By Amirah Zaveri
Caffé Bene opened less than a month ago and is already a popular destination on campus to study and meet up with friends. The franchise originally started in South Korea and now has 86 locations throughout the US.
With its modern, Asian-inspired décor and handcrafted drinks, Bene could prove to be valid competition for already established Espresso Royale and Starbucks locations on campus.
Located on the northeast corner of Nevada and Gregory in Urbana, the coffee shop uses encased, dangling light bulbs, lavish bookcases and all wooden tables and chairs to create an eclectic and relaxing atmosphere. To balance out the heavy use of wood, plants and flowers in between booths and tables add color as well as foliage to the space.
Unlike other coffee shops on campus, Caffé Bene offers a wide variety of distinctive items. From handcrafted waffles, green tea gelato and shrimp sandwiches to mango-passion fruit smoothies and caramel cinnamon frappes, there is an option for every palate. Popular items on the menu include honey bread and a variety of bubble tea lattes.
While you would think the quality of the coffee would suffer due to the large menu, Bene prizes itself on its European-inspired cappuccinos, espressos and lattes.
The cappuccino I ordered was perfect: not overly foamy on top, steaming hot in temperature and creamy with slight sweetness and no bitter aftertaste (meaning the coffee grounds were fresh.)
Whether you are looking to study or just relax, Caffé Bene – with its unique menu, cozy ambiance and fast Wi-Fi – is definitely worth a try.