UConn is home to a handful of their “Uniquely Caffeinated Cafes (UC Cafes),” which are spread across campus and offer a wide variety of drinks and meals for you to grab between classes. Most notably, the cafes let you pay with points, which offers the wonderful illusion of getting your cup of coffee for free even though you’re still paying for it with your meal plan. They’re a hit among students and faculty for this reason, but not every cafe is the same. They differ in terms of coffee quality, overall aesthetic and general quality of experience.
Up & Atom, one of the UC Cafes, is located in the Bio/Physics Building (BPB). It gets immediate bonus points for its punny name and beautiful sitting area. BPB is the tallest building on campus, and the cafe represents this with its several story-tall sitting area. The exterior wall is covered entirely in windows, so the sitting area is bright and naturally lit.
Up & Atom has a modern, calming feeling. The cafe has a geometric theme to it, with circular metal tables and a huge wall mural that sticks with the theme. The piece, entitled “Shift,” was commissioned from Jun Kaneko in 2003 and it gives the cafe a cool vibe.
Up & Atom is also full of plants, and when combined with the natural lighting they make the area feel very peaceful and calming. It’s definitely my favorite cafe to sit in while enjoying a warm drink; it makes whatever work I’m doing feel a lot less stressful.
Unlike some of the other UC cafes, Up & Atom has a self-serve coffee station, which is great if you like mixing coffee flavors or just like having the ability to pour your own cup. They have a different canister style than the other cafes, however, which can cause some problems. Rather than the pump-nozzles, they have spouts. It’s more effective, but if you get the first cup or two after the jug is refilled, half your cup will be full of coffee grounds. It’s annoying, but Up & Atom is pretty understanding about it. If you tell them what happened, they’ll replace your cup for free.
The cafe is frequented by a lot of grad students in need of their coffee fix, and the cafe isn’t always the best about accommodating their traffic. They’re often running low on coffee, and several of the coffee jugs can be missing during the busy hours of the day. Their coffee isn’t bad, though. It can be stale at times and their flavored coffee isn’t always that flavorful, but in general it’s some of the better-tasting coffee from the UC cafes.
Up & Atom has an impressive collection of snacks too. It has one of the biggest varieties of all the cafes. It’s also one of the less trafficked cafes, so the line is never that long and you’re able to get in and out quite quickly.
Overall, BPB is home to one of the better cafes on campus. Its beautiful sitting area makes up for the occasional coffee mishaps, and it is the perfect stress-free environment to get work done in. Rating: 3.8/5
Courtney Gavitt is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.