New To Campus? Where to Caffeinate

Ah, Melbourne. Internationally renowned for its scintillating brews, our little gem of a hometown is the perfect place to caffeinate yourself into functionality. However, the sheer number of options we're offered can be overwhelming - which is cheapest? Which is yummiest? Which won't judge me for reappearing multiple times throughout the morning? We've rated each of the hottest contenders on campus; we drank the coffee so that you don't have to. 

Standing Room

Price: 2/5; Taste: 3.5/5; Customer Engagement: 2/5

Extra: How cool will you look walking into a lecture theatre holding one half-way through pre-lecture socialist preaching? 5/5

With its ritzy faire, retro stamped coffee mugs and 2014 décor, Standing Room is a must-go for all the Commerce kids who get $300 pay-outs from their parents. The baristas are expertly bearded and deliciously grumpy, and the coffee is, admittedly, nothing to sneeze at. However, it’s nothing to walk more than 10 minutes out of your way for.

Castro’s

Price: 4.5/5; Taste: 3/5; Customer Engagement: 3.5/5

Extra: Ability to purchase a small latte without having to make a mad dash to an ATM? 0/5

Castro’s remains a close contender for best place on campus for price alone. A small is a generous $3.30, and a medium is a $3.80, and a $4.80 borek on the side is a satisfying lunch for anyone a bit tight for cash. Also, the customer loyalty program is the most valuable on campus.

ERC Kiosk

Price: 4/5; Taste: 3/5; Customer Engagement: 3/5

Extra: Ability to tell you what coffee beans they use: 4/5.

One time I went there and asked what coffee beans they used and it took them a while but then they told me. Coffee is affordable and super close to the ERC if you need something to reward yourself with in 10 pages time.

Co-op

Price: 3/5 (3.5/5 if you got a keep cup); Taste: 3/5; Customer Engagement; 3/5

Extra: Chance that they’ll ask you to become a Co-op member: 5/5.

A little known fact about the Co-op coffee shop is that it’s employees are all hired by the Co-op book store, and likely have the “Hello are you a member with us at all? Would you be interested in signing up?” mantra drilled into their customer service dialogue. Either way, the coffee’s not bad when you’re stuck in the line at Stop 1 and don’t want to wander too far in case the 50 people in front of you decide to give up/spontaneously die.

Professors Walk

Price: 2.5/5; Taste: 3.5/5; Customer Engagement: 2.5/5

Extra: Chances you’ll slip in a glimpse of an academic talking Foucauldian politics with a student you remember from your Arts Foundation subject: 5/5.

Professor’s Walk is expensive, but its allure is enticing enough to make you want to go their regardless. The coffee is nice, the atmosphere is more relaxed, and with the Baillieu next door, you can’t help feeling roguishly academic.  

7-11

Price: 5/5; Taste: 1.5/5; Customer Engagement: 2/5

Extra: Coolness factor: 1/5.

7/11 is pinnacle Sydney coffee, as in, terrible. But after a while you become conditioned to the burnt coffee taste and scalding hot milk. And your wallet thanks you. For that price you’d be able to justify almost anything. A must-try for students on a budget.

Seven Seeds

Price: 1.5/5; Taste: 4/5; Customer Engagement; 3.5/5

Extra: Instagrammability: 4.5/5.

Seven Seeds isn’t technically on campus, but its allure is strong enough to justify the walk. The coffee would be amazing if it were, like, a dollar cheaper. If you’ve joined the brave men and women fighting against the intolerably priced coffees of Melbourne, you’ll have to give the $4.50 lattes a miss.

Shanti Bhagwan Café (in Alice Hoy)

Price: 3/5; Taste; 3.5/5; Customer Engagement; 5/5

Extra: Iced coffees: 5/5.

It’s hard not to be fond of Shanti Bhagwan, the coffee is good and varied, the staff are overwhelmingly nice, and it’s in the perfect spot if you’ve got a few minutes to kill after getting off the Swanston Street tram. The coffee is decent, but it’s the iced coffee that draws patrons from Cairns to Carrum Downs.

Carte (Editor's Choice)

Price: 3.5/5; Taste 5/5; Customer Engagement: 4/5

Extra: Sometimes the employees wear t-shirts with Tintin on them which is a 5/5.

Carte is known for its crêpes and its freebies during the exam period, but its coffees are a worthy contestant amongst its campus competitors based on flavour alone. Each coffee somehow goes perfectly with a lemon and sugar crêpe (or a salted caramel one if you're in the mood to splurge). 

House of Cards

Price: 3.5/5; Taste: 3.5/5; Customer Engagement; 5/5

Extra: Ability to act on your philanthropic urges: 5/5.

It’s hard not to like the novelty of House of Cards; you get the card, you get your card called out. Incredible! Sometimes you feel powerful with a queen or king of diamonds, sometimes you’re given an opportunity to reflect on the increasing mundanity of life with a 6 of spades. They sell keep-cups to make you feel good about the environment and give you the opportunity to support your cause of choice post-purchase. And the coffee is worth a sip or two.

And for some of our older readers:

Lot 6

Price: 5/5; Taste: 5/5; Customer Engagement: 5/5

Accessibility from the 1st of November 2017: 0/5

Rip Lot 6, the bubbling hub of student interaction and academic meetings. You were the only place where you could comfortably study AND have a laugh with mates without getting spiteful glares from grad students. Your coffee was perfect and your toasted sandwiches legendary. Vale.

Tsubu

Price: 2.5/5; Taste: 3.5/5; Customer Engagement: 2.5/5

Extra: Ability to chug a cider after downing a cappuccino: 5/5.

Tsubu as the most frequently occurring stop across all o’week pub crawls is never gonna be beholden to its ability to deliver a good coffee. Nevertheless, the coffee ain’t bad, and if you’re caught for caffeine at uni late in the day it’s the perfect place to kick back, relax and resist the urge to drown any assessment sorrows in a glass of the house red.

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