opinion

EDITORIAL: The best cafes around Bloomington



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Six of our columnists chime in to explain why they think their favorite cafes are the best in town.

BloomingTea, Tiffany Xie

Not everyone likes coffee, which is why you should go to BloomingTea. Situated away from the hustle and bustle of Kirkwood Avenue, BloomingTea sits in a charming renovated house in a quiet area of Bloomington. 

I could never get over the bitter taste of coffee or the insomnia it gave me, so I always turned to tea as my drink of choice. My sister was the first one to introduce me to BloomingTea, and it’s a beautiful place. Beautiful teapots adorn the wooden shelves throughout the home, so the cafe feels like a tea house. Although I’m partial to green jasmine, you can choose from over 100 varieties of tea, including the standard green and black teas, but also more exotic varieties, such as yerba mate and cannabidiol tea. 

I love that your pot of tea comes out on its own warmer. Enjoy with a quiche or scone as you write your first assignments of the semester, or relax for a moment with friends with a board game from an antique chest in the corner. On warmer days, you can sit outside on the deck in the back and unwind. 

Crumble, Anne Anderson

My favorite coffee shop in Bloomington has to be Crumble. There’s a gigantic concentration of awesome coffee houses on the south side, but I reside near the north side of town, so it’s nice to have an option that isn’t a drive across town. 

Crumble has a menu that is simple and sweet, offering drip coffee, specialty drinks, a healthy selection of tea and assorted baked goods. My personal bias toward Crumble rests heavily in their selection of gluten-free lemon cookies. Since Crumble is a little farther away from campus, it feels much less crowded. 

This creates plenty of room to sit and spread out your work without being rude about it. Crumble offers a variety of seating options, whether you prefer a comfy, cozy couch or a more desk-like table. The wall of windows creates amazing lighting, but if you prefer a shadier spot they have a back room that is perfect for group meetings or project space. 

Crumble's coffee is to die for. Even theblack drip coffee is always fresh and full of flavor. My personal favorite drink has to be the Honey Bear, which is a miel but with a much cuter name. 

 Bapu Fresh, Rachel Noll

When I returned to Bloomington after a seemingly long three weeks of break, the first place I wanted to go to was Bapu Fresh to get bubble tea. With its location so close to Franklin Hall, which is where I spend most of my time these days, it has quickly become my favorite place to hit the books. 

On top of it being a great work environment and overall a very aesthetically pleasing place, the many different options of bubble teas and smoothies do not disappoint. My personal favorite is the strawberry fruit tea and the blueberry smoothie. If you’re more of a coffee buff, try a coffee milk tea. If the little balls of tapioca, otherwise known as boba, in bubble tea scare you, don’t worry, you can get anything without boba in it. To top it all off, Bapu offesr little food items on the menu as well. 

Overall, I am so glad Bapu Fresh recently opened at a convenient location for me to help not only further my study habits, but also feed my bubble tea addiction. 

Soma on Kirkwood Avenue, Elsbeth Sanders

Break is fun, but coming back to Bloomington after three weeks at home is a refreshing breath of freedom. Part of being liberated from the parents’ house is the luxury of doing things without having to answer to anyone. This is especially important to me because I enjoy spending the majority of my down-time in coffee shops, not holed up at home. 

When it comes to coffee shops in Bloomington, my favorite spot is Soma. There are two Soma locations in Bloomington: Third Street and Kirkwood Avenue. While both locations have the same coffee, the Kirkwood Soma has a couple of drinks on the menu that the Third Street Soma does not. 

Specifically, the drink I love the most is Vietnamese iced coffee, which is a heavenly combination of espresso and sweetened condensed milk. Because of this, I generally prefer the Kirkwood Avenue location. In addition to the great coffee, Soma on Kirkwood is a really cute space. There aren’t that many tables, but if you manage to snag one, it’s a great place to hang out. The music they play is chill and not distracting, which makes it an amazing place for me to organize my schedule at the beginning of the semester.

Pourhouse Cafe, Catherine Blankensop

With the semester beginning, it’s time for me to find a place to hunker down, go through my syllabuses and fill out my planner. That means you can likely find me at the Pourhouse Cafe.

 Located right on Kirkwood Avenue, the Pourhouse Cafe offers a laid-back atmosphere that’s perfect for any coffeehouse study session. I love the mismatched chairs, industrial-style lighting and unique decor. My favorite drink is the turtle mocha. It’s an espresso drink with chocolate and caramel, like a turtle candy. All the tea-lovers out there will enjoy the kombucha, a fermented tea that is served in rotating flavors. 

For those who stay away from caffeine, the lavender lemonade is a sweet, refreshing drink that’s especially perfect in the summer. The best part about the Pourhouse Cafe is how it gives back. The wall art behind the register that reads, “local products, global influence,” means something. 

Pourhouse Cafe focuses on buying local products, and customers’ tips go toward various global charities throughout the year. Tips for January will go toward Safe Families for Children, a nonprofit that provides support to children and families in times of crisis.

Hopscotch Coffee, Evan Carnes

Hopscotch Coffee is the premier choice for coffee elitists. While I do not particularly identify myself as such, this is an important distinction to be made. While at home over break, I could not help but notice that many of the big budget coffee roasters in Indianapolis were of similar quality to Hopscotch, yet more expensive. Any cafe that is able to bring that sort of excellence to Bloomington will always have my business. 

Hopscotch not only excels in creating a calculated, studious ambiance in its Dodds Street. location, but it also hosts a precisely petite "grab and go" location on Madison Street. Its sharp, simple branding makes both spots painless for new customers to find. Hopscotch Coffee also has made efforts to purchase Fair Trade Certified beans for many of its blends, a move that competitors should replicate. 

The two locations also sell local favorites. Bloomington Bagel Company's bagels and Rainbow Bakery's vegan donuts are typically available. Supporting other small stores while increasing its own sales is a win-win for everyone. Whether you seek expertly crafted coffee, or simply a quick bite, head for Hopscotch Coffee.

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