- by Belle Frank

I am the self-appointed coffee connoisseur on campus. My addiction to a good caffeinated beverage has made me travel far and wide to find the best shops with the perfect balance of decent coffee and a studious atmosphere. Here are my favorites ranked:

5. Blacc Vanilla, Newburgh, NY

Located only a couple of blocks from campus, Blacc Vanilla has a swanky atmosphere accompanied with delicious lattes and beverages. They also have a savory menu for food that is to die for. The shop is complete with local art of popular musical performers. Enjoy your coffee with Chance the Rapper!

4. Bank Square, Beacon, NY

This coffee shop is the first building that greets you when you turn onto Main Street in Beacon. The owners opened the shop to create a relaxing atmosphere for locals and visitors alike. Bank Square has a variety of coffee drinks to order, mine being the Vietnamese iced coffee. It is made with dark roast drip coffee and sweetened condensed milk, giving it an intense flavor. The shop also has vegan and gluten free pastry options.

Bank Square coffee shop

3. Cafe Yen, Goshen, NY

Although a short hike from campus, Cafe Yen is an artisan coffee shop that creates signature tasting lattes. I tried their basil latte, and the mint flavor perfectly blended with the natural acidity of the coffee. Much like the other shops, this one has ample seating to hang out with friends and also space to do work. You can even play a friendly game of chess while sipping on your decadent latte. This shop is perfect for a weekend stay-cation in Orange County.

2. The Iron Cafe, Montgomery, NY

This small town shop is only 15 minutes from campus. It is my favorite spot to head towards when I need a break from the hustle and bustle of school. I know this is going to sound crazy, but there is no wifi. It is a relaxing haven from social media and research papers. They have breakfast and lunch daily, and the best caramel lattes around. You can feel the history of the town within the exposed brick and reclaimed wood interior. It is perfect for a relaxing morning in a   small town.

1. 2 Alices, Cornwall, NY

Two Alices coffee shop

2 Alices has, by far, my favorite atmosphere to study in. They have drink combinations that are adventurous, yet safe, and friendly baristas that get to know you after writing one

 too many papers in their midst. My recommendation is the coco-retta latte; a beautiful blend of amaretto extract and coconut. This is the best place to put your headphones in and lose yourself in your studies. By the time you look up from your laptop or notebook, your coffee cup is drained and the clock has moved forward two hours.

I have had my fair share of caffeinated beverages in the area. Being a senior at Mount Saint Mary College, I have tried far to find that perfect cup of coffee. Although, by no means am I an actual expert, I hope my recommendations help you get that quick fix of energy you need to take on the day.

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