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Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Which coffee shop is best for you?

Descriptions of a handful of Downtown Davis’ most popular study spots

By SIERRA JIMENEZ — arts@theaggie.org

The toes of my boots go damp from the fallen leaves as I journey into Downtown Davis in search of a local coffee shop to get the grind on that is college. Although Davis is a small town, the catalog of cafes to choose from can be overwhelming. I went to a handful of coffee shops in hopes of making the decision a little easier for Davis students who are searching for their perfect study spot with finals just around the corner. The environment is such an essential part of studying that it is imperative to find the right spot that fits your personal needs. Hopefully my experiences and descriptions of the coffee shops below will help you find the perfect place for you. 

Mishka’s Cafe 

The old-timey look of the red brick building of Mishka’s Café on 2nd St. is reflected on the inside with the same authentic coffee shop feel. Classic jazz plays behind the chitter-chatter and the grinding of the coffee maker from behind the bar. Soft yellow overhead lights highlight the persimmon orange walls, accentuating the circulating original artwork displayed for the diverse clientele enjoying the homey ambiance. 

“First impression of this place was immediate cozy old-world vibes,” Joseph Milro, avid Mishka’s-goer and Davis community member, said. 

Given the recent gloomy weather, Mishka’s is an exceptional spot to cozy up and drink a hot cup of Joe while marinating in its old-timey environment. Here, I feel transported to a 1920s New Orleans scene from an old Hollywood motion picture where chatter, jazz and smoke circulate in the coffee-scented air. If you identify as an old soul trapped in a modern world, you will feel at home at Mishka’s. 

Although the ambiance here at Mishka’s is ideal for its antique environment, it is notorious for its spotty Wi-Fi. Not only is it required to make a purchase to receive a code for the Wi-Fi, but when busy, the Wi-Fi is so unreliable that most people resort to personal hotspots for laptop usage or transition to paper work. 

Milro described the infamous Wi-Fi scandal as a comical representation of the analog environment of Mishka’s — focusing not on modern technology, but rather an old-timey coffee shop cliché. That said, either come with a personal hotspot or old-school pen-and-paper work to complete just in case the Wi-Fi decides to leave this time capsule of a shop. 


Standing out from the small-town feel of Downtown Davis, G St.’s Temple Coffee Roasters welcomes each customer inside with soft house music into a futuristic seduction. From the placement of the overhead lights to the coffee grounds, each component of this cafe seems strategically positioned to create a clean-cut, modern aesthetic. Thematic elements of white paint, glass structures and light golden wood are replicated throughout the design of the coffee shop inducing a sterile and productive atmosphere. There is an abundance of natural light that bounces off the light walls of the shop, keeping customers awake and alert to work. Not to mention, it stays open the latest for you night owls. The absence of indoor communal tables elicits an individual workspace from the singular barstools perfectly lined down the long tabletop. 

The Wi-Fi here is free and available to all — perfectly aligned with its conformity to modernity. It seems as though every customer is on their laptop, slaving away to the screen in front of their face almost robotically. Not necessarily a chatty atmosphere, Temple is an ideal place to work when on a deadline. Truly feeling like you are in a temple while perched on the barstools in this coffee shop with its modern architecture and corporate office preciseness, everyone is here to fuel their technological endeavors in this small taste of Silicon Valley right here in Downtown Davis. 

Cloud Forest Cafe 

Perhaps because it resides on the outskirts of the centralized coffee shop square including Mishka’s, Peets, Philz and Starbucks, this artsy little D St. hidden gem is often overlooked when searching for the perfect coffee shop. Throughout the years, Cloud Forest Cafe has been newly remodeled using reclaimed wood for the tables and infrastructure in efforts to preserve trees and do their part in saving the environment — given the name of their cafe, we’d hope they would care! Black-and-white photographs of Bob Dylan decorate the walls while beautiful handmade art presents itself to the customers, begging to be examined and enjoyed. 

This quaint cafe, although homey and artsy, is not an ideal place to work on a laptop or internet-based tasks. With limited hours for laptop use and no Wi-Fi available to customers, this cafe is designed to create an atmosphere for conversation and face-to-face interaction. 

“NO LAPTOPS PLEASE: Please help us create an environment for conversation! Laptop Hours: 1:30 pm- 3:00 pm,” is written in elegant cursive on a sign next to the cash register.  

That being said, although this cafe may openly defy modern technology, it holds a nostalgic old-soul authenticity perfect for group work, reading, writing or simply having a genuine conversation with another. Not typically busy, Cloud Forest Cafe is a relaxed environment free of electronic distraction and the burden of spotty Wi-Fi. 


Always bustling, Philz on 2nd St. is the life of the party when it comes to coffee shops. Fast-paced electronic or popular modern rap blast out of the speakers, suffocating the large space. Personally, the ambiance is overwhelming, but from its apparent popularity, many individuals seem to enjoy this concert-like vibe. There is a variety of seating options, from high tables to couches. There is a spot perfect for any need of comfort. Although modern, there is a surprisingly homey feel to the atmosphere. Perhaps from the vintage wood pieces or the LGBTQIA+ flags and leisure books lying around, Philz is a conjunction of chaos and comfort. 

If the coffee menu is overwhelming, don’t fret. Wi-Fi is free of charge for anyone to use. There is a hybrid of work and play in this environment where chitchat is welcome and work is encouraged. The white overhead lights and natural sunlight mixed with the caffeine rush creates a perfect atmosphere for creativity. The myriad colors and knickknacks elicit a zone of acceptance for the imaginative. There is never a dull moment in this coffee shop. Energy flows out of the constant door-opening of new customers curious about this wonderland. If Temple is too clean-cut and Mishka’s is a bit too old-timey, give Philz a gander — it may be the perfect medium of the two opposites. 

Written by: Sierra Jimenez — arts@theaggie.org



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