For high schoolers, it's the most dreaded time of year— you know, that period right after winter break where you're slammed with exams. Don't even go there. Enter midterms, the things I spend most of my holiday break absolutely dreading. Each winter break, you can find me crying, procrastinating and avoiding the inevitable in what feels like a never-ending cycle. 

Though the lingering stress may not completely subside, there are definitely ways to cope come midterm week (this goes for finals as well). I find that plopping myself down in a local coffee shop for hours-on-end is the best way to grind out my homework, while still allotting time for those pesky exams. My best method of defense? Bring a friend. They're almost always guaranteed to calm you down, and, on the bright side, at least you're suffering through the pain together. So with that, here are some of my go-to coffee shops in my county for studying.

Sook Pastry

Sook is one of those places that just feels like home. Picture a trendy Brooklyn-Esque cafe with French flare plopped right in the middle of Ridgewood, New Jersey. Its inviting, cozy atmosphere promotes positive thinking and energy. I always like to think that if I'm in an environment where those around me emulate calmness and wellness, then I will feel the same as well. Plus, the classical french music they play certainly helps put the mind at ease and encourages logical thinking.

During the winter months, I love to indulge in their matcha latte, and I have a complete obsession with their frozen bubble tea throughout the spring and summer. Aside from the amazing coffee, though, the ultimate thing I love about Sook is that they make delicious homemade macaroons on-site daily. There's no better way to study than with a snack that stimulates all your senses. 

L'Arte della Pasticceria

Located in Ramsey, New Jersey, this adorable little Italian pastry shop and cafe delivers on not only your classic almond milk latte, but delectable cookies, cakes, pastries, and other treats. Its quaint, cozy, inviting interior makes studying feel more pleasurable than ever before. Hours can pass by, and it may only feel as though you've been studying for minutes. I love meeting up with friends for brunch here as well, solely for the purpose of indulging in one of their delicious seasonal paninis and salads. As the Italians say, "Buon Appetito!". 

Sogno Coffeehouse & Creperie

Westwood, New Jersey is home to some of the world's best crepes, brought to you by Sogno. A bustling coffee shop by day and an upscale Italian restaurant by night, Sogno has something for everyone. My go-to crepe is the Sogno Skinny, which is a breakfast crepe containing egg whites, mushrooms, and spinach, with your choice of cheeses. I usually go for fetta, cheddar, and swiss cheese, which makes the perfect pairing to complement the subtlety of the eggs. I also love their sweet crepes when I'm in need of a little pick-me-up. The Bergen Street, a crepe filled with warm Nutella, freshly sliced banana, strawberries, and topped with a chocolate drizzle, is my all-time favorite (for obvious reason). 

In regards to studying, the open floor plan of their new location allows you to pick a table far away from other cafe-goers so you can focus on your work. If it's crowded, I usually go for a window table. After all, I'm always up for people-watching during one of my many study breaks


Toasty is an adorable little cafe located in the heart of Westwood. It's infamously named for its deliciously aesthetic avocado toast, which is, inevitably, my go-to meal at any time of day. It's the perfect place to come on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to grab some lunch and get your weekend homework out of the way. 

Aside from the perfectly seasoned and crunchy avo toast, Toasty also delivers on their other menu items, including acai bowls, customizable poke bowls, and freshly made smoothies and pastries. 

Wait: You didn't think I was finished, did you? There's absolutely no way you can walk out of Toasty without trying "The Smorest" toast. A brioche topped with chocolate hazelnut, banana, toasted marshmallow, and granola, this toast will surely have your mouth watering at first glance. 


Although this location isn't in Bergen County, it lies just over the border in the small, historic town of Pearl River, New York. Aside from Jane being one of the many perks of living so close to New York State, it serves up some remarkable dishes as well. My favorite thing to snack on during a good study sesh is their grilled cheese panini— the perfect combination of gooey and crunchy. 

Their buttermilk pancakes are definitely worth a mention as well. Their fluffy, light texture paired with fresh fruit and whip cream is a breakfast you can't possibly pass up. The inviting atmosphere, remote location, and artistically crafted dishes make for a great alternative to your basic, overpriced, noisy Starbucks

Art Cafe

Also located in New York, this cozy coffee shop serves delicious organic coffee and fresh cuisine. Inspired by the cafes in Tel Aviv, Art Cafe seamlessly creates a mix of traditional Israeli recipes and unique flavors. Their passion for great taste and healthy ingredients shines through in every bite and each sip of coffee. Each cup is brewed individually using the brand, Counter Culture, which focuses solely on quality, sustainability, and education.  

Of course, there's no way I can dine at a Mediterranean cafe without indulging in their hummus (a.k.a my favorite food in the world). Over the years and after traveling to Israel myself, I've declared myself to be somewhat of a hummus connoisseur. With that, I can confidently say that they have some of the best hummus I've ever tried. It greatly resembles the taste of authentic Israeli hummus in its rich and creamy texture. 

Since Art Cafe is not the most local of the coffee shops I'd recommend, it is so worth the extra 20-minute drive, especially if you bring a friend to keep you company. Plus, they're open late, so you can come for the brunch and stay for the late-night speakeasy.

No matter which coffee shop you choose to study at, each can provide you with a unique experience and even more delicious food. Though midterm season may seem daunting, alleviating some of that stress at one of these 6 establishments is sure to put you in the right mindset to ace your exams. Wishing everyone the best of luck!