Philz too crowded? Check out two coffee shop alternatives near De Anza College


Lauren Locquiao

Samantha Tran, 21, biology major prepares a customer’s order at Big Mug Coffee Roaster.

Lauren Locquiao, Staff Reporter

When all the tables inside of Starbucks and Philz Coffee are taken, you might be left wondering where else you can enjoy coffee while you study. There are a number of small coffee shops that surround De Anza College to check out, too.

However, they aren’t the big brand chains, The entire culture of third-wave coffee shops poses that customers come here as a destination shop. Each has its own aesthetic.

Both Big Mug Coffee Roaster and Bitter + Sweet might be a good hangout spot for friends, a place for a quick study session or somewhere to be if you’re trying to beat traffic.

Bitter + Sweet

“Once I went over to independent shops, I never wanted to work in a big chain again,” said Daniel Vu, the store owner of Bitter + Sweet in Cupertino.

Bitter + Sweet is known for their red velvet latte as well as other specialty drinks, like their lavender latte and black sesame latte.

“When (my former boss) opened it up it was very clean, streamlined, a little too sterile. For me, I wanted something a little bit more edgy,” said Vu. “So, when I took over, that’s when I started adding pop culture, memes, puzzles, arcades and stuff. I wanted to transform this place to something more.”

Lauren Locquiao
Daniel Vu, owner of Bitter + Sweet, pours milk to create latte art.

There are miniature, old-school classic arcades that are free to play, including “Pac-Man” and “Street Fighter.” There is also a bookcase filled with old copies of “Goosebumps.”

Vivian Chu, 18, biology major and Bitter+Sweet employee, said she isn’t too keen of a coffee person, but thoroughly enjoys the red velvet latte and black sesame latte.

This coffee shop has free Wi-Fi lasting up to 4 hours, The Wi-Fi requires a password, which can be found on the receipt of your order. Bitter + Sweet is the ideal place for a quick study session, or to hang out with friends while you beat 5 p.m. traffic after your afternoon classes.

Big Mug Coffee Roaster

Moving over to later in the night, we have Big Mug Coffee Roaster in Santa Clara. This place stays open until 11 p.m., so you can linger there for some more late-night studying.

Seating and parking is a little bit harder to come by than Bitter + Sweet. But what makes people come all the way here to do their work and enjoy their caffeine is the wider selection of available tables.

While Starbucks and Peets Coffee are more convenient because of their ubiquity, people are known to stay there for hours at a time doing their work.

There are about three types of customers who come to Big Mug said Hieu Tran, a Big Mug barista. “We have Santa Clara University and SJSU students, sometimes high schoolers, techies from Apple, NVidia,” Tran said.

His go-to hot beverage is a mocha latte, and his recommendation for those who prefer cold drinks is an iced americano. Tran said that the shop gets pretty packed during midterms and finals season. With a lot of seating and unlimited free Wi-Fi, this place is worth checking out.

Take the leap

Whether you want a get a cup to-go or plan to stay here to catch up on work, each coffee shop has its unique ambience and different selections of coffee and food to offer De Anza students.

It can vary in size, their specialties, and where they’re located.

Instead of spending an hour trying to find seating in Stabucks or Philz, take the leap and a few extra dollars to find your place.