With an alarming 92% of college students drinking coffee, it is no surprise that coffee shops are a popular study spot.

As an engineering student, I spent the majority of my time in my local coffee shop, trying to understand what was happening in my classes and consume as much coffee as possible.

​While there are benefits to studying in school libraries, coffee shops actually have a number of scientifically backed benefits that make them the perfect study space.

So today were learning about how studying in a coffee shop can lead to increased productivity, increased focus, and overall better information retention!

Why You Should Be Studying In A Coffee Shop

Easy and frequent access to a caffeine source

Caffeine is pretty much in the blood of every college student, as mentioned before, 92% of students drink coffee!

The addictive drink keeps you moving through the days and the inevitable long nights of studying.

Coffee shops have the ability to create a number of exciting, caffeinated drinks, a great step up from the instant coffee most students use.

Caffeine also has a number of known health benefits such as lowering the risk of depression,, but it also has a few benefits when it comes to learning.

This Open University article states that beyond keeping you awake; caffeine can also:

help to improve alertness and enhance short-term capabilities so that you can easily learn and absorb new information.

Moving on from caffeine, many coffee shops are also a great place to grab some food or a fresh bakery item.

While eating junk food isn’t recommended while studying, many cafes offer a number of foods that stimulate brain activity such as fruit and chocolate.

If you’re going to be studying for a few hours, it’s a great idea to bring a small snack with you.

Even if you’re not on a budget, coffee shop costs can add up quickly.

Bonus: if you’re in Madison or Milwaukee check out Stone Creek Coffee or Indie Coffee House. Both of these coffee shops have great studying environments and fantastic food.

You’re not at home or in your dorm room

When you’re studying for hours on end, a change of scenery can be essential to keeping focused.

Being in close proximity to where you sleep or near your TV can lead to a short break that leads into a longer break and then eventually you just call it a day.

Being in a location surrounded by other people and natural light can give you the extra push you need to keep on studying.

An extra bonus to studying outside of your home is that you don’t have any house clutter or mess around you.

According to a UCAS blog post, a cleaner environment leads to a clean brain which in turn, leads to a more productive study session.

You can create your own perfect study environment

Between the free wi-fi and comfortable chairs, you can create a great study environment in a cafe.

Comfort is incredibly important when it comes to studying. I mean, no one has ever focused on physics when their leg is cramping.

This is the time to choose a larger table (if it’s not too busy) and spread out.

Having a comfortable and clean space to study will help you keep organized and motivated during long hours of studying.

While you should arrive with a plan to get the most out of your study session, using extra study materials like binders can:

reduce student frustration, increase time spent on learning, and raise grades.

There’s A Good Amount Of Movement Around You

This one may be controversial as many people like dead silence when they study but for some reason, I need music or movement when I study.

There are numerous benefits to studying in an environment that has background noise and a lot of people.

It has been found that a moderate level of noise

increases processing difficulty, which in turn promotes abstract processing

This abstract processing means that our brains tend to find more creative solutions to problems when surrounded by low level distractions.

Between employees talking and the whir of a coffee machine, there will usually be a good amount of ambient sound.

​Keep in mind, if it’s too loud in your local coffee shop, the noise may become an unhelpful distraction, so try to avoid studying during peak hours.

It is also recommended that when taking study breaks to get up and move when possible.

An open area or outdoor seating in a cafe can be the perfect place to stretch, walk around, or even take place in “micro-movements”.

Micro-movements are small actions such as moving your weight around while sitting or standing, or even stretching your legs when sitting.

Any movement helps you stay more alert when studying and improves:

focus, retention, memory consolidation, creativity and mood

It is also recommended to set a time limit of how long you want to study so you can incorporate movement breaks frequently.


Coffee shops are a perfect place for group studying

Last but not least, coffee shops have the perfect environment for a study group.

Having the noisy environment we talked about earlier, coffee shops are extremely easy to talk and exchange ideas in. 

The campus libraries can be great, but in reality, it can be hard to find a study spot where you don’t feel you’re interrupting someone else’s studying with your group conversations.

It is expected to have conversations at coffee shops, so you have no reason to worry about ruining anyone else’s experience when studying at a cafe.

Some cafes even have separate areas for people who are there to work on group projects.

Tip: If you have a large group, be sure to call ahead and see if you can reserve a table to make life easier

Conclusion: Why You Should Study At A Cafe

Coffee shops have so much to offer from a morning cup of coffee to a great study environment.

You can increase focus and creative thinking with the white noise and constant movement in the area, while the caffeine will keep your brain alert for hours.

Additionally, the fast wi-fi and clean environment can help keep you alert and prevent you taking longer breaks than needed like you may do at home.

All-in-all I can confidently recommend grabbing your favorite study materials and spending some quality time studying in your nearest coffee shop.

I hope that you find the environment to be as helpful and beneficial as I did!

Have you found a great place to study? Let us know in the comments!

BONUS: Here are some great resources for finding a coffee shop to study at if you’re in Madison or Milwaukee!

  • If you’re studying in Madison: click here
  • If you’re studying in Milwaukee: click here
  • Are you looking for some great places to study for a middle schooler? Check out this post for some great suggestions!

​Do you love cafes? Check out the Procaffinator Instagram to see cafes from all over the world!