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The Falcon

Friends Select Student News Media

The Falcon

Friends Select Student News Media

The Falcon

We Need Coffee! Ranking Friends Select’s Local Coffee Shops

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  • La Colombe coffee shop, February 2024, 1414 S Penn Square.

  • Dunkin’ storefront, February 2024, 117 S 16th Street.

  • Starbucks Coffee, February 2024, 1500 Market Street.

  • Capriccio Cafe, February 2024, 110 N 16th Street.

  • Bluestone Lane storefront, February 2024, 1717 Arch Street.

  • Green Line Cafe, February 2024, 1650 Arch Street.

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Caffeine intake is on the rise for high school students. According to MedicalNewsToday, the recommended daily consumption of caffeine in adolescents is a maximum of 100 mg or less, but American teens are reportedly consuming up to 800 mg daily. Given this problem, at the very least, Friends Select students should be drinking high-quality caffeinated drinks. Our campus is surrounded by cafés to satisfy the need, and, as an avid coffee drinker myself, I have tried all of the most popular coffee shops within a five-block radius of the school. I have compiled a list of the closest and most popular coffee shops and rated them based on specific criteria: affordability, quality, variety, convenience, and timeliness. 

La Colombe is top-notch; this is partly due to their limited selection, allowing them to focus on consistency and high-quality ingredients, and partly because they just seem to know what they are doing. My favorite of their drinks – which I have come to accept as an absolute delicacy – is their Draft Latte. La Colombe stores offer sugar packets and simple syrup at the counter and provide spoons with every purchase to stir in your desired additions. I would almost argue that La Colombe stores are overstaffed, but this is simply a bonus, as drinks fly out within two minutes of ordering. Their pastry counter and pre-packaged foods are also delicious, and I would highly recommend their chocolate croissants. La Colombe is on the expensive end of the spectrum, but every purchase is worth the price, though it is the farthest location from school on this list (1414 S Penn Square).

Dunkin’ is a Friends Select staple, with the most popular store located at 117 S 16th Street. Look around on any given day, and you will see Dunkin’ cups littering desks. Dunkin’s coffee brew is unexciting, but its variety of drinks, foods, and add-ons compensates for the coffee quality itself. The Dunkin’ selection is slightly smaller than Starbucks, but, comparably, Dunkin’ is more affordable and far less expensive than most local cafés. Dunkin’ is the most reliably speedy of coffee shops in the FSS area, especially if you order ahead using the Dunkin’ app. My favorite Dunkin’ drink is their iced latte with red velvet syrup – if you like a little bit of sweetness and vibrance to your coffee, I would recommend trying it. 

Starbucks deserves a decent ranking solely for its variety of foods and drinks. There are two Starbucks stores near Friends Select, but the store at 1500 Market Street is a little bit easier to find. The quality of their drinks is reliable and good, but the speed at which the drinks come out is almost impossible to determine – though it has been a good few months since I have been to a Starbucks, I often found myself waiting upwards of 20 minutes when I went, even after ordering ahead. Starbucks stores are usually well-staffed, so the speed issue is a culmination of other factors. My favorite drink of theirs is a peppermint mocha, especially for the colder weather, but, given their exorbitant prices, I would advise going to Dunkin’, instead. 

Capriccio Café and Bar (Café Cret) is the closest coffee shop to Friends Select, located at 110 N 16th Street. Cret is understaffed, with only one person consistently behind the counter, and is often relatively empty. Cret is also not a place to stop if you are in a rush, as it can take up to ten minutes for orders to come out, even while the café is empty. The prices are comparatively high but appropriate for a single-location café. As for the quality, it is exactly what one would expect from the previous factors. The coffee roast itself is sub-mediocre, the drink variety is average, and the prepared foods are either unimpressive or inedible. My favorite drink, however, is their mango smoothie. It has a strong artificial flavor, but sometimes that is exactly what you need. 

Bluestone Lane (1717 Arch Street) is an easy, relatively convenient option for a morning coffee fix. They are lightly staffed, but the coffee itself is of great quality, and their food is consistently satisfactory. Their glaring issue is the price – for my order (an oat latte with an extra espresso shot), they charge up to 10 dollars, which is quite expensive for most high school students. That being said, their drinks come out at a decent speed, and their variety is good, especially if you are dining in.

Finally, Green Line Cafe is perfectly fine in every aspect. I choose Green Line when I am in a time crunch, as they are right on my way to school (1650 Arch Street), and they are incredibly speedy. Even so, I would never choose them first. Their food is perfectly fine, their drinks are perfectly fine, and their variety, of course, is perfectly fine. Their prices are standard, certainly not cheap, but not too expensive in the café world, and they have a loaded add-on station (with simple syrup, different milks, sugar packets, etc.). Their coffee brew is mediocre, so I would recommend getting a latte rather than a cold brew, and maybe throwing in some sugar. All in all, I would say that Green Line takes the cake if you are in a rush.  

Overall, I would recommend La Colombe most highly for quality, Dunkin’ for variety, speed, and price, and Green Line Cafe for convenience (given that I don’t personally feel that Cret’s location makes up for its faults). All in all, Dunkin’ takes the cake, but that is all based on opinion. 

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About the Contributor
Niamh Williams
Niamh Williams, Editor-in-Chief

Niamh Williams is a senior at Friends Select School and a co-editor-in-chief for The Falcon. Her beats are history, math, and English curricula. She is also a leader of the Quakerism Club.

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    SteveFeb 21, 2024 at 11:04 AM

    Good Article Niamh,

    I would add 2 other places to your coffee list.

    Wawa is close too and has very good coffee & the closest place is right next to our school. Cherry Street Cafe(lobby of 3 Parkway) serving both Dunkin and Starbucks coffee.

    Keep up the good work.