kristy holland

C lasses are in full swing and along with your credit-load comes a sense of exhaustion and a lot less enthusiasm for working to start -- or cement -- a relationship. But spending some quality, caffeine-fueled time with your lady could be just what you need to boost your energy and excitement back to first-date levels.

What does caffeine have to do with falling in love? Well, there's a classic study (Google "Misattribution of Arousal" for details) that, among other things, suggests that people credit romantic attraction and chemistry with the physical response of being scared. Basically, being afraid causes sweaty palms, increased heart rate, alertness -- many of which are also side effects of falling in love...and caffeine. The implication: By plying your date with fear (or in our case, caffeine), you can strengthen your intimate connection.

There's a coffee-caused bonus, too. When it comes to study dates, fueling with a cup (or two) of joe may improve memory and retention specific to tasks like recalling lists or answers to exam questions. You can use that little tidbit to convince a study-centric love interest to joining you for an evening of coffee drinking, even if she's stressed over the school year already.

So what's a love-sick boy to do? Don't bring her a half-brewed cup, hone in on a coffee shop experience with the atmosphere and attitude you'd like to convey and invite away. Here's a list of favorite spots that could be just the caffeine-serving watering holes to get your romance revved up.

Amante Walnut: With a cosmopolitan, old-world feel that lends it an air of sophistication, this tiny shop is a great place to while away late afternoons on the outdoor tabletops. Along with the top-shelf bar, which is hard to find in a B-town coffee joint, this shop is known for airing international games that can be hard to catch without cable -- this is an awesome choice if you're date's at all interested in cricket or club soccer. Bonus: It's within easy walking distance of campus. (amantecoffee.com; 1035 Walnut St.; Open until 10 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., until 7 p.m. Sun.-Wed.)

The Laughing Goat: This bustling coffee bar is one of the biggest in town and it's often jam-packed guys sporting tight jeans and girls with feathered earrings. The artistic vibe is a result of the hordes of creative self-employed folks who fill tables midday and from the almost nightly live music ranging from drum-beating mambo to indie-chick songwriters. (thelaughinggoat.com; 1709 Pearl St.; Open until 11 p.m. every night)

Folsom Street Coffee Company: The outdoor patio and off-the-beaten-track feel of this full-service coffee hotspot sets a great stage for intimate conversation disguised as serious study sessions. With good lighting, a respectful noise level that lets you carry on a conversation (not always possible at the Goat) and a lineup of delicious pastries, this place is just mellow enough to relax you, but just cool enough to make you look good. (1795 Folsom St.; Open until 8 p.m. every night)

Kristy Holland writes about dating once a week for the Colorado Daily. Tell her about your date-night ideas or strategies at boulderdatenight@gmail.com.