How students are defined by their campus coffee choices


The Daily Illini File Photo

Espresso Royale offers a variety of coffees, teas, and pastries.

By Hayley Nagelberg, Columnist

At the end of a very stressful week, my friend asked me to get coffee and catch up.  

I agreed and then he asked “Where?” I laughed to myself and wrote back, “Somewhere besides Espresso?!”

I go to the Espresso Royale on the corner of 6th and Daniel in Champaign very frequently. I love my flock card rewards and recently learned you can get double taps if you pay in cash.  

This Espresso is where students go to meet professionally, to have conversations you don’t want shared with the world and to genuinely get work done in an environment that isn’t a library.

Meanwhile, the Espresso in Urbana is where you go if you live in Urbana, want to be a little more spread out from other fellow coffee drinkers so they can’t watch over your shoulder as you pretend to study or want a giant couch you can fall into.

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Should you find yourself in the Espresso inside the UGL, there’s a high possibility you came to the library to get work done but also came with friends and now want to take a break to gossip while waiting for your coffee.

And if you’re at the Espresso placed nicely inside Grainger, well, then you have a long night ahead of you, and you should probably get back to your problem set.

If you’re partial to the Caffe Bene locations on campus, you’re really not just there for the caffeine to get through your school work. It’s helpful, maybe, but you want a more sit down eating experience too. This is a great place for meeting a fellow student to talk, but if you’re going to break out your computer, you’re better off leaving,

If you’re getting Starbucks for your caffeine fix, you’re not in it for the academic benefits. You want that selfie snapchat story about how much caffeine you need to get through your day, and you want that logo to be recognized by everyone on your friends list, not just people on campus.  

Those stopping by Etc. CoffeeHouse are a little more alternative. Your major may not be the most broadly known subject on campus, but it’s important to you. Your academics are important, but your homework is not going to get done in one of the thirty libraries on campus, so you don’t want to be mainstream and go where all students go.

Caffe Paradiso is a great destination to bring your parents when they’re visiting. It looks a little more upscale – or rather it looks less like a place to run into when you have two minutes to get to your next class. Instead, it is a place you come to really savor a cup of tea made with ingredients you’ve never heard of but somehow taste incredible together. This stop is also a great choice if you’re heading off for a night in the ACES library to get some calm studying in without anyone interrupting you or questioning where that coffee came from.

Now, if you’re drinking at Caribou there’s a good chance you’re just people watching out the window, and if you’re going to the Walnut Street Tea Company, you want to feel ownership of your tea and somehow are one of the people that gets their studying done at home.

A meme entitled “Evolution of a coffee drinker” came up on Facebook the other day which laid out a timeline that went, “1. Four parts creamer one part coffee, 2. Half creamer, half coffee, 3. Black coffee, 4. Black coffee with espresso, 5. Snorting coffee grounds.”

I laughed until I realized that in the year and a half I have been in college, I’ve gone from not drinking coffee to finding myself at step three.  

Wherever you get your coffee, I hope it helps you get through your work. And I really hope none of you will make it to step five.

Hayley is a sophomore in ACES.

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