Coffee Connoisseurs Critique

With coffee shops on campus and around New Paltz, how does someone decide where to get their caffeine fix? A recent visit to five popular cafés revealed that the furthest walk from campus leads you to the best flavor and ambiance.

Each shop was evaluated and rated based on coffee taste, customer service and overall atmosphere.

On-campus options include two Jazzman’s Café & Bakery locations. They are a sound option because of their easy accessibility for SUNY New Paltz students and faculty. Despite the accessibility, the service is anything but satisfactory at Jazzman’s. Their signature blend is watered down and leaves an oily aftertaste and their variety is limited. Jazzman’s gets a C rating.

If you decide to take a walk into town, the closest place to campus is Starbucks, located on the corner of Plattekill Avenue and Main Street. This is about a five minute walk from campus.

Starbucks has a lot of regular customers and is a place where people can socialize. Although their prices are quite high (especially for espressos and high-end coffees), Starbucks is definitely a decent option. As far as lounging goes, they have six tables but only three comfortable chairs. Still, people go to Starbucks because of the social setting it provides.

Employees wearing signature green aprons were quite friendly and provided good service. Starbucks can get a little overcrowded, which does take away from the environment. The signature blend, Pike Place Roast, is crisp but a little watered down. The one major downside with Starbucks other than its cost is the lack of variety. For this reason, Starbucks gets a B- rating.

Another option further down the block on Main Street is the Muddy Cup Coffee House. The coffee is average, with only a limited variety of blends. It isn’t too rich in flavor, but does have a decent taste. The coffee is served in mugs, making the consumer feel at home. The atmosphere is ideal for a place to relax.

With cool indie music blasting, tons of couches and friendly faces, it’s by far the trendiest coffee place in town. The Muddy Cup caters to young adults and college students. With satisfactory coffee, and a great atmosphere, the Muddy Cup gets a B+ rating.

The last place is Mudd Puddle Coffee Roasters Café, about a 10 minute walk from campus. It’s an elegant coffee shop nestled in the back of the Water Street Market. The service is personable and people are very friendly. All ingredients are prepared on premises and are made to order. Mudd Puddle caters more towards family. The only downside of Mudd Puddle is that it is small.

Mudd Puddle has a wide variety of coffee including in-house blends, many of which are fair trade organic. Dancing Goat is one of the most popular blends, and consists of a perfect balance of flavors. It’s not too strong, but not too smooth and leaves a good aftertaste. It is the ideal cup to start the day. There is also an outdoor porch area with additional seating that overlooks the Shawangunk Mountain region. Mudd Puddle is a hidden gem in New Paltz and deserves an A for excellence.

A diverse town of New Paltz has an equally diverse amount of coffee shops. Whether it’s the consistency of Starbucks or the independent environmentally conscious coffee shops, there is sure to be a place suitable for your coffee needs.

Interactive Map by Sam Speer

Slideshow by Sam Speer and Lindsay Cooper

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