A Comprehensive Review Of Gainesville’s Coffee Shops

In this nearly month-long research process, sophomore Emily Liu embarked on a quest to discover the pièce de résistance of Gainesville’s coffee shop scene


Recently, I visited as many coffee shops in Gainesville as my parking skills would allow for. It was probably also the only motivation I had to study for my AP exams. There’s something about the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and warm pastries that is incredibly comforting and enhances my focus. I love coffee and have come a long way since my Starbucks frappuccino addiction in the seventh grade, but I realized I never branched out to many of the local coffee shops other than Patticakes. My go-to will forever be an iced caramel latte, but I tried to choose a unique drink at each coffee shop if any were available.


This is my favorite little coffee shop though I may be biased due to its close proximity to my house. The relaxed ambiance always brightens my mood. There are always a ton of people studying and working there, so seating is extremely limited, but there’s usually at least an open seat somewhere. They have plenty of flavorful specialty drinks, so I usually try a different fun iced latte each time I visit which never fails to taste good.

Opus Airstream
This is another favorite of mine due to the convenient location and aromatic coffee. An Opus coffee and Humble bagel from 4th Ave is an unbeatable start to the day. Opus also has a multitude of unique drinks, but I usually get an iced caramel macchiato. I have tried a toasted marshmallow which was yummy though fairly sweet. In addition, the baristas are some of the kindest people I’ve ever met.

Patticakes at Tioga
As a spot I was hoping to enjoy, I was let down in my expectations. The coffee wasn’t necessarily bad, it just wasn’t to my personal liking. The lavender flavor in the iced vanilla and lavender drink didn’t taste quite right. The warm chocolate and cherry scone was good though a bit dry. They have quality milkshakes though. It was also insanely busy on Saturday morning, and I waited about 15 minutes to order.

Coffee Culture
Usually, I’m not one to judge books by their covers, but I was just a bit off-put when I saw the parking lot’s atrocious design. On a busy weekday afternoon, it was packed, and I had to sit on a stool in the corner facing the wall. I tried their special for the day: an iced raspberry and vanilla latte. It’s a solid study spot that has peculiar music choices. However, no coffee is worth how nervous I was backing out of that parking space.

Karma Cream
There’s a nice ambiance to this casual spot off University Ave. They have plenty of food and ice cream options. Their chai and matcha are solid. On a rainy Saturday afternoon, there were many open seats, albeit being busy.

While not your run-of-the-mill coffee shop, Uppercrust is definitely noteworthy. The iced caramel latte was quite good, and of course, the pastries are phenomenal.

It wasn’t very busy when I came here because it was pouring outside, and there’s limited parallel parking. Honestly, Volta is the only place I was genuinely disappointed in. Although the studying environment is great, the coffee was weirdly bitter and had coffee grounds in it. Also, the brownie I had was pricey and tasted store-bought.

I was really hoping to like this cute coffee shop located near Bo Diddley Plaza, as it’s been highly recommended by friends, but the coffee’s price alone is unjustifiable. It was $7.50 for the specialty iced latte (the Wyatt), and the flavor wasn’t my favorite, although it might be suitable for cinnamon lovers. On the contrary, the matcha is quite good and also much more reasonably priced. The quiet ambiance is amazing for studying though especially because it’s usually pretty empty in the afternoons.

It’s a popular spot in a cute environment that lives up to the hype. The iced vanilla latte was flavorful and delicious with the perfect amount of ice. There was lots of outdoor seating to enjoy the weather and relax on a slow afternoon.

I was pleasantly surprised by this low-key, dimly lit spot. It has an extensive menu with plenty of pastries including a delectable red velvet cupcake. The barista’s recommendation was Irish cream and hazelnut, a combo I thoroughly enjoyed. The quiet atmosphere inside made for a fruitful study session.

I was recommended the pistachio latte which I’d never had before, but I’m also pretty sure it wasn’t supposed to be as overpoweringly sweet as it was. And I’m already a fan of sweet coffees. Also, the syrup wasn’t mixed at all, so I was choking on pure syrup at the bottom when I first took a sip. However, I love the breezy environment with all of the windows open, and I think I’d enjoy a different drink if I went back.