Caffeinating through the College Experience: Gainesville style

University of florida

Coffee is an essential part of the college experience. Whether you’re a coffee addict, like myself, or you only drink a cup to get through that long night study session, you’re experiencing it. Because my sleep schedule is all over the place, I rely on coffee to keep me going through out the day. In Gainesville, all the students at the University of Florida are lucky enough to have so many different options when it comes to getting their daily caffeine fix. In every part of Gainesville, there’s a good chance you will be able to find a local coffee shop in a 3-mile radius. Going to a local coffeehouse is a completely different experience then going to a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. Every shop has a different piece of Gainesville life associated with it. Coffeehouses are great places to check out aspiring artists and musicians, hang out with your friend and cram for test. it’s hard to be a University of Florida student and connect with the culture around you, but local coffee shops make it easy.


First stop, downtown Gainesville’s very own Maude’s. Maude’s was opened in 1995 in the heart of downtown. It’s located directly next to the Hippodrome, which is a local theatre in Gainesville where they host events, show plays and show documentaries. When you walk into Maude’s, you’re greeted with a logo drawing (as displayed in the picture). You have the option of either going to the left to order some coffee or going to the right and sitting in one of the many booths to study, play board games or just hang out with your friends.

Maude’s is a great place to get away from the craziness of college, while being submerged in the downtown Gainesville. Many college student’s associate downtown Gainesville with a place to go out with your friends late at night and drink. For me, I’ve never been the type of person to spend my nights drinking, so Maude’s is the perfect way for me to experience downtown Gainesville. Even though it seems like the only way for you to be able to have the “college experience” is by drinking, the stereotype is very wrong. Going downtown for a nice dinner with you friends, followed by a warm cappuccino and scrabble can be just as memorable.

Curia on the drag

About 2 miles northwest of Maude’s is Curia on the Drag. It’s located off of 6th St. South of NW 23rd Ave. It’s one of those places that makes you turn around when you drive by it. Curia on the Drag isn’t just a coffeehouse, but also a restaurant, art studio and art gallery on the property as well. This place may be a couple miles from University of Florida, but it’s a popular spot for students to hang out. At Curia on the Drag can choose from having a latte or a glass of wine with your friends.

Curia on the drag

Just like Maude's, this place gives students the ability to go out on a Friday night but have more options than just going to a bar in midtown. Going to Curia on the Drag is a breathe of fresh from students, like myself, who don't get enjoyment from going to bars every weekend. The creative, authentic expression displayed in the landscape and interior is a true expression of how unique this town is. Curia on the Drag is the perfect representation of expression to college students that are trying to find themselves.

coffee culture

Next, if you travel west of Curia on the Drag, you will find a giant, inviting sign on 13th street reading Coffee Culture. Coffee Culture was the first local coffee joint I discovered when I moved to Gainesville. If you have a big test coming up and you’re sick of looking at the interior of library west, coffee culture is a fresh atmosphere to study in. It’s quiet and has great homemade baked goods and coffee choices. Every time I’ve ever been to coffee culture, there are always people on their computers or reading a textbook. Coffee Culture has a unique of immersing UF students in the Gainesville community by having open mic nights. This invites any residents in Gainesville to come out and read poetry, perform songs or even just stop by and watch. Students have the freedom to express themselves in anyway they want to over a hot, fresh cup of coffee.


The last coffee shop is called Cymplify. It’s on the other side of town by the Oaks Mall, right on the corner on Newberry and 55th street. It’s in a little house that the owner converted into a coffeehouse. It’s a family owned coffeehouse, so you feel very welcomed and comfortable hanging out there and studying. The place was made for college students who need to study because it’s equipped with beanie bag chairs, desks and tables. They have a crazy selection of flavors from chocolate banana latte to peanut butter and jelly iced coffee. Cymplify is located less than a mile from the Oaks Mall, which is Gainesville's only mall. Because the mall is on the other side of town, I think that going to Cymplify can also be a great way to run away from the student life for a little while and do some retail therapy.

for all the uf coffee lovers

Being a student at the University of Florida can be overwhelming at times. From one coffee loving student to another, it's so much easier to studying and think in the atmosphere that these local coffeehouses provide. Not only do you get to experience different parts of Gainesville outside of UF, but you also get to clear your head, get some work done and drink some pretty darn good coffee. The way I see it, you can buy Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts coffee anywhere you go, but Gainesville is the only place you can enjoy peanut butter and jelly iced coffee from Cymplify.

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