Cafe Fresh is a cafe/restaurant with all the potential of a great cafe, but with poor execution. It's attached to Columbia University's School for International Public Affairs (SIPA). It's a shop that serves organic coffee, pastries, sandwiches, salads, omelets, and other food stuffs. I started visiting the place in 2005. Back then the coffee was quite good and the food superb. But I stopped going for nearly a year for two reasons: (1) pebbles in my sandwich, which raised major concerns about the cleanliness standards of the place, and (2) the owner, who treated the staff poorly and was really only marginally interested in customer satisfaction. That explained why they seemed to cycle through new staff every couple of months. I started revisiting once again to see what if anything had changed. As it is now, the coffee suffered serious decline. The drip regularly tastes burnt and bitter, and often as though they had not thoroughly cleaned the urns. I had one just this morning and couldn't finish it it was so bad. I haven't retried the espresso drinks. As for the food, the pastries remain to my mind the highlight of the place, and they've included many more items on the menu than before--most of which I haven't tried, but look very tasty. And I haven't had any more pebbles. Apart from the coffee, on the balance the food is better than Max Cafe, which sits kiddy-corner. That said, probably the most frustrating thing remains the service. Again I walked in to see the owner berate a staff member for something inconsequential. It was awful. That, and after receiving my hot coffee to go and learning there were no sleeves, I was refused a double-cup to mitigate the heat, and then accused of having a bad attitude for getting a little grumpy that I didn't want to burn my hand. As for atmosphere: there's not much to speak of. The decor isn't anything worth writing about, there's no outdoor seating, but what's there is sufficient. Four disappointments are (1) they don't like turning on the heat much in the winter (it's quite cold), (2) they variably use the AC in the summer, (3) no wifi beyond what you might be lucky enough to snag from the SIPA building Cafe Fresh is attached to, and (4) in the evening it's too dim to read and they refuse to turn up the lights.