I wanted to share my favorite coffee places around the HNC’s neighborhood. Check ‘em out below!
|Having some coffee and studying at Pause Cafe|
#1 Big TrainRating: 5 stars
Distance from the HNC: 5 min, walking
Description: This is a small grab and go café that offers a variety of drinks from coffee and espresso drinks to tea, juice and some more creative Asian flavored drinks (a sweet potato rose latte for example—actually quite good). They also have a punch card where you can get a free drink after 10 drinks are purchased. Big Train is probably the number one spot HNC students go to when in need of a coffee fix. The owner Chen and his fiancé from Anhui province are a young and friendly couple managing the shop. Right now they are looking to expand their business. If you ever have time to spare, sit down inside and practice your Chinese with them! This is my favorite coffee shop around the HNC.
#2 Skyways Bakery
Distance from the HNC: 5 min, walking
Description: This small bakery near campus that offers sandwiches, salad and yes, baked goods (as the name implies). The coffee here is okay and if you come between 11am and 1pm you can get a free muffin with your coffee. There is a small divided level area for seating if you would like to sit next to the European study abroad students that like to frequent Skyways. It is a bit noisy however depending on what time of day you choose to camp out. The ladies who work here are very friendly, just remind them to fill your coffee cup up all the way!
#3 Sculpting in Time (SiT)Rating: 3 stars
Distance: 7 min, walking
Description from the HNC: SiT is also a chain, with branches in Beijing and other Chinese cities. The atmosphere is nice and the inside of the café is decorated. Large and spacious with lots of room to grab your own table. Drinks and food here are slightly pricey, but good if you want to camp out for a while. Also no smoking inside.
#4 MaanCat CaféRating: 3.5 stars
Distance from the HNC: 7 min, walking
Description: MaanCat Café, not to be confused with Maan Café, is located past Big Train on Hankou Lu. The inside is very decorated and it's a nice place to camp out or sit and relax with friends. A small menu is available with sandwiches, salads, waffles and drinks. Prices here are on range with SiT. Coffee quality is okay, but I don't suggest you come here unless you plan on spending some time working.
#5 Maan CaféRating: 3.5 stars
Distance from the HNC: 25 min, walking
Description: Maan Café is located across from the hospital on the other end of Nanjing University’s campus. This location is bigger than MaanCat Café. It is also a nice place to go if you want to explore and get a little bit further away from campus, while still being able to get some work done. Be forewarned though, sometimes people will smoke. The café is big enough where you can avoid them, but if crowded this may not be an option. This café has a small menu similar to MaanCat Café’s and has a punch card for regulars.
#6 Pause CaféRating: 4 stars
Distance from the HNC: 10 min, walking
Description: This café is a nice sit down option located in an alleyway near campus. They offer a few baked goods, espresso, coffee and tea drinks. The Chinese owners are generally friendly and it’s convenient to go to on the way or back from going out to eat since it is between campus and some restaurants. The walls are whitewashed and mellow music or old rock is played. There is also a patio to work outside if available. I really like this café, except when there are smokers. If you are in a different room of the café, you should be fine, but sometimes there is not enough room.
#7 HNC Coffee Interest GroupRating: 100 zillion stars
Distance from the HNC: In the Student Lounge!
Description: Obviously the star of this list. This ‘café’ is student run by the HNC Coffee Interest Group. It is probably the cheapest option out there, and the closest, and most convenient for desperate, crazed, grad school students. I hear there are sometimes even faculty sightings—I know, like seeing rock stars! This is a nice place to chill out with friends (as it’s in the student lounge), unwind with Super Mario Smash Bros., or just get work done. If you need to you can run back to your room to grab stuff, go to the cafeteria or gym. Super convenient. Menu right now includes the HNC’s finest coffee (Thomas Mao approved), tea, milk tea, and Swiss Miss Mocha. You should definitely visit this one.
That’s my current list of coffee around the HNC! Hopefully it will help you all if you choose to visit or to apply while considering your caffeine addictions (whether you have one or if it will develop).
Stay tuned for my next post.
Written by Chelsea Toczauer, Current MAIS student