The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The third day of buzzmas | Local beverages to help you stay warm during winter

As outdoor temperatures start to drop, the temperature of morning beverages increases.

Aside from Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts’s staples, the Champaign-Urbana area has some great local coffee shops and cafés with beverages to keep you warm throughout the winter.

To start out strong, try the hot apple pie cider from BrewLab, located at 630 S. Fifth St. 

Available in both 12-ounce and 16-ounce sizes, the very first sip tastes just like eating the warm filling of an apple pie. The apple flavor is very prominent, warming you from the inside out. 

In addition to the hot apple pie cider, BrewLab offers an oatmeal cookie latte, creme brûlée matcha, chai lattes, hot chocolate and other festive drinks. You can’t go wrong with BrewLab.

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Moving on to downtown Champaign, Café Kopi, located at 109 N. Walnut St., features an expansive menu including americanos, cappuccinos, lattes, hot teas and more. 

Before even ordering, customers immediately feel warm and fuzzy due to the cozy atmosphere of the café. The lighting is soft and the walls are filled with artwork from a variety of artists. Tables next to a wall are adorned with unique lamps that add to the eclectic decor. 

Café Kopi’s peppermint hot tea comes in at an extremely high temperature, so much so that I had trouble carrying it back to my table due to the heat. After taking the lid off, it still took several minutes for the tea to cool to a drinkable temperature.

The peppermint flavor was much more subtle than I thought it would be, especially since the aroma was so strong. Peppermint is a temperamental flavor since too much ends up tasting like toothpaste, so I was thankful that this tea did not cross that line.

Opposed to other warm drinks with cream and thicker ingredients, this tea was very light. This is a good option for someone who wants to warm up but does not want to feel weighed down by their beverage.

Caffé Bene did not disappoint with its warm beverages. The café’s winter menu includes peppermint mochas, hot chocolate, caramel gingerbread lattes and Earl Grey milk tea. The regular menu offers hot and iced teas, bubble tea, gelato, espresso, lattes and more throughout the year. 

The service was very quick and friendly. The Urbana location, located at 700 S. Gregory St., provided a very cozy environment with wooden ceilings and furniture. The two street-facing walls are filled with windows which let in natural light and allow for excellent people watching. 

Caffé Bene’s hot chocolate with peppermint was topped with a whipped topping that tasted like marshmallows. This filled me with a sense of nostalgia as I remembered the hot chocolates of my childhood. 

The hot chocolate itself was very creamy and flavorful. Caffé Bene took a typical — and somewhat boring — warm drink and elevated it. 

However, I was a bit disappointed with the peppermint aspect of the hot chocolate. I could hardly taste the peppermint since the marshmallow flavoring overwhelmed almost everything else. 

This beverage checks all the boxes for a classic hot chocolate but falls short of its peppermint promise.

The C-U area is filled to the brim with possibilities to help you stay warm this winter as well as cozy cafés to study, catch up with friends or just find peace. 


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