I’m not ashamed to say that I couldn’t get by without coffee. That beautiful, delicious elixir offers me a compelling reason to get out of my cozy bed in the morning, has helped me avoid potential catastrophes (like falling asleep on my keyboard in the middle of a research paper) and is probably the only reason that I’m not a complete horror to deal with. Some might say that two cups every time I go to the Deece is excessive, but we all have our vices—and besides, I only drink half-caf after 10 p.m.
Moreover, coffee for me is a symbol of home and all the comforts that come with it, which I’ve been lucky enough to indulge in this past spring break. When I’m at my parents’ house, I start every morning with a fresh cup of French press coffee, ground, brewed and served by my fellow coffee snob father. Vassar coffee just doesn’t measure up to this luxurious method of caffeine delivery, but I’ve come to appreciate it nonetheless.
Here, I offer my expert opinion on the various coffees available on and around campus, so that you may make an informed choice on the cup of joe that’s best for you.
- Express coffee. Getting coffee from Express is like shopping at the Gap, reading the local newspaper of your rural hometown or getting drunk in the same person’s dorm room every weekend: It’s reliable and effective, but not particularly thrilling. Express coffee comes in a wide range of two flavors (regular and decaf), and it’s usually just about the right temperature so that it’s drinkable by the time you make it from Main to your classroom. Despite its dullness and the fact that it replaced my first true love, UpC, I am endlessly thankful for the convenience of Express and would recommend its coffee without reservation.
- Retreat coffee. It’s rare that I get coffee at the Retreat, since that flavor doesn’t pair particularly well with soy sauce and raw fish. However, I’m fairly sure that it’s the same as Express coffee but with more options; there’s vanilla, which is kind of wack but works in a pinch, and there’s iced coffee, which I sometimes can’t resist even though the ice machine is usually broken and it tastes like slightly chilled dishwater.
- Deece coffee. It’s always a surprise with coffee from the Deece. Depending on how recently the coffee was brewed, you might get a boiling hot cuppa with a healthy serving of stray coffee grounds, or you might be faced with an experience as lukewarm as last night’s Tinder date. What’s more, the Deece is replete with confusing and frightening coffee flavors like “Lover’s Leap” and “Cookie Doodle,” which honestly aren’t that gross and are usually available even if all the regular urns are empty. In the end, we all know that quantity matters more than quality, and slurping three cups in an hour while banging out a Moodle post is a quintessential Vassar experience.
- Bridge coffee. As a humanities major, I’m only in the Bridge when I’m passing through on my way to Skinner, so I can’t speak on this one. I imagine that Bridge coffee is similar to the building itself: sleek, modern, classy and aesthetically pleasing, with just a hint of danger (remember those rumors about the Bridge sinking into the ground?).
- Matthew’s Bean coffee. Given that the Bean is staffed by students and everyone has a slightly different way of making a latte or a cappuccino, it’s probably the least reliable option, but also the best experience, because it’s cozy and you get to see your friends who work there. Unfortunately, I can’t offer a personal take; my love affair with the library waned after freshman year, and I now do most of my work from the Deece or from my bed, wrapped up in my blankets while whining on the phone to my mom.
- Crafted Kup coffee. It’s basically the nectar of the gods. Stay away unless you want your Arlington Bucks to go down the drain faster than your motivation during finals week.
Fellow lovers of the magic bean, go forth and caffeinate—and if you see me around campus clutching my travel mug, feel free to say hello and ask what I’m sipping.