I can't quite consider myself a coffee connoisseur, but I've certainly been to a multitude of coffee shops in both Boston and beyond. As for study spaces, everyone has their preference for what constitutes an ideal environment for optimal productivity. To me, there’s nothing better than a productive study session with a good cup of coffee, so I've rounded up five of my favorite places to bunker down and caffeinate up in the Boston area. 

Pavement Coffeehouse

The BU staple, you know it and you love it – and for good reason. With its location in central campus, you’ll surely find me cozying up at a corner table between classes, enjoying a cup of coffee while completing classwork. I find myself captivated by the artwork on the walls, unparalleled by anything I've seen before. Not to mention, I’m immediately welcomed by the comforting environment. The interior makes me feel like I’m sitting in my living room, a feeling which is so warm to experience after being away from home for months, something I know many college students can sympathize with.

Lola Duek

Despite Pavement’s ideal ambiance, you’ll likely have to stake out for a place to sit. It’s especially crowded in the mornings and at lunch time, where most tables are filled to the brim. Even when you do get a table, you’ll likely feel the eyes of the person who assumed your previous position in the stake-out. Personally, I find this fairly distracting when I am trying to hone in on my studies; however, if you find a time when Pavement is not as crowded, you’ll be able to snag a table and ensure productivity with minimal distractions. 

Lola Duek

Although the coffee is very good at Pavement, that isn’t the standout. Instead, it’s the best spot to go to for a perfectly toasted, golden browned bagel. Growing up with bagels as a primary comfort food, I've become fairly picky in my pursuit of a good bagel in Boston. Thus far, the rosemary salt bagel at Pavement is what makes me return regularly, with its unique and understated flavor as a perfect companion to either the sun-dried tomato pesto or the garlic and chive cream cheese.

Blue Bottle Coffee

Blue Bottle Coffee, out of the many places I've been, is by far the most unique. Notable for its minimalistic design and pristine insides, Blue Bottle on Newbury Street is what I recommend to anyone who is easily distracted by busy decorations. It’s incredibly well lit and aesthetically pleasing, with its white walls complemented by its wooden furniture. While I’d say it's definitely worth the trip to Newbury, those without a charlie card on hand may find themselves with a long walk to this coffee shop.

Lola Duek

Though seating is fairly limited, in the few hours I spent doing work at Blue Bottle Coffee, I noticed it was more of a grab-and-go type coffee spot with people stopping for a quick pick-me-up and lunch break during a busy day of work. With that said, securing a table wasn’t a challenge, nor was I distracted by the looming presence of a lurker, desperate for my seat.

The coffee at Blue Bottle is undoubtedly some of the best I’ve had since arriving in Boston. Though it was a little pricey by comparison, it was certainly worth every penny, as each sip is just as good as the last. As a brand that strives for quality in every cup, it's safe to say you’re given nothing less at Blue Bottle.

Lola Duek

Caffè Nero

Caffè Nero is an England-based coffee chain with various locations scattered throughout the greater Boston area. I visited the location on Commonwealth Ave, and I can wholeheartedly say it did not disappoint. With natural lighting and a home-style decorated interior, it grants a gratifying atmosphere.

Lola Duek

From funky light fixtures, to brick walls and wood-paneled floors, this spot is the perfect place to catch up on some reading or grind out an essay. With its close proximity to west campus, for those who may not want to make the trek to pavement– or even further, Newbury– Caffè Nero is the perfect place for a student looking for a fresh study space, or even just a quick bite to eat.

At Caffè Nero, seating is abundant. From lounge chairs to community style tables, there’s no shortage of options. Personally, comfortability is key in a productive study session, whether that be while snuggling up on a cushioned couch or sitting up at a typical table.

Now, let's talk coffee. My go-to order at any coffee shop is a classic iced vanilla latte, which I normally get any time I try a new spot. At Caffè Nero, this order didn't disappoint; the espresso has a rich blend, sourced from small-to-medium-sized farms and cooperatives, and was not overly diluted by milk and sugar. In the future, I’d be curious to branch out and try the Carmelatte, which has an enticing caramel description with a sweet whipped cream finish.

Lola Duek

Tatte Bakery & Cafe

What would this round-up be without Tatte? A classic Boston coffee chain, Tatte is a prominent coffee spot in Boston with an environment and menu unlike any other. With everything from shakshuka to sandwiches, if you went to Tatte once a week and ordered something different each time, at the end of the year, you’d still have half of the menu left to try.

I've been to Tatte numerous times, and every time I go, I order a vanilla latte. From my first visit, I was immediately hooked; Tatte is consistent, so it’s rare that I’ll order anything different. Though I’ve only tried their vanilla latte, they have an extensive number of options that will satisfy anybody’s taste. 

Given its prominence, I find Tatte to be crowded no matter what time of day, making it fairly difficult to find a table. Though it’s beautifully decorated with staple shades of green and white tiles, its aesthetic and ambiance isn't redeeming as a factor in productivity.

Though I wouldn't choose Tatte as a place to study, its coffee and food is definitely worth the visit, and I’d recommend it as a place to catch up with friends or family. 

The Thinking Cup

Last but certainly not least, The Thinking Cup on Newbury is probably my favorite cafe I’ve visited since coming to Boston in August. Recommended to me by a friend, I gave it a try and I now find myself recommending it to any person who hasn’t tried it before. With lots of indoor and outdoor seating options, there’s an abundance of study space. Sit in the back room for a quieter, less crowded, distraction-free space. Or, choose a seat at a table for two by the windowsill in the front, with a view of both the hustle and bustle inside the shop and out on the streets of Newbury.

Lola Duek

Personally, I have had some of my best study sessions in The Thinking Cup. It has a cohesive brown-colored interior, with brick walls and beautiful chandeliers for a subtle lighting addition. It’s not too loud, but not too quiet, and the tables are well spaced in a way that allows you to isolate yourself and focus when needed, even with a plethora of people coming in and out of the store. 

With an extensive menu, the Thinking Cup is a place for everyone, with no shortage of options for even the pickiest of eaters. The coffee is incredible as well, with a variety of unique flavors to choose from. A must-get is the honey cinnamon latte, either iced or hot, with its perfectly sweetened brew to satisfy any coffee craving. Pair it with the build-your-own grilled cheese, and you’ve got yourself the perfect lunch-time treat.

Lola Duek

Whether it’s near BU, Back Bay, Newbury, or beyond, Boston does not lack in its options for a good coffee spot. If you’re planning on having an intense study session or a comforting cup of joe, I highly recommend you try these coffee shops at least once if you’re in the Boston area.