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Oxford’s coffee shops, ranked

<p>Kofenya is the best coffee shop in town, period.</p>

Kofenya is the best coffee shop in town, period.

For better or worse, coffee is an essential part of the college experience, and like most college towns, Oxford has no shortage of options for those looking to get caffeinated.

Of course, not all coffee shops are created equal. As a senior who has spent huge sums of money on coffee during my time at Miami, I feel I’m qualified to rank all the shops in Oxford to help others decide where to get their caffeine fix.

Note that I’ve only included places whose primary specialty is coffee in this ranking.

5. King Cafe

I actually worked at King Cafe for a semester, which is part of the reason it’s ranked dead last. Nothing against the job – it was actually pretty fun. But I can personally attest that the coffee isn’t that good.

For one, it’s pretty low-quality stuff to begin with, so it’s not going to taste great no matter how well it’s brewed. I don’t know much about coffee beans and what determines their quality, but Miami obviously isn’t about to invest in anything too expensive or fancy.

That low-quality coffee is also brewed by student employees who receive very minimal training and don’t get paid a whole lot. I think this point speaks for itself.

Despite the coffee’s quality, though, the prices at King rival those at Starbucks. While I’d argue Starbucks isn’t that great either (I’ll address that later in this article), it’s easily better than King.

As if there wasn’t enough material for a last-place ranking already, King also only has one non-dairy milk option. And it’s soy. My fellow lactose intolerant baddies – avoid this place.

Most people who go to King Cafe only go because they’re already in King and are desperate for coffee, so unless you’re in that situation, go somewhere else.

Overall score: 4/10

4. Cafe Lux

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Cafe Lux, located in Armstrong, was closed last semester, and I’m honestly not sure whether it’ll be open this year. I do hope it reopens because it’s good to have as many options as possible, but if it remains closed, we won’t be missing a whole lot.

There really isn’t much to say about Lux because it’s pretty much the same as King: same coffee, same high prices, same soy milk. But it does have a couple major differences that make it a slightly better option than King.

First, many of the workers at Lux are full-time employees of Miami rather than students. Now, I mean no disrespect to student employees – I have been one myself for three years. But I speak from personal experience when I say many of them don’t care a whole lot. 

Second, Lux is in a much more central location than King. Sure, the cafe is a great option if you’re already studying in the library, but Lux is very conveniently located in Armstrong for students who are on their way to class or just out and about.

Overall, Lux isn’t great, but it’s probably the place on this list with the best location.

Overall score: 5/10

3. Starbucks

Now, this is where I may lose some people.

In my humble opinion, Starbucks sucks. I know a lot of people hate it just because other people love it, but I hate it because the coffee is not good enough to justify the high prices, it’s always absurdly crowded and I actually don’t think it’s a very good study location.

The worst thing about Starbucks as a Miami student, though, is that you can’t really avoid it (unless you want to go to King or Lux, which you probably don’t).

If you drink coffee every day and buy it rather than making your own, Starbucks is your best option unless you have a car – and even then, you can’t really drive somewhere if you need to quickly grab a coffee before class.

As for my study location comment, I have plenty of friends who love studying there. But as someone who is very easily distracted, the huge crowds of people and chaotic vibe make for a less-than-optimal workspace.

Will I continue to spend half my meal plan at Starbucks even though I don’t like it? Yes. Will I still audibly sigh every time I enter the jam-packed coffee joint 10 minutes before my class starts? Also yes.

Overall score: 6.5/10

2. Dunkin’ Donuts

I am a well-known Dunkin’ loyalist. Few things in life make me happier than a medium caramel iced coffee with oat milk.

Dunkin’ can definitely vary by location in terms of quality, but as someone who has been to many of them, trust me when I say the one in Oxford is amazing. It’s always fast, the employees are sweet and my coffee is consistently great.

Do I think Dunkin’s coffee is wildly superior in quality to Starbucks’? No. But Dunkin’s sizes are bigger (compare a Dunkin’ medium to a Starbucks grande, and you’ll see what I mean) and cheaper. 

More coffee for less money is a no-brainer in my opinion.

Dunkin’ is also very no-frills compared to Starbucks. It may be slightly less customizable, but they still have plenty of flavor and milk options. They also have cheap, unpretentious breakfast food that is delicious, filling and barely worse for you than Starbucks’ “healthy” options.

Dunkin’ is my ride or die coffee place, but it’s ranked second because it’s still a chain, and I’m hugely in favor of supporting local businesses. Still, it’s a damn good chain and worth the drive up to Locust.

Overall score: 9/10

1. Kofenya

Think of the coffee shops you see in TV shows and movies. Cozy vibes, lots of comfortable seating, tons of people sitting around doing homework or on dates or just chatting with friends.

That’s Kofenya.

There’s a reason so many people swear by this place. Firstly, and most importantly, they have great coffee. Pretty much any flavor combination or milk you could want is available, and it’s made by people who love working there and know what they’re doing. 

My personal favorite is a Milky Way iced coffee with macadamia milk. Chef’s kiss.

I don't drink tea, but my mom and best friend do, and they both have good things to say about Kofenya’s tea selection. They also have great food that pairs well with coffee: pastries, toasts and bagels, among other things.

Kofenya is at the very end of High Street, so it’s a bit of a hike, but I promise it’s worth it if you’re looking for a good study spot. It’s far more inviting and less crowded than Starbucks, and the seating is comfortable enough to chill in for hours. The only drawback is that seating is limited and fills up very fast, but if you know when to get there, you can snag a seat.

Many people who have been around Oxford a while will tell you Kofenya is the best coffee shop in town, and I wholeheartedly agree. Make Kofenya part of your life during your time at Miami – you’ll thank yourself later.

Overall score: 9.5/10

@madphabes

phabymr@miamioh.edu 

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