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Finding the perfect cup of joe in San Marcos

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File photo of Stellar Cafe

Instant human! Just add coffee.

Whether you call it an unhealthy dependence or a harmless indulgence, this caffeine-coated slogan is the mantra for countless college students.

College towns often have an abundance of coffeehouses and San Marcos is no exception. With such a broad selection of coffee destinations to choose from, San Martians can confidently navigate their way around the coffee scene by considering what some of the top shops have to offer. Here are my top picks for where to find the best brew in town.

 

1.      Starbucks on campus, LBJ Student Center and Undergraduate Academic Center (UAC) Cafe locations

Maddy Brooker, elementary education sophomore, said there are a few things to consider when trying to decide which Starbucks to go to on campus.

“Although the UAC Starbucks normally has much shorter lines, their iced coffee is watered-down way too often,” Brooker said. “The quality of their iced coffee is never consistent, but the espresso drinks seem to always be up to par.”

Brooker said she prefers to buy her caffeinated beverages from the Starbucks located in the student center because their quality consistently sits above the UAC.

“If you love espresso drinks or tea, then the UAC Starbucks is the place to go just because of the shorter lines,” Brooker said. “But when it comes to iced coffee, I like reliability.”

 

2.      Wake the Dead

Wake the Dead is a favorite among San Marcos natives and Texas State students alike.

The extensive menu is complimented by a red-and-black color palette and Halloween-esque decor.

Although the main room is equipped with a stage for local entertainment, those looking for a more laidback environment can find solace in the study, where students and locals often get their work done over their favorite cup of joe.

Bill Cunningham, San Marcos resident and Texas State alumnus, said Wake the Dead is one of his favorite coffee spots in the city.

Cunningham said the location makes the coffeehouse a convenient choice, but the atmosphere is what keeps him coming back.

The coffeehouse hosts poetry readings, open-mic nights and displays artwork created by local talent.

“It’s a place where you can meet a lot of different people,” Cunningham said. “At a lot of the other coffee shops people are just rushing in to get their coffee, but (Wake the Dead) is a place where strangers talk to strangers and you get some good discussions going.”

Cunningham said he frequents Wake the Dead so often he has become friends with the baristas.

“It’s become kind of a home place for me,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham said he was feeling adventurous during one visit and one of the baristas created a “summertime drink” specifically for him.

“The baristas are all very knowledgeable,” Cunningham said. “They can whip up just about anything or create something of their own for you if you’re feeling experimental.”

3.      Stellar Cafe

This 1920s-themed coffee shop is located in the heart of San Marcos.

Its downtown location places it on the edge of campus, which allows it to serve as a hub for students and social locals looking to get their caffeine fix.

In addition to vintage coffee ads hanging on the walls, Stellar Cafe also further emulates a flapper-era theme by providing coffee beverages donning clever names such as the “Bootleg Betty” and the “Cat’s Meow.”

Haley Hardy, Stellar Cafe employee and social work junior, said she decided to work at the coffee shop after being a loyal customer for two years.

“I love (Stellar Cafe) because everything from the coffee names and the style to the music generally reflects the ‘20s theme and creates a great atmosphere,” Hardy said.

Hardy said the “Lavender Mocha” and “Coconut Oil Mocha” are unconventional options fairly unique to Stellar Cafe.

The two beverages are among the coffeehouse’s two most popular drinks, she said.

Aimée Bramlett, frequent customer, said she visits San Marcos often and always makes a point to pay a visit to the coffeehouse.

“My favorite drink from here is the Lavender Mocha because it satisfies my caffeine craving and tastes like a flower at the same time,” Bramlett said. “I go coffeehouse-hopping all the time and not many places offer lavender-infused drinks.”

Bramlett said Stellar Cafe’s environment is conducive to a variety of social gatherings.

“I’ve come here in the mornings before for a quiet, laidback Bible study, but then I’ve also come in the evenings to drink coffee with a big group of friends,” Bramlett said. “The noise level is moderate enough to where you can really come here to drink coffee and do whatever you feel like doing.”’

Follow Anna Herod on Twitter at @annaleemurphy.