To me, the value of a Middletown coffee shop—aside from the caffeine high—lays in its distance. It provides me with an excuse to get off campus, clear my head, and do some work in a new environment. That being said, if the “vibe” is off because the music is too loud, or there are too many people, I simply use it as an excuse to procrastinate as I sip my drink of choice. Whether or not you drink coffee, coffee shops are perfect for getting a change of scenery from the library and buckling down to work (or at least pretending to do so). In search of the perfect coffee shop, I dragged my two friends into Middletown, and these are some of the best we found:
Qawa Coffee Co.— open from 7am-6pm most days. Qawa is a relatively new addition to Main Street, but has quickly become a local favorite among both Wesleyan students and Middletown residents. Advertised as a “high-end specialty coffee shop and espresso bar,” Qawa serves a large variety of teas, Intelligentsia coffee, espresso, and specialty drinks, including my personal favorite, the peppermint mocha. Seriously, it’s delicious and I may cry when they stop serving it because it’s seasonal. In addition to drinks, they also have a small selection of pastries and a few lunch dishes.
Along with coffee and food, Qawa has clean, minimalist interior design, and huge windows that let in natural light. The music is usually of the folky/alt rock variety that’s loud enough to be heard, but quiet enough to drown out with headphones if need be. They also accept Middletown cash, making it easy to pay with your WesID.
Klekolo World Coffee— open from 6:30- 10pm weekdays and 12am on Friday and Saturday. While it may be crowded on weekends, its late hours make Klekolo ideal for writing that essay you’ve been putting off. In addition to providing a nice space to work, Klekolo’s specialty drinks give you the sugar/caffeine fix required to make it sound intelligent. While its scones are mediocre, Klekolo has number of other pastries cakes, and even some vegan options. The coffee shop has a wide variety of coffee and non-caffeine drinks encompassing teas and a large selection of syrup flavors. I personally recommend the white chocolate hot chocolate. Being a strict “dark chocolate is the only valid chocolate” type person, I made fun of my friend for ordering it, but folks, it was delectable. Along with selling drinks, Klekolo also sells local stickers ($3.00), buttons ($1-2), art, jewelry, and knitted hats. Although Klekolo prides itself on only accepting cash (there is a sign displaying the number of years they have been credit card free), there is an ATM in the store. Klekolo has a very eclectic atmosphere and comfy chairs. Though it may be crowded at times, it is a testament to the large number of regulars who know the staff by name and clearly favor this coffee shop above all others.
Perk on Main—open 7am-8pm all days of the week. Perk on Main is similar to Friends’ well-known Central Perk in both name and vibe. While the show may not age supremely well, the ideal of a comfy, coffee shop certainly does. Perk on Main is spacious with a rustic interior and exposed brick, similar to a stereotypical hipster flat in New York. While it can get very busy on the weekends, the service is generally very fast and excellent. What makes this coffee shop unique is its expansive selection of both drinks and food. It sports crepes, burritos, sandwiches, and many other dishes. Furthermore, along with regular coffee shop classics, at Perk you can order smoothies, milkshakes, or even a mimosa, depending on how your day is going. Perk on Main has a light, homey feeling, making it the perfect tidy coffee shop to go for breakfast during parents weekend, a non-Usdan brunch with friends, or with your awkward casual hookup the morning after to see if there’s really something there. If there isn’t, at least you got to eat crepes.
Dunkin’ Donuts—open 5am-10pm. While it might not be the pinnacle of coffee quality, if you want a cheaper sugary caffeine fix, this is your place. The service is speedy despite the atmosphere feeling like the DMV version of a coffee shop.
“Every time I’ve been inside a Dunkin’ Donuts I become pretty sure that I’m not real,” Max O’Hare ’23 said.
Whether or not this is a universal experience remains to be seen. However, Dunkin’ has an unbeatable ratio of price to shear volume of sugar and caffeine. There is a wide variety of strange and sugary drinks including a seasonal eggnog latte that I am convinced took at least 2 years off my life. Was it worth it? Yes.
Whether you’re looking for a quick convenient coffee or a place to sit and do work, Middletown has a coffee shop for everyone.
Katarina Grealish can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.