Campus Cafe Critiques: Union Street Cafe and end of the year rankings

 (File photo/The Daily Campus)

(File photo/The Daily Campus)

My tour of the UConn cafes ends this week at the Student Union with the Union Street Cafe. It’s hidden between the Union Street Market and Freshens, and it can be a bit hard to spot if you don’t know it’s there.

The cafe is cute: it operates a bit like a Starbucks where, for complex drinks, they’ll write your name on your cup and call it out when the drink is ready. Otherwise, they just hand the drink to you directly. It’s another cafe that pours your coffee for you, but due to the business of the Union, I can’t imagine self-serve coffee would actually be possible there.

If you haven’t been to the cafe before, the way it operates can be a bit confusing. The menus flash across screens pretty quickly, so finding what you want might take awhile. The counter for sugar, milk and the works is separated from the cafe itself. It took me a moment to find the first time I went there; it’s located closer to Subway than it is to the cafe counter. And for whatever reason, the almond milk and skim milk are located next to the cash registers rather than with the rest of the milks.

I personally don’t use the cafe much. If I’m going to walk all the way to the Union, I’m more likely to get coffee at the Dunkin upstairs or grab a smoothie from Freshens, but it is nice to have a place at the Union to buy coffee with points. Especially since the Dunkin there is infamous for its long line between classes, I appreciate having another option available. Having the line split between two coffee shops makes the wait-time shorter no matter where you’re buying from.

Their coffee is brewed well, too. It isn’t burnt or watery, so I have no complaints there. In general, the cafe doesn’t have a wide variety of snacks, but the Marketplace is only a few steps to the left and all kinds of food, including what is usually found at the cafes, can be purchased from there.

Union Street isn’t really meant to be a cafe; I view it as more of a place to buy coffee from on your way to class. It acts like a drive-through line for coffee in the way that most people just grab their drink and leave.

The Union is full of sitting areas and study spaces if you did want to buy coffee and get some work done, but for the most part, I would go to a different cafe if I needed to be productive. Overall, it’s a good place to grab coffee, and when it comes down to it, that’s all you really need.

Rating: 4/5

Union Street is the last of the UC Cafes, so here is the final breakdown.

Best overall: Chem cafe

Best for studying: Bookworms

Most relaxing: Wilbur Cross

Best hangout: The Beanery


Courtney Gavitt is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at courtney.gavitt@uconn.edu.