You’ve heard the rumors. Everyone in college is totally hooked. They can’t live without it. They drink and drink just to keep going. Drink coffee that is. If the stuff hasn’t found a permanent home in your routine right now, there’s a good chance long class days and late nights of studying and recreation alike will drive you to the warm embrace of the all powerful bean sooner or later.
Unfortunately for most, the act of caffeination is distressingly utilitarian. Whether it’s lousy dark roast that’s been sitting in the same canister for 4 hours or an espresso drink that’s been cream and sugared beyond recognition, there’s a whole beautiful world of coffee most are missing.
It’s long been my philosophy that if you’re looking for a good time in Athens, you’re either eating or drinking. When it comes to coffee options, you can kind of do both! That’s right; Athens is full of eateries that have wonderful coffee confections that can give you that much needed buzz in style.
For the less intrepid, The Affogato from Whit’s Frozen Custard is the perfect toe tester into the waters of caffeinated confections. The treat features a shot of espresso poured over a scoop of Whit’s smooth vanilla custard. The temperature difference highlights the best parts of both. The warm richness of dark espresso marries wonderfully with the lightness of the custard. It’s simple enough to be scarfed down in a pinch or savored as an after lunch pick-me-up and the best part is, if it melts before you’re finished, it basically just becomes a mocha milkshake.
For the coffee committed, there are few power-packed snacks better than Java Drops at Donkey Coffee. At the center of each of these rich dark chocolate beads is a whole roasted espresso bean. Each candy is a textured morsel. The chocolate coating is dense and soft before the satisfying crunch of the crisp beans. A bag of them is a good snack for incremental energy throughout the day, though there is a danger in devouring the whole bag in one sitting which will probably leave you with the jitters for the rest of the day.
Finally, for the bravest of brave, without any fear in their hearts, there is the coffee bar from the Petru Chocolate Truck. The food truck that often occupies sidewalk space between Schoonover Center and College Green specializes in all things decadent. The coffee bar at first looks like any unassuming chocolate bar, although it is actually a blend of pure Ridge Runner ground coffee pressed with cocoa butter. The result is a potent treat with a hint of smoothness that compliments the intense granola-like grit of the grounds.
This one is potent. I ate half of one bar and was afraid I would vibrate out of my body. To cut down on the intensity, I also paired it with a lemon white chocolate bar also sold by Petru. The mix felt a lot more balanced, the light softness of the white chocolate reigning in the darkness of the coffee bar.
These are by no means the only unique treats Athens has to offer but they are a good start for anyone trying to get out of the sterile routine of mud from the dining halls or cafes. Athens is a place that rewards exploration. There’s always a new spot to find and a new treat to eat, you just have to go looking for it.