A sign of a good café is not just the coffee, but also the quality of the experience and generosity of the staff. Some of the best cafés are good simply because their qualities are amplified by the atmosphere and overall experience. Unfortunately, 105 Café fell short and proved to be lackluster in these categories.
On the first floor of the Annex building, tucked in the back, it isn’t easy to find the café unless you know exactly what you’re looking for. For future reference, it is most easily accessible through the south door, conveniently located just a few steps from the South Campus TRAX station.
The dining area just outside the café has fast-food style seating with orange, purple and red walls that immediately set a strange mood and bring to mind something more along the lines of a Mom and Pop burger joint than a coffee shop.
Things only go downhill from there. Built in 1942 as an army administration building, the historic Annex building itself is a significant deterrent from the café, complete with the strange odor that often accompanies old buildings. As if that weren’t enough, the servers were impolite and unhelpful.
Despite poor service, the primary focus here is on convenience. With stacks of quick self-serve snacks, candy, donuts, nacho chips and soda, 105 Café seems intent on selling itself as a place to buy items meant to tide students over for the hour or two that they have to sit in a class, and less as a comfortable sit-down for quality atmosphere.
As for the coffee itself, unlike many other cafes on campus, 105 doesn’t serve local coffee. Instead, it is one of a few places on campus that sells Starbucks varieties. I tried the roast of the day, Cafe Verona, which was a bold dark blend. On a positive note this roast, known to be paired well with chocolate, was suitably placed amid the cafe’s selection of pastries and sweets.
The café may have one of the largest selections of snack options on campus, and is certainly well suited for those days on which you have only a few seconds to get yourself caffeinated, but if you’re looking for a nice, quiet spot to sit, enjoy a cup of coffee and do a bit of studying, steer clear of this particular location.
A good coffee spot makes you want to hang around and stay for a while, but the strong odor and poor service here makes 105 Café more of a grab-and-go. You feel you need to leave the moment you arrive.