Coffee Shops in Champaign-Urbana

Confession: I am a huge foodie, and nothing gets me more excited than a new coffee shop on campus. And as the weather cools down, what better way to warm up than with a cup of coffee?I remember my first campus tour at the University of Illinois nearly three years ago; I ended a long day of walking with a Spanish Latte from Espresso Royale.

But the coffee landscape on our campus has changed over the past year, so if you are visiting campus, these are the java you need to give a try!


BrewLab is a new coffee shop that opened this past summer, and let me tell you. It. Is. Delicious! Located on Fifth and Green, this trendy little cafe offers delicious treats, lattes, coffees, and teas. Though it is a bit pricey, the best thing about BrewLab is that each drink is made with precision and care. That being said, this is not the place to go if you are crunched on time, but the wait is certainly worth it!

Cafe Paradiso

Cafe Paradiso is a personal favorite of mine. In fact, the best latte I have ever had on campus was from Cafe Paradiso. Located on Lincoln Avenue  in Urbana, this cafe offers a relaxed and cozy environment that is great for getting work done. The prices are comparable to any big chain, and the quality is outstanding.


Okay, I love independent coffee shops just as much as the next coffee junkie, but Starbucks is great for so many reasons, too. First, it is quick and consistent. The drinks are the same anywhere you go, so you know what you are going to get. Second, there are Starbucks at every corner, so location will never be a problem. Unlike other coffee joints, Starbucks offers great rewards programs and bonuses, as well.

Hammerhead Coffee

Hammerhead Coffee is one of the most underrated coffee shops on campus, and maybe that’s because it is just on the cusp of campus on University Avenue. I have only been to Hammerhead once, but I had a great experience! My iced tea was brewed from loose tea leaves and then poured over ice. It was not too sweet, but was super tasty! Pricing was moderate, and there were plenty of options for non-coffee drinkers, too.

Espresso Royale

Truth be told, I don’t love Espresso Royale like I used to, but it felt wrong not to include Espresso on this list. Coming from the suburbs, I had never seen an Espresso before coming to Champaign, but I quickly learned that Espresso Royale in Champaign-Urbana is comparable to Starbucks in Chicago. Espresso offers baked treats, sandwiches, teas, and coffees.

Places I still need to try

    1. Etc. Coffeehouse
    2. Cafe Kopi
    3. Flying Machine Coffee


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