Catch a taste of Tucson with these coffee shops

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Alexander Peet | The Daily Wildcat Customers inside of Caffe Luce, a local Tucson coffee shop located on Park Avenue north of University Boulevard. The cafe displays a variety art and offers many drinks including coffee, tea and Italian sodas.

Busy students with packed schedules and social lives: university life can be stressful, and even the most motivated Wildcats need places to study, socialize or just take a breath. 

Living in Tucson gives students quite a few options when it comes to coffee, and not just the coffee chains our uncreative Sun Devil neighbors are known to frequent. Here’s a quick list of quality coffee spots for sleepless students.

1.  Raging Sage Coffee Roasters

Located north of campus on Campbell Avenue near the University of Arizona Medical Campus, Raging Sage is a friendly and comfortable spot to disappear with a study partner for a few hours. The atmosphere is cozy with plenty of natural light and the classic murmur of conversation. Warning: the place is small, so I recommend finding slow hours to visit, but you can also just wait. It's up to you. The coffee is good. Offering a pure cold brew and a cast of creative iced and hot options, Sage never disappoints.

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2.  Black Crown Coffee Company 

A Wildcat favorite, Black Crown takes the, well, crown for one of the most original aesthetics in Tucson. Tall panes of glass provide sweeping views of the parking lot and Chinese restaurant across the street. Sarcasm aside, this place has an easy, lofty feel that resonates with locals. The coffee isn’t anything to complain about, offering a short menu and sweeter options if that’s your thing.

3. Cartel Coffee Lab

While not exactly a local name, Cartel Coffee makes a killer dark roast for those of us too lazy to order something other than black coffee. Other good orders are lattes – with foam art obviously – and their hot teas if you’re avoiding the caffeine jitters. The atmosphere is clean and open with plenty of table space to spread out.

4. Caffé Luce

I’m sure most of us know about Luce on Park Avenue, but there’s also a big one on Congress Street downtown. Check this place out if you like student-friendly cafes with tables, bars and group seating for marathon test prepping or, more realistically, test cramming. I’m down with Luce’s coffee and think they do a quality job. It’s smooth and keeps you awake, just like it ought to. Do yourself a favor and order their black and tan.

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5. Shot in the Dark Cafe

Shot in the Dark is wild. Downtown and want an edgy place to get your fix? Take a shot in the dark with Shot in the Dark. Far from a traditionally trendy, airy coffee stop, Shot in the Dark has no qualms representing true Tucson vibes. Posters and graffiti on the wall, mismatched tables and no-nonsense coffee and tea menus can be found here. If you’re hungry, they also have a food menu. Shot in the Dark is a local hole-in-the wall that is what it is and doesn’t particularly care what you think about it.

6. Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea

Just off Speedway, Bentley’s is Tucson in a coffee shop. Local art lines the wall, and if you’re not a fan of the current presidential administration, this might be up your alley. Bentley’s is a university classic and has been serving Tucson for decades. Frequented by students, Bentley’s is the kind of place to meet a study group after class or shrink into a corner and make big progress on your term paper. The coffee is quite good, with a lot of interesting options. I would definitely recommend.


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