Coffee on Campus

 

 

 

 

Coffee on Campus: A Guide

            For caffeine-driven freshmen, sophomores, and upperclassmen, the hardest part of the adjustment to school process is obvious: where to get that daily fix of bitter (or sweet) morning energy. No longer. I have tasted coffee all across campus so that you don’t have to. My review ranks places to get coffee on a scale from one to five in these categories: convenience, cost-effectiveness, quality, taste, number of options, and overall experience.  

            For those of you just embarking on your coffee journeys and those who feel unsatisfied by your current caffeine routine, read on.

 

Dining Hall Coffee:

            Convenience: 5/5

            Cost-effectiveness: 5/5

            Quality: 2/5

            Taste: 1/5

            Options: 1/5

            Experience: 2/5

                        For those of you who don’t know, drinking the Sodexo coffee in the dining halls essentially amounts to consuming liquid caffeine sludge. It does the job, but often feels like that comes at the cost of your throat lining. That being said, it’s still high in caffeine, and sometimes that’s all you need before your 8AM lecture. Also, it adds no additional cost on top of a swipe!

 

Dining Hall Espresso Machines:

            Convenience: 4/5

            Cost-effectiveness: 5/5

            Quality: 3/5

            Taste: 3/5

            Options: 3/5

            Experience: 2/5

                        On the up-side, these machines have options for espresso. (They also make a pretty okay hot chocolate, but that’s not what this article is about.) On the down-side, powdered milk. That being said, when you can’t take another sip of the sludge (mentioned above) and aren’t willing to budget for coffee on flex, these sputtering machines may be your saving grace… just so long as they aren’t broken.

 

Swemromas

            Convenience: 4/5

            Cost-effectiveness: 3/5

            Quality: 5/5

            Taste: 4/5

            Options: 5/5

            Experience: 4/5

                        Ever spent a Sunday morning at home or at a public library pounding out a paper and just wishing you could spend those miserable hours in a bustling, student-filled coffee shop, your next espresso fix only ten feet (and a seven minute wait in line) away? The coffee gods have heard your prayers. Located right in the entrance to Swem library, this beautiful espresso oasis is near-constantly filled with the soothing sounds of steaming milk and the ambient noise of studying. Need somewhere quieter to silently drill those flashcards? Just take your freshly-made drink deeper into the library. With flex, you won’t pay tax on your purchase, making this a slightly more budget-conscious choice than venturing into the real world for a cup of joe.

 

Vending Machines

            Convenience: 4/5

            Cost-effectiveness: 3/5

            Quality: 3/5

            Taste: 3/5

            Options: 2/5

            Experience: 3/5

                        It’s pre-packaged Starbucks coffee from a vending machine, there isn’t a lot of complexity of experience to describe. It’s definitely time-efficient, so long as you don’t spend twenty minutes kicking the machine when something gets stuck. 

The Daily Grind

            Convenience: 4/5

            Cost-effectiveness: 2/5

            Quality: 5/5

            Taste: 5/5

            Options: 5/5

            Experience: 4/5

                        Located right in the center of campus (nowhere near Campus Center), this place combines a laid-back, intellectual coffee shop atmosphere with a menu of well-crafted coffee concoctions and—hang on, they don’t take flex? Rude! 

            In this reviewer’s humble opinion, the coffee from the Daily Grind is the best-tasting on campus. But, as the story so often goes, everything good comes with a price. And a taxed one, at that.

 

ISC Starbucks

            Convenience: 4/5

            Cost-effectiveness: 3/5

            Quality: 4/5

            Taste: 4/5

            Options: 3/5

            Experience: 4/5

                        An on-campus Starbucks, located just up the steps, in the door, and to the left when approaching down the hill from Sadler (for all of my humanities and other un-sciences majors who refuse to learn to navigate the ISCs). Another flex-haven like Swemromas, this is the place to go for anyone with an early psych lecture or a brand-affinity for the corporation that’s systematically taking over America, one caffeine-addicted person at a time. 

 

BONUS: CW Aromas 

            Convenience: 2/5

            Cost-effectiveness: 2/5

            Quality: 5/5

            Taste: 5/5

            Options: 5/5

            Experience: 4/5

                        If you’re willing to brave the long walk past Wren and sacrifice your real-money budget to get off-campus for brunch or an afternoon cup (or if you live in Brown Hall or Sorority Court), this is the place for you. A refreshing, if not mindlessly hot, walk off campus, this combination coffee shop and restaurant is the perfect place to make your parents take you when they’re in town. It’s also not a bad place to meet a friend for a meal when the dining hall food is driving you insane, or when you just need a piece of apple pie the size of your head in order to survive the week. We’ve all had those days, right?

 

BONUS: Wawa

            Convenience: 4/5

            Cost-effectiveness: 4/5

            Quality: 4/5

            Taste: 5/5

            Options: 5/5

            Experience: 6/5

                        Nope, that’s not a typo. Open 24/7, this off-campus student favorite is iconic for its cheap food and forgiving staff. A personal favorite of mine for late night snacks after socializing and bonding with my fellow students well into the AM, this is the only place I know that will serve hot mac ’n’ cheese at 3AM without batting an eye. Oh, and the coffee’s awesome too. Flavored brews like French Vanilla and Mint Chocolate Chip line the back right corner, and there are even more options available through the touch-screen ordering system. For those of you who are from non-Wawa towns (like me) you simply order on the screen, pay at the register using your receipt, and then exchange your blue-stamped receipt for your food or beverage of choice. Also, for a limited time, any iced 16oz beverage is only $1.99, so make the walk past Blow and enjoy it while it’s cheap.

 

            I truly hope this guide helps you on your coffee journey at WM. 

 

            I have only one last piece of advice: no matter where you get it from or what you pay for it, sometimes a good caffeine kick and a familiar taste is all it takes to make something new and overwhelming seem bearable.

 

Enjoy the buzz,

Samantha White