The Best Coffee Shops Near 50 College Campuses

Throwing it back to the old-school SATs seems fit for a college-focused article: Lithium is to batteries, as _____ is to college students. The obvious answer is, of course, coffee.

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Coffee might as well be part of the blood pumping through students' veins. It's a delicious and naturally low-calorie jolt of caffeine for which we're ever so grateful. There's a moment in every college student's career that causes a dependence on coffee (and if you haven't had yours yet, it's coming). Whether you're up late finishing that 10-page paper due tomorrow, waking up at 6 a.m. to squeeze in a workout before class, or simply catching up with friends, you're likely in need of a cup of coffee. Coffee is a driving force in the collegiate life; nearly every college offers a chain's brew on campus or nearby. But we decided to look past the convenience of the trusty chains and find the best coffee shops near college campuses.

A 2013 NPR report by Allison Aubrey notes that college-aged consumption of coffee has increased in the past decade. According to survey data from the NPD group, which tracks trends in Americans' food and drink intake, 18- to 24-year-olds are drinking more coffee than caffeinated sodas. In 2002, about 25 percent of members in that age bracket reported drinking coffee within a two-week period. By 2012, the same data was tracked, but had risen to 39 percent.

 So with this in mind, we compiled a list of the best coffee shops near 50 of the nation's top colleges and universities. We took into consideration a variety of criteria: the price of a small brewed coffee (because we have to pinch our pennies while spending hours at the coffee shop studying); its proximity to campus; its Wi-Fi capabilities; whether it's known as "study central" or "grab-and-go;" its date-night quality (for those awkward first dates); steep prices; late hours; and campus cash options. We think the shops on this list properly encompass what both the coffee-crazy or java-juvenile college student would look for in a coffee shop.

So as the school year starts, venture out further than the convenient coffee chain on campus (though many of the spots on this list are located right on campus, too). There are so many wonderful coffee shops out there, but these ones stood out to us and to students who attend the universities. Curious to know if your school made the list? Check out the best coffee shops near 50 college campuses here.