and Turkish tea.

And if you're feeling peckish, Efes Cafe also has plenty of Turkish pastries like borek and pogaca. If you've never tried Turkish food, this is a great place to taste a new cuisine while getting your much-needed pick-me-up!

Paparazzi Cafe

I have to admit I've unfortunately never been to the Paparazzi Cafe myself, but it's definitely on my RUcketlist to visit.

Located in the intersection of Voorhees Hall and the Zimmerli Art Museum on the College Avenue campus, this cafe makes for the perfect place to head to if you're looking to grab a coffee and check out the amazing collection of art housed inside the museum. Or if you're lucky enough to have a class on Voorhees Mall, it's even closer than the famous Yardbucks.

It offers coffee in addition to breakfast, lunch and dessert options, making it the perfect food spot as well!

Gong Cha

Now, I know what you're thinking — Gong Cha is not a coffee place. But sometimes, you need that caffeine boost and aren't in the mood for a typical iced latte. Bubble tea is often made with green or black tea, both of which are caffeinated, just less so than coffee.

If you want a tea-based treat to lift your mood and energy, Gong Cha always hits the spot with various options, from fruity slushies to sweet milk boba and refreshing iced teas. And if you do find yourself at Gong Cha and want coffee, it offers some coffee-based options and flavors, too!

For any first-years looking for their new caffeine haven or returning players hoping to shake things up, hopefully, this list has given you a few ideas. Or maybe one of your favorites is already on here, and now you're ready to stop by as soon as you move in.

Either way, I hope everyone's ready for an awesome return to campus and fall semester — stay happy and energized!

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