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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Rutgers chapter.

It’s a studying sanctuary. It’s a place of prime productivity. It’s a chance to chat. It’s a local coffee shop! As a bit of a coffee connoisseur and avid cafe-dweller, I have spent my time at Rutgers scouring New Brunswick for some of the best local coffee shops and cafes. Whether you are there to grab a latte, finish your homework, or catch up with a friend, these places are sure to satisfy your craving for a good time and a sweet treat.

SemiColon Cafe

Semicolon Cafe invites you to “take a pause,” just like the punctuation, and enjoy its wide variety of delicious sandwiches and specialty drinks. Located at 356 George St, the cafe serves as a safe haven from the hustle and bustle of Hub City. Its relaxing environment filled with greenery and soft lighting makes it an ideal place to deescalate and refresh during a stressful school week. Study among the floor-to-ceiling cascading plants and venture onto the second-floor balcony for an aerial view of the cafe.

Their specialty drink, the “Lady Matcha,” features an incredible mix of matcha, strawberry, strawberry popcorn, and an edible strawberry straw. The drink is a truly tasty and unique beverage that elevates matcha to a whole new level. Besides the “Lady Matcha,” they also offer coffee, smoothies, and lemonade. Make sure to pair your beverage with one of Semicolon’s irresistible sandwiches, each made with a fresh brioche bun and their signature sauce.

Check out the semicolon Cafe Menu

Hidden Grounds Coffee

Hidden Grounds Coffee offers two New Brunswick locations at 4C Easton Ave and 106 Easton Ave. 4C Easton Ave, adjacent to the New Brunswick Station, is always lively and vibrant, with coffee chats, business calls, and team meetings. The bright sunshine-yellow seating and collection of vinyl create a chic, eclectic vibe. Yet, 106 Easton Ave—just down the street—is a smaller and quieter alternative. Tucked in a nook at the corner of Easton Ave and Mine Street, this location serves as an excellent study spot.

Hidden Grounds Coffee provides an assortment of seasonal coffees and beverages, as well as cafe staples like bagels, avocado toast, and light sandwiches. Their signature drinks, such as the “Honey-Bee Latte” and “Lavender-Honey Latte,” bring the right amount of sweetness and energy needed to get through a long day. In combination with an order of the “Savory Avocado Toast” topped with feta, red hot pepper flakes, sriracha, and honey, you will have the perfect study session snack.

Check out the Hidden Grounds coffee Menu

Friends Cafe

Not only does Friends Cafe have scrumptious pastries and drinks, but they even offer live jazz on Thursday evenings from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Whether you choose to sit inside among string lights and photo collages or outside surrounded by flowers and relaxing jazz music, Friends Cafe, located at 52 Robinson Street, is a phenomenal place to catch up with friends and hear music from the local New Brunswick scene. The cozy ambiance of this cafe always makes me feel welcome.

Regardless of if you’re in the mood for a cannoli, tart, danish, or cake, Friends Cafe has you covered. Their mouth-watering variety of treats is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Nothing compares to sipping on their “Hibiscus Tea Lemonade” and “Iced Twix Latte” while listening to jazz on a cool evening. Also, Friends Cafe is pet-friendly; feel free to bring your dog and even check out their “Furry Friend Menu” for some snacks!

Check Out the Friends Cafe Menu

PenStock Coffee Shop & Roastery

Even though Penstock Coffee Shop & Roastery is located in Highland Park, it is only a five-minute drive across the Raritan River to reach 13 S 3rd Avenue. Penstock is a quaint spot that offers more than just coffee; it also offers fresh coffee beans and latte art classes. Learn about the extensive process behind a good cup of coffee as Penstock invites you to immerse yourself in the journey from plant to cup. Their decor pays also homage to where they source their beans and offers a comfortable space to settle in and indulge in a fresh cup of coffee.

The quality of their coffee beans truly emerges in the taste of their coffee. Everything from a mocha to a cortado reflects the pride that they take in their work. Penstock is a coffee-lover’s paradise, especially since you get to see the effort that goes into making a delectable cup. In fact, the coffee shop offers coffee tastings and Q&A sessions for people interested in roasting their own coffee beans. You’ll come in to study for an exam and head out wanting to learn more about coffee!

Check out the PenStock Coffee Shop & Roastery Menu

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore some of Hub City’s best coffee shops and cafes! Venture outside of the comfort of Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts to see all that New Brunswick truly has to offer.

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