Students at UCSD most likely have experienced the mellow, studious, and often stressful vibe at Geisel Library (especially around midterms). However, this air of stressful dreariness was broken by the energetic and cheerful soft opening of Audrey’s cafe last week. Emblazoned with bright, childlike decor and filled with the laughter of an energetically friendly staff, Audrey’s cafe pierces Geisel’s veil of stressful darkness with its lively, springy presence (and if you only left Geisel to get drinks and food, now you never have to leave at all).
Beyond its colorful and energetic decorations, Audrey’s presents itself as a modern cafe, offering standard coffee items and blended drinks, as well as non-coffee items such as tea and italian sodas. In addition, Audrey’s offers a plethora of snacks, as well as a wide collection of pastries to go with your choice of drink. When ordering, you will be greeted by the friendly and welcoming staff, who seem just as excited about Audrey’s opening as we are (unless you’re not, in which case never mind).
While the staff are extremely welcoming, one might get the sense of a youthful nature and inexperience in Audrey’s staff—just like the shop itself, some seem to be new to the coffee scene. When asked about what kind of roast they were brewing that day, the majority of the staff had no answer, though with some discussion one employee finally concluded that it was a dark roast. Then, when another customer asked if they offer pour-overs, they were given the response, “What’s that?” Though the preparation for a pour-over might not be common knowledge, one would expect a barista to have at least heard of the term (or at least pretend like they did). In addition, if medium is considered the new dark, then I suppose the staff would be correct in their description—but sadly this is not the case.
Visiting Audrey’s for the first time, this writer came out trying an iced mocha, my personal cup of choice. Tasting it for the first time, I was pleasantly welcomed by the drink’s smooth, rich, and slightly sweet embrace (also just happy to get coffee). This initial taste transitioned into a bitterness—the taste of the medium roast coffee. However, this stage quickly became overwhelmed by the overbearing taste of milk fat and chocolate, leaving something to be desired by someone expecting the taste of coffee. Though a mocha is comprised of other components, the central flavor should be the alluring taste of coffee with the other ingredients enhancing the coffee flavor, not masking it.
Next, I went for one of their blended options: a blended white mocha. Like the drink before, I was welcomed by the smooth and rich liquid which coated the tongue. But, just as before, I found myself slightly overwhelmed by the richness of the milk and the heavy use of artificial sweetener, still lacking a defined coffee taste. Afterwards, the liquid left an unpleasant harsh bitterness from the overzealous use of artificial sweetener.
Still, determined to sample the elusive flavor of their brew, I purchased a cup of their plain coffee and a chocolate croissant to pair it with (I swear I’m not addicted to coffee). The coffee by itself tasted of an acrid sourness with a notes of grassy green and an aged smoothness, which dances around the mouth with a slight aroma of an enzymatic fruity citrus. These flavors make for a smooth, sour experience with a sharp, piercing gradient that ends in a slight bitterness.
Upon my first bite of the chocolate croissant, one of their many pastry options, I was greeted by a slight outer crisp, a mildly sweet chocolate, and the slight butteriness of the croissant itself. With a coffee, the croissant makes for a nice pairing. Though it lacks mildly in sweetness, the soft flakiness of the pastry makes this croissant great; for a pastry found in a glass display case, this croissant pleasantly surpassed my expectations.
Judging from its soft opening, Audrey’s Cafe is a bright and energetic coffee shop from which to grab equally bright and energetic drinks. Though some lack the distinct bite and richness of coffee, the drinks are light and smooth and will adequately satisfy those who aren’t too picky. The pastries also aid in the battle to ward off the ever present demons of hunger and drowsiness. Overall, Audrey’s seems to be a welcome addition to Geisel Library that brightens the East wing’s second floor, making it a safe haven for studying students searching for a nearby energy boost.