Coffee Shops in New Haven: Courtesy of Peter Wyrsch

Ceramic Coffee service set

“Coffee Shops in New Haven”

by Peter Wyrsch, BTFO Logistics Coordinator 

Last year, while preaching in Marquand, Maggie Dawn took up the peculiarly American institution of social coffee consumption for consideration. “Let’s get a coffee,” she reflected, meant more than simply, “let’s get caffeinated together.” The invitation, and indeed the coffee itself, serves as a vehicle to propel friendships and build relationships that last and have meaning well beyond the drink itself.

            Intellectual considerations about theologies of hospitality aside, the fact remains that there are a great many coffee shops in New Haven

#1: Blue State Coffee Company

84 Wall Street; 276 York Street; 320 Congress Avenue (Medical School)           

            If anyone ever asks to meet you at Blue State for a quick academic conversation, the immediate and necessary follow-up question ought to be, “Which one?” While each Blue State has its own distinct character. Blue State on Wall tends to have more individual seating, and serves as a prime setting for one-on-one interviews or business-like meetings. The York location is a bit smaller and cozier, but has more big tables near windows. This make it a prime location for late-night planning sessions and mid-winter meetings with an academic advisor. The outlier, at Congress Avenue by the Medical School, is little visited by the Divinity School community. In fact, it is little visited by anyone, except sleep-deprived medical students and residents. Allegedly, you can ask for your drip coffee via IV.

            Blue State also provides philanthropic support to local nonprofits and advocacy organizations, including Connecticut Voices for Children, the Urban Resources Initiative, Columbus House, and CitySeed.

#2: East Rock Coffee

49 Cottage Street

The next best thing to a clean, well-lighted coffeeshop in Portland, Oregon is a clean, well-lighted coffeeshop in New Haven started by a bunch of Oregonians. East Rock Coffee sits on the corner of Cottage and Orange Streets, at the heart of the East Rock neighborhood. Popular amongst graduate and professional students, this shop distinguishes itself from the field with a unique policy on electronics: there is no wi-fi, and laptops are prohibited. If you’re looking for a quiet spot to enjoy a book and a coffee, this is your best bet.

#3: Koffee

104 Audubon Street

Need to get a lot of work done? Need a lot of caffeine while you work? Do you crave a communally agreed upon quiet atmosphere in which you can solve theological problems of Kantian proportions? Are you probably going to need a glass of wine afterwards? Go to Koffee. Koffee is your place. Koffee understands.

#4: Willoughby’s

258 Church Street; 194 York Street (Yale School of Architecture)

            A New Haven classic! Willoughby’s was one of New Haven’s first small batch roasteries when it opened in 1985, and it’s still going strong. Like Blue State, Willoughby’s boasts multiple locations around downtown. The School of Architecture location’s proximity to the quiet and unfrequented Architecture Library make it an ideal spot to hide away for a few hours for some much needed paper writing.

#5: Maison Mathis

304 Elm Street

I’ll be honest, this café is less about the coffee, delicious food, and fresh-made juices and smoothies, and far more about the light and airy atmosphere. Winter in New Haven can be dark and miserable. When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to care for one another in times of great snow and freezing rain, Belgian comfort food and bougie smoothies can be found herein. This isn’t to downplay the coffee; they brew Counter Culture coffee, and they do it quite well. But the important part is the aesthetic. Be ready for many “hip” undergrads to saunter by, wearing American Apparel and complaining about last night’s rager. 

#6: Coffee Pedaler…

605 East Street

Rory Gilmore would probably do homework here.