Lab Cafe blends coffee and atmosphere

Photo by Brenda Lin

Coffee is the lifeblood of many Tech students, and there is no shortage of coffee shops on and around campus to supply this ambrosia. To stand out from the crowd, the Lab Cafe in Biotech Quad adds variety not seen in other coffee shops.

Located in Biotech Quad near the Ford Environmental Science building, the Lab Cafe was brought to Tech in March of this year, replacing the Colony Bistro that closed this past December. The cafe is open from 8 to 6 and accepts BuzzCard, although the reader is currently down.

In addition to the standards—coffee, latte, etc.—the cafe also serves specialty coffees and smoothies in both small and large cup sizes. Chai lattes are becoming less of a specialty drink and more of a standard, here included.

Their most popular cold-served coffee is the “Heisenberg,” which is a white chocolate blend. Other interesting cold blend flavors include Cookie Dough and Chocolate Cayenne. As far as hot-served, nothing beats regular coffee, though the mocha latte is the next most popular item.

“I get the cookie dough blend, and I also like the caramel latte,” says fourth-year BMED Kathryn Murray. “Everything here is great, and the workers are very nice.”

The cafe is also a good place to grab lunch. The two-person staff hand-crafts “millions” of sandwich wraps each day, and hotdogs are aplenty. Not your normal hotdog stand, the Lab Cafe brings international flavor to the American tradition.

Some choices include the Chicago and Berlin flavors, which use different relishes, sauerkraut and other toppings to bring flair. This is the same international appeal that the Colony Bistro brought with its street food from around the world.

On Wednesdays, the cafe serves up lunch specials which change weekly; past specials have included Korean tacos, grilled cheese with pear and other meals atypical to a standard coffee shop.

The atmosphere of the restaurant suits its location near the labs of the Ford building. Double-walled beakers filled with colored fluids and strange organisms (water and plastic toy soldiers) are at each table.

Bobbleheads of the main characters from The Big Lebowski may not fit the biology and chemistry theme, but they certainly fit in at a college campus.

“I’ve been here three or four times before, and I almost always get something to drink,” says fourth-year ME Mohamed Banani. “The coffee is always good, the atmosphere is nice, and the back has a great view of the city.”

The cafe overlooks the football team’s practice facility and hosts an impressive view of Atlanta’s skyline.

Business has been on a roll, and the cafe is becoming more popular, especially as the frigid air sets upon Tech. In addition to the view, the location is prime because it also appeals to the hungry, low-on-funds, study-addled, sleepless students who surround it: BMEDs, ChemEs, BioChems, not to mention it’s a short walk from Klaus.

However, the Lab Cafe is not the only coffee place around, and it’s not even the only one in Biotech Quad. The Coffee Snobs, located near the Petit Biotech building, has been around for longer and is closer to the street.

“I’ve been going to The Coffee Snobs for a while now; I didn’t even know [the Lab Cafe] or even the [Colony] Bistro existed,” comments fourth-year BMED Sanjay Sridaran. “People probably go to the place closest to their classes and labs, whether that’s Petit, Whitaker or Ford.”