Regardless of whether you’re a coffee drinker, there’s no denying that this caffeinated beverage is the lifeblood of many a college student. Though there are a variety of places on campus to get your caffeine fix, certain locations are superior to others. In an effort to mitigate at least some of the confusion that is characteristic of freshman year, here is a fairly definitive ranking of the coffee spots at Wes.
5. Usdan Café/Marketplace
Both the Marketplace and Café at Usdan offer Pierce Bros coffee, and Usdan Café serves a house blend while the upstairs Marketplace dining hall serves its Marketplace blend. The coffee at these locations is pretty terrible; I often find that it’s either cold when it’s supposed to be hot, or it’s just not there at all (which is probably better). You might as well make the trek across campus to Pi.
In case you didn’t already know, Summerfields (or Summies for short) is Wesleyan’s second dining hall on campus. Located in the Butts, it serves its own Pierce Bros Summerfields blend in addition to its hazelnut flavor, which are both equally as awful as the coffee at Usdan.
3. Pi Cafe
If you’re a math/science nerd, you’ll often find yourself heading to classes in Exley Science Center. Located inside Exley and across the street from Weshop, Pi Cafe is easily the most convenient place to get coffee before or after an NSM lecture. It’s also a convenient place to get coffee during one of your lectures if you ever catch yourself snoring and/or drooling all over your notes. And as far as the coffee itself goes, Pi Cafe offers Pierce Bros year-round signature blends like Black Bear (a combination of dark Honduran, medium Sumatra, and dark Nicaraguan coffee) and dark-roast Fogbuster. The café also offers seasonal flavors such as pumpkin spice in the fall and eggnog right before the holidays. Overall, Pi Cafe is one of the more decent places to get caffeinated on campus.
Perhaps the most unique coffee spot on campus can be found on the lower level of Allbritton. Espwesso is a student-run joint with hours that are as crazy as its name, and it currently operates on weeknights between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. The cafe has no faculty supervisor and operates independently of Bon Appétit, so it receives its coffee from a different roaster in Rhode Island called New Harvest.
“We spent a lot of time actually researching which roaster to go with,” said Jasmine Masand ’15, general manager of Espwesso. “Thinking about coffee and social justice, [New Harvest] goes across the world a couple times a year and works directly with the farmers that they’re getting their beans from.”
Because the coffee at Espwesso isn’t purchased in bulk, the quality of the brew is significantly higher than what you would find at most other campus locations. This might seem like useless news if you’re not a fan of caffeine at night, but don’t despair yet. There’s talk of extended hours at Espwesso, which would likely have the cafe doing business in the early afternoon in addition to its standard nighttime shift.
1. Red & Black Café
Located inside Broad Street Books, Red & Black Café is the best place for coffee at Wes in terms of overall taste. Though it may seem like a long walk from campus, your reward at the end will be well worth those few extra steps. Offering flavors ranging from French roast to French toast, the coffee is always hot and always reliable. Plus you’ll definitely need that extra boost when you have to make your way back up hilly William Street.