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Here's The Real Reason College Students Are Obsessed With Cafe Culture

Open up your Instagram feed and within the first 10 pics I am sure you will spot some form of latte art, a well lit cafe corner, or both. College is the first time most of us really try (and subsequently become addicted to) coffee. We refine our taste, decide which milk alternative makes our hearts swoon, and even create bonds with local baristas who seem to know us better than some of our closet friends.

But besides needing coffee to survive those early lectures and late night study sessions, the real reason we head to buzz-worthy cafes is about far more than obtaining a caffeine buzz.

College if tough for a million reasons. Among the top of those? Serious budget constrains. And if looking at our bank account wasn’t enough of a reminder, we are inundated daily of lust-worthy fashion, wanderlust destinations, and fancy meal pics  on social media.

As a college student, it becomes more and more evident to me that cafes are such hot spots for young people because they are a way to splurge responsibly. To state it another way, going to an Instagram-worthy cafe and getting a $6 latte is an attainable (and delicious) luxury; whereas dining at the an “it” restaurant or exclusive club often is neither practical nor realistic. Being able to go to the same spot as your favorite influencer, sip their recommended turmeric chai latte, and even snap a similar pic for your own grid is a way to connect. Plus, there’s something to be said for sitting down with an actual mug and conversation that goes beyond the coffee. It is a moment to decompress; reconnect with ourselves and friends.

Another thing about cafe culture is that there is a cute coffee shop in just about every town and campus. Growing up in New York City, I have loved spending time alone or with friends in various cafes around the city.

Below are some of my favorite, accessibly-priced cafes in New York, should you find yourself in the Big Apple and looking to “splurge.”

1—Maman. Located in either Tribeca or Greenpoint. The food is delectable and floral decorations make it the loveliest place to hang out for a few hours.

2—The Butcher’s Daughter. Located in both the West Village and SoHo, this incredible vegetarian brunch spot has great service and decor, and makes a mean (and healthy) latte.

3—Happy Bones. This place is small and cute, but reliable with their coffee! My friend and I came here once and just drew together.

4—Two Hands: Though this is more of a food place than a coffee shop and the wait is usually horrendous, if you can actually find your way in, you’ll be blown away by the juice options and the clouds on the exposed-brick ceiling. 

5—The Commons in Chelsea. This was one of my favorite places to go after school in high school. The drink menu (including vegan hot chocolate!) is probably just as long as their extensive food menu.

(all photos by @sarahgargano29)

What are some of your favorite cafes near you? Let us know in the comments below!