If you’re sick of spending days on end in Frist, try heading down Witherspoon. Before you hit the Princeton Public Library, take a left and turn the corner. There, you'll find Infini-T Tea House and Vegetarian Café!
After the review of Rojo’s Roastery, a coffee shop that has the best espresso around but the most inconvenient lack of wifi, I’ve been looking for a café where I can really camp out. It’s a fact of Princeton life that sometimes there are days (and sometimes weeks) where I need unlimited free wifi and a large table that can fit my laptop, a notebook, a legal pad, two textbooks, a copy of Don Quixote, and at least one caffeinated beverage.
After asking around, I’ve found that a fair number of students have heard of this spot, but not everyone has tried it – students are either encouraged by or turned off by its notoriously hippie vibe. It’s true that you might end up branching out and drinking a pot of obscure tea rather than your typical Americano, but keep reading to see that regardless of how mainstream your taste, this is a café to check out.
I’m a die-hard coffee drinker. Ask any of my friends and they will vouch for the fact that I generally drink ten cups a day and get withdrawal if I drink fewer than two on any given morning. With that in mind, it’s high praise to say that I order tea rather than coffee at Inifini-T, and even higher praise to admit that I the closest I have come to a coffee detox in the past year are the Fridays I have spent tucked into a corner of the shop sipping on chai.
Essentially what I mean is that this section of the review is not really about coffee. Infini-T does sell espresso drinks and French press coffee, but after trying both I have to admit that I find neither to be particularly special. The coffee isn’t quite worth the walk – but the tea definitely is.
When you go to Infini-T you’ll encounter a huge menu of teas categorized based on type. Fortunately for those of us who are chronically indecisive and who are not avid tea drinkers, the baristas are friendly and knowledgeable, and have helped me pick out a drink every time. After trying a wide variety, I recommend the classic house chai or, for a lighter and less sweet option, the Assam Golden Tips black tea.
Students are right to say that Infini-T has a hippie vibe, but this tone is achieved in an artful way. The walls have an eclectic mix of East Asian and Indian art, tapestries, and carved wood, and shelves contain miscellaneous pictures, books, and teapots. Jars of spices line other areas of the store and the furniture is an interesting combination of mismatched chairs, tables, and armchairs.
Somehow these seemingly random items are unified in their down-to-earth quality and the soft lighting coming through the skylights at the front of the store – instead of finding the space overwhelming, I always feel a homey vibe. However, it’s very true that this tone isn’t for everyone, so I recommend trying it out to see if it works for you.
Upon some reflection I realized that if I’m not going to Infini-T for it’s spacious and calming study ambience, I go for its food. In contrast to many of the food options on and around Nassau Street, Infini-T has incredibly well priced dishes – it’s easy to spend only $7 on a substantial breakfast or lunch.
Not only is the food affordable, but it’s also delicious and healthy. Given the caveat that the café is vegetarian, it offers a huge variety of options, ranging from the typical scones, muffins, and cookies of a coffee shop to masala scrambled eggs during breakfast hours and paninis for lunch. The best part is that each dish is homemade and the ingredients are healthy (generally whole grain or packed with veggies), which makes for a nice break from dining hall food. The food at this café is just another encouragement to stay in the shop studying for hours, occasionally treating yourself to a guilt-free snack.
Some of the major benefits of Infini-T are its amenities. The café has a multitude of seating options, free and unlimited wifi, and plenty of outlets for charging laptops. The sole flaw is that, because the café is semi-underground, there is virtually no cellular reception. Even though this can be problematic, I’ve found that sometimes a few hours away from the onslaught of constant communication is refreshing and makes for efficient studying (especially since any important contact can be made via email or messaging).
Overall, Infini-T is exactly what its full name implies – a tea house and vegetarian café. Don’t go there expecting a coffee shop in the classic sense; opinions of this café are very rooted in personal taste. Still, I recommend trekking to town to try out a more alternative atmosphere, new caffeinated beverages, and a refreshingly healthy lunch.