Top spots for coffee stops; Students are keen on their favorite coffee bean


By Christen McGlynn

Whether students at the University are cramming for an exam, struggling through a long day of classes after a night out or simply trying to wake up, they usually turn to the one thing that has the perfect amount of caffeine — coffee.  With a variety of options available on campus, how is one to choose? 

After surveying multiple students, the main factors when choosing a go-to coffee shop are location, taste and availability. Here at the University, coffee is readily available on almost every corner. Therefore, the search for the favorite student cup of java was narrowed down to restaurants and cafes within a three block radius of the main Quad.

With eight locations in Champaign-Urbana, students agree that Espresso Royale definitely deserves a top ranking when it comes to best coffee shops. KD Madden, sophomore in AHS, said her favorite spot is the Espresso Royale in the Undergraduate Library because of its convenience. Studying at the UGL becomes a lot easier when the best-tasting iced hazelnut coffee is only a couple feet away, she said. Dominick Sperando, junior in ACES, agrees that the location of the Espresso Royale is what makes it a favorite for him.

“It’s really what keeps me going,” Sperando said.

Location seems to play a very large role for students when they are looking for a quick caffeine fix, even over flavor. Nolan Kmiec, sophomore in Media, said she actually prefers the taste of Starbucks coffee. However, she is currently a resident in Urbana which makes the Espresso Royale on Goodwin Avenue much more convenient when she is in a rush. Espresso Royale is not only locally ideal for students, but it comes with both weekly and seasonal perks. 

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    Flock cards can be acquired by patrons at any time, which allow for a free drink after ten have been purchased. Also, they offer daily deals such as $2.25 lattes every Wednesday. Their menu changes with the seasons as well, such as Irish teas for St. Patrick’s Day, pumpkin lattes for Halloween and a special peppermint mocha for Christmas.

    However, Espresso Royale is not the only coffee shop on campus that offers a seasonal menu and rewards. With new adjustments to campus, the University has welcomed another Starbucks onto campus in the Illini Union Bookstore. Anna Healy, junior in Education, said this new arrival has definitely become her new go-to spot to get her iced green tea. 

    With her current residence at the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority house (which is directly across the street from the Illini Union Bookstore), it is the most convenient spot on campus that offers her favorite drinks. Starbucks also offers a rewards card that allows patrons a free drink after earning 30 points and a free drink of choice on the card owner’s birthday.

    To seal the final spot for the top three ranking at the University, students who were surveyed agreed the spot belongs to Dunkin Donuts, located on 607 Green St. Stephanie Flowers, junior in LAS, said it is the best and cheapest place to get her extra-large coffee with only cream. Dunkin Donuts is always available for her study-time needs because it opens at 5 a.m., a time unusual for most coffee shops. Also, Dunkin Donuts is one of the few prominent coffee shops from her home town. Therefore, her family sends her gift cards which are an added bonus, she said.

    Kamil Bajan, sophomore in LAS, believes the simplicity of Dunkin Donuts is what makes it a top contender. 

    “I like coffee and nothing else, so why complicate things?” he said.

    With rewards, seasonal drinks and early hours, Espresso Royale, Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts seem to be the top choices for University students. Students looking for more options when searching for the perfect coffee bean can also try:

    – Café Paradiso: 801 S. Lincoln Ave, Urbana

    – Café Kopi: 109 N. Walnut St., Downtown Champaign

    – Aroma Cafe: 118 N. Neil St., Downtown Champaign

    – Caribou Coffee: 331 E. Stoughton St, Champaign

    – Art Mart: 127 Lincoln Square, Urbana’s Lincoln Square Mall

    – Bevande Coffee: 201 N. Goodwin Ave, Urbana

    – Cocomero: 709 S. Wright St., Champaign

    – Flying Machine Coffee: 208 W. Main, Urbana

    Christen can be reached at [email protected].