Photographed by Marissa Haegele
I spend more money per year on coffee than I do rent. For me, it’s about more than the need to meet a work deadline or connect with a friend (those things are nice too). It is about the beans and their preparation, the art on the wall, the song in the background that you have never heard before, the stranger sitting next to you who is so enveloped in their own world, that they do not even realize that they are now part of yours. This is me getting ahead of myself; let’s rewind.
After moving to Madison, from Chicago, I needed to feel like there was life outside of the occasionally aggressive Mr. State School vibe that UW-Madison exudes so well. This led me to a personal mission: visit every coffee shop that Madison has to offer and organize them according to a universal set of criteria that effectively maximizes all that Madison, as a city, has to offer. (This is all very nerdy, I know.)
Before you set out on this venture, know that there were assumptions made when compiling insights. First, it can be pretty tricky to get around Madison, so I factored in the bus pass that comes along with being a student on campus. Second, I live in the Stone Age and have a Lenovo laptop, which can make it occasionally difficult to connect to Wi-Fi. When I note connectability (yep, that is a word I just made up), know that the stronger of a critique, the more likely it is that I went to that coffee shop with a friend with an Apple laptop who also had trouble connecting. Other than that, everything else is pretty self-explanatory.
Out of the almost 40 coffee shops in Madison, almost all of them are located downtown near the Capitol and on the East Side. If you love coffee chains like Starbucks, then the West Side is for you. Of course, the better bagels are on the West, but that is a list for a different time.
If you find yourself looking for a coffee spot outside of your typical routine, you have come to the right place.
Stay tuned for a feature of Madison’s best coffee shops in regard to accessibility, Wi-Fi, pricing and more over the next few weeks in preparation for the pending doom that is Finals Week 2016.