Spill the Beans: A Guide to MacEwan Coffee

by on Nov 20th, 2018

Welcome (back) to MacEwan University. Here you will learn that coffee (or tea) is the lifeblood of students. Functioning without the daily jolt can be challenging. This blog is going to give you the pros and cons of many of the coffee spots on campus so you can establish your loyalties to your preferred cup o’ joe early.

Tim Hortons – Building 6 and 8

The building six Tim’s is one of the first coffee places people see when they arrive on campus. If you come in through the clock tower doors, you’re only seconds away from it. If you find yourself zombie-walking when you get to campus, it’s a great place to go. The biggest problem with this location is the line. IT IS SO LONG, and they can get backed up if people are ordering food along with their caffeinator of choice.
The building eight line-ups aren’t much better, mostly because everyone who thinks the line in building six is too long goes to building eight, and there are a lot of coffee drinkers on campus.

Though, that’s not to say that these locations are not worth going to. This is Tim Hortons we’re talking about so you always know what you’re getting. They don’t have any dairy free options for cream and the food options for anyone with dietary restrictions on gluten and diary are few and far between. But again, it is Tim Hortons.

WHEN TO GO HERE:

You’re going to notice that during peak hours (8 – 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) it’s best to avoid the Tim’s. They are not usually the best option when you have a 10-minute break and need your caffeine fix, but if you’re close then it’s worth checking.

Lines – Often long, moves slower than molasses when people order food 2/5

Coffee – Tim’s coffee, what’s not to like? 4/5

Extras – So much to pick from, but it’s all fast-foody! 4/5

Price – One of the cheapest on campus! 5/5

Score –  4/5

Starbucks – Building 6

The home of specialty lattés and misspelled names. This particular location is also victim to uncanny lines at peak hours, however, it usually moves very quickly. This is likely because their food options are mostly quick snacks or pre-made sandwiches. It is possible to grab your coffee and a snack here during a 10-minute break… usually. If it isn’t, you probably won’t figure it out until you’ve already paid and are waiting for your items.

Starbucks biggest flaw is their pricing. A grande (16 oz.) black coffee at Starbucks is $0.70 more than a large at Tim’s (20 oz.) or a medium at Campus Convenience (16 oz.). Pocket that and every 3 days you can get another coffee somewhere else plus have a few pennies to spare. That being said Starbucks also has a rewards program that is good for at least a few free cups of coffee a year, including one on your birthday.

WHEN TO GO HERE:

If you can live without your venti iced skinny hazelnut macchiato, sugar-free, extra shot, light ice, no whip, then you can probably go anywhere else for coffee during peak hours. The line does move pretty quickly so that is a bonus. Plus, Starbucks has the most alternatives to milk for those who are lactose intolerant.

Lines – Often long, but it moves quick 3.5/5

Coffee – Choices galore and so many alternatives to milk! 5/5

Extras –The available extras are good, but the overall choice is just ok. Which is fine because we wanted coffee anyways. 3.5/5

Price – A decent rewards program minimally offsets how expensive the coffee is. 3/5

Score –  4/5

Campus Convenience – Building 6

Campus Convenience is the fastest and one of the most cost-effective places on campus to get coffee. The lines are usually short and since it’s a retail store the line moves quickly. If you just want your coffee as quickly as possible and relatively cheap then this is the place to get coffee pretty much exclusively. As a bonus, Campus Convenience recently started offering a punch card to students offering the 10th coffee purchased for free.

The coffee brand here is Doi Chang, which is a fair-trade and organic coffee. Despite the regular coffee being comparable to others you can get on campus, their Hardwired blend (their dark roast) has a distinct burnt flavour to it (mmmm burnt). For non-dairy cream options, you can buy almond milk separate but that is the extent of their milk alternatives.

If you’re here for the extras, Campus Convenience does have a great selection of snacks and drinks for making it through the three hour classes that seem to drag on forever. They even have some meal options like prepackaged sandwiches and salads.

WHEN TO GO HERE:

Whenever you want! You’re always going to be able to get a cup of coffee and a snack quickly so there’s no reason to not get your coffee here at any time of day.

Lines – Almost always short, and when it’s not it moves quick 4/5

Coffee – It’s not the best, but faaaar from the worst. 4/5

Extras – It’s a convenience store. So there are options! 4/5

Price – Only a little more expensive than Tim’s, but you get the benefit of a short line. Plus, they have a punch card. 4/5

Score –  4/5

The Bean’s List – Building 5

The Bean’s List is building 5’s best kept secret. At worst the line is never longer than a 20-minute wait —at the very least it’s never busier than Building 6 coffee shops— and they have an extensive selection of coffee, tea and meal items. If you have an 8 a.m. class, or if you’re looking for lunch in a pinch in building 5, then this is likely going to be the most convenient place to grab-and-go.

If you aren’t in building 5, then The Bean’s List may not always be worth the trip. The coffee is good, but no better than any of the other options, and the price is comparable to Starbucks. Plus, you have to walk ALL THE WAY to building 5. At 7:30 a.m. who wants to be walking that far?

The biggest issue with The Bean’s List? The food is hit and miss. Their pastries and bagels are comparable to those at Tim’s, but their prepackaged sandwiches leave a lot to be desired. For the price, you may want to consider other options. They do have extensive food options though, which is a bonus.

WHEN TO GO HERE:

The Bean’s List is the best place to go if you need coffee in a pinch and feel like walking to building 5, if you are already in building 5 or if you need a quick snack but don’t want what Campus Convenience is selling. Best time to go here is when every other coffee shop is busy.

Lines – Almost always short, but when it’s not it can take a while to get through. 4/5

Coffee – The Bean’s List offers Transcend coffee, which is pretty good. 4/5

Extras – Average pre-made sandwiches, but the rest is good.  3/5

Price – Very comparable to Starbucks. 3/5

Score –  3.5/5