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A Few Ways to Make Horrible Coffee Taste Less Horrible

So guess what everyone! I don’t have any exams! That’s because I’m on this beautiful thing called exchange. So I’ll be spending the exam period in Prague and Budapest. But you will soon be in the heart of exam time. And that means a number of things, but most importantly, that you will be consuming copious amounts of coffee. Maybe you can afford to get your caffeine fix from one of the many Starbuckses on campus, maybe you can afford lattes that have leaves and swirls and hearts and cats or whatever on them and good for you, the rest of us are jealous and might hate you a little bit when no one is watching. This guide is for the rest of us, those who can’t afford to regularly drink delicious, good coffee.


 This is an example of coffee I can’t afford. It’s smiling smugly at me because it knows. (photo cred)

Okay so you probably either are drinking Timmy Ho’s or IKB coffee. If you’re like me you started drinking this, well, really awful coffee because you started needing a lot of caffeine everyday and it wasn’t financially feasible anymore to drink anything but the cheapest java on campus. Here are a few tips from a lover and long-time acquaintance of bad coffee. I hope this helps some of you.

1. Make it a Cocktail!


This is maybe an obvious choice, but many of us forget it’s an option. If you bring your own tumbler/mug/stein/drinking horn/fluid receptacle to various cafés on campus, you get a discount and you can add a little extra sumtin-sumtin to your drink beforehand, which is a very obvious double-win situation. Most UBC run cafes let you pour your own nectar, so don’t worry about the baristas getting fussy about what’s waiting at the bottom of your cup. Here is a list of wonderful things to put in your mug that I promise will make your shitty coffee at least marginally less crappy:

  • Milk: Okay, yes, I know some most places on campus already have milk you can add to your coffee, but do they have coconut milk? I don’t think so. Coconut milk will make any coffee beverage amazeballs. Also for our vegan/lactose intolerant friends, you have the option of adding a myriad of lovely dairy free milks. Stop discriminating against them. Jesus. What did vegans ever do to you?
  • Syrups: Chocolate, caramel, vanilla, almond…you name it. Sure, it seems a bit expensive when you buy the bottle at No Frills, but believe me, it will end up being infinitely cheaper than all of the mochas, vanilla lattes, and caramel macchiatos you would have bought instead. And if you close your eyes and believe really hard, it almost tastes the same as a fancy drink from a real café.
  • Alcohol: Baileys, bourbon, crème de cocoa, the list goes on. With moderation this is a beautiful thing. Don’t judge until you’ve tried it. Also adding chocolate and other flavored syrups to these is sometimes a great idea. And you get the added and 100% free bonus of the thrill of drinking in public, in a library no less! So naughty! You might be caught! (If anybody actually cared what students were doing, that is).

2. Drink it Really Fast


Don’t try to tell me you haven’t drunk worse things as fast as you can. Okay maybe you haven’t, but a lot of people have downed the mysterious whatevers that are created during drinking games (looking at you King’s Cup) or shotgunned Budlight, and I bet no one savors the PBR during a keg stand (honestly though I doubt anyone actually ever savors PBR in any context). So ovary-up and drink it as fast as possible once it’s cooled down. Then make sure someone is watching your stuff so you can hit the WC.

3. Wait until you Really, Really Need Caffeine


The shame of publicly cleaning your own saliva off your books should sweeten the bitterness that is IKB coffee.

4. Chase it with Something that Tastes Better

God Bless you Archee McPhees. 

You can pretty much use anything. Like you ever used that mixing bowl your mom bought you for cooking, anyways.

5. Try to Find Worse Coffee

If you manage to find worse coffee and drink that for a while, the IKB coffee that has been sitting in the dispensers since last night and was warmed up this morning will begin to call to you like a sweet dream. I’m still working on this one – please let me know if you do find worse coffee.

6. Drink A Lot of Coffee


This is how I feel when I am drinking coffee. (photo cred)

This is the beautiful, blissful stage I have gotten to. All you have to do is drink enough joe that you start to develop a taste for cheap coffee alone, no matter how sweetly those nostalgic Starbucks dreams call to you. With enough forty ounce days under your belt, you’ll find yourself with sudden strange cravings you can’t quite place. Then you’ll walk past a campus ‘café’ and gaze longingly at the plastic dispensers sitting there on the counter, calling to you, and your blood suddenly thrills with the memory of coffee’s all-encompassing rush throughout your body. It is truly an elixir of the gods, a fountain of youth, a painfully divine nectar squeezed from the sweetest of fruits, a godsend! You’re surprised you forgot for even a moment the tantalizing call of the bean. It’s a beautiful relationship. 

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