Study spots and coffee shops

Coalescence Coffee Company

Coalescence Coffee Company is speckless and spacious, two features that qualify this establishment as a studying oasis for students who enjoy quiet and calm environments when preparing for finals. Coalescence substitutes typical cafe charm with cocktail-inspired espresso drinks; however, they do offer all of the latte classics with a scientific flair. Virginia Wesleyan senior John Wampler is not a regular coffee drinker, but enjoyed a more complex iced espresso concoction with lemon, blueberry and bitters. Unfortunately, their food menu leaves something to be desired for customers that may plan on staying all day. Locally made pastries are available, but nothing more. Most importantly, there is plenty of seating and table space for study groups. The atmosphere invites hushed tones with no aggressive music playing in the background. A large study room composes most of the back of the shop, with even more seating and open whiteboards. If the main area is ever too loud or crowded, the study room is an excellent option. Coalescence is only twenty minutes from campus and is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day aside from Sundays when they are closed. Like many businesses in the area, parallel parking is the only option available. 

The minimalist interior of Coalescence Coffee Company, centered around the barista bar. Sasha Saxon|Marlin Chronicle


Cafe Stella

Cafe Stella is an eclectic hubbub with a homelike ambience. Open from 6:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday until 10 p.m., it functions as both a coffee roaster and bistro. Behind the counter is a ten foot chalkboard menu, which covers affordable, popular and unique flavor profiles. A full day of studying could easily be fueled by breakfast shakshuka, Korean beef tacos and a slice of cake with a latte. They appease a plethora of palates with coffee customization, with over a dozen different flavorings and milk substitutes. As they are open late, they serve drinks and charcuterie. The atmosphere definitely caters to those who best focus with ambient noise, the lull of conversation and overhead music, and enjoy plenty of study snacks. Diverse seating is available from massive dining tables to tables in the outdoor atrium. However, due to the community presence, the cafe is typically busy. Virginia Wesleyan junior Kaitlyn Duswalt is a supportive patron “Cafe Stella is my personal favorite get away study place. It is about 20 minutes away so I do tend to go to it more as a treat and for longer assignments and sittings. But the atmosphere is so helpful in enhancing my productivity,” Duswalt said. Important to note, parallel parking is the most available option. 

Customers enjoy the food, atmosphere of Cafe Stella. Sasha Saxon | Marlin Chronicle


Mea Culpa Cafe

Operating out of an old Victorian home, Mea Culpa Cafe is quaint–a quintessential local business located twenty minutes from campus. On the front porch lives a community fridge and just inside the door is a small bookshelf of secondhand books in what used to be the front stairwell. In addition to the speed of their service, the most impressive aspect of the cafe is the caliber of food they serve. While their prices border a college student’s level of affordability, they do not skimp on portions or flavor. Such a small establishment dishes out lemon curd waffles, savory corn pancakes with a runny egg and their iced strawberry and coconut latte. As for the atmosphere, natural lighting and plenty of small tables provide a cozy ambience for students to nestle their textbooks alongside mugs of coffee and plates of pancakes, as if in their own home. Unfortunately, this cafe’s hours are extremely limited, only open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. However, during its hours of operation, the cafe is typically uncrowded and quiet. Like many small businesses, parallel parking is the only option available.

Savory corn pancakes topped with a runny egg and cilantro at Mea Culpa Cafe. Sasha Saxon | Marlin Chronicle


By Sasha Saxon