The Chaparral staff reviews nearby coffee shops and most popular drinks

We could put an inspirational, coffee-related quote here, but that’s not what we need. We need coffee!


Photo courtesy of The Chaparral. Brianna Jaime orders her drink online at Steamy Hallow in the Palm Desert mall.

The Chaparral’s two very own coffee lovers have taken it upon ourselves to become coffee sommeliers. With finals week approaching, we have marked the best coffee shops within a 3-mile radius of the COD Palm Desert campus for those of you, like us, who are gearing up for exams and need all the coffee we can get.

Below are five of the aforementioned coffee shops, with our ratings on their most popular drinks. Still, if you live closer to La Quinta and Indio — we have our absolute favorites listed at the end. PSA: All drinks mentioned are upwards of $5, just so you know!

Koffi Rancho Mirage – 2.5 mi from College of the Desert

Holly’s rating: 4/5 — Bri’s rating: 5/5

If you like something sweet, get the Mocha Freeze at Koffi. Mochas are a popular chocolate-coffee hybrid, but an additional flavor stood out to both of us; Bri tastes some vanilla, while I taste some random hint of bananas —good bananas. The shake is not too thick with a very pleasant consistency, but a word of advice to lactose intolerant folks: choose another milk option before ordering this one with 2%! The large drink was over $6, which is a bit pricey. However, that’s nothing new for local coffee companies.

Steamy Hallow – 1 mi from College of the Desert

Holly’s rating: 5/5 — Bri’s rating: 3.5/5

We’ll kick this one off by stating Steamy Hallow’s most popular drink, the Dragon’s Breath, is not a coffee drinker, but that kick is surely caffeinated. It tastes like a Jolly Rancher in a drink, and we know we’d be all over it as kids. Bri describes the Dragon’s Breath as a drink best served at a theme park and believes the Red Bull saves the drink from making the lemonade base too sweet. We both agree that the edible glitter infused in the drink made us the happiest. How could it not? Steamy Hallow’s other drinks, like their butterbeer, are superb, too.

Varraco Coffee + Roasters – 1 mi from College of the Desert

Holly’s rating: 1/5 — Bri’s rating: 2.5/5

While aesthetically pleasing, the ube latte at Varraco Coffee + Roasters in Palm Desert did not please our tastebuds. Again, we judge coffee shops’ most popular drinks, and they recommended this latte to us, who tasted it blindly, unsure of what makes an ube latte a latte. “I didn’t know what ube is supposed to taste like because I have never had it,” Bri remarks, “I’m not a fan of the aftertaste, that’s all.” The ube latte, while not for regular coffee sticklers, is definitely for those with an acquired taste.

IW Coffee – 2.5 mi from College of the Desert

Holly’s rating: 4/5  — Bri’s rating: 3/5

Unpopular opinion, incoming: IW Coffee has never been a top coffee shop, I believe, and Bri has never been. All small things — from the weird pebbled ice that melts in 25 minutes exactly, how the flavor is so meh every time, and most importantly, how they don’t have soy milk. Soy milk, my love, you don’t deserve this. Nevertheless, we walked into the always charming ambiance of IW Coffee, ready to taste their most popular drink: the Boston Creme Latte… and I found the drink delightful. Bri, on the other hand, had other thoughts. She chuckles, “You can taste the espresso, but no hints of Boston Creme. I’m just not a fan of the flavor!” Additionally, the drink’s ice did not melt in 25 minutes precisely because it was the last week of November. You win this time on my end, IW Coffee, but please stock up on soy milk!

COD Beeps Cafe – 0 mi from College of the Desert 

Holly’s rating 3/5 — Bri’s rating: 4/5

Before this coffee-tasting tour de France with Bri, I [Holly] had two mochas and one macchiato at Beeps Cafe. This time we ordered their iced mochas and what’s funny is that it’s technically Starbucks coffee except that it doesn’t look like Starbucks, nor taste like Starbucks, but it does the caffeine job. While this isn’t a new experience for me, it is for Bri, who says, “It’s milky, but it passes for a solid iced mocha.” I concur. Beware lactose intolerant people! Beeps Cafe is where to go if you’re stuck on campus for a few hours and need food or a cup of coffee. In that sense, Beeps Cafe is a win-win, and their burritos are fantastic.

Hopefully, these coffee shop options piqued your interest for your next cup of coffee, whether you’re on the run, out holiday shopping, or in need of new study space for finals week. And while these coffee shops were not in our loop, Just Java, Main Street Coffee, and Everbloom is our top favorites that aren’t Starbucks — so check those out too if you’re closer to La Quinta and Indio! Stay caffeinated, Roadrunners. Let’s power through finals!