Showdown: Coffee on Campus

At RIT, there seems to be some degree of competition with everything we do. From soap box derbies to athletics to comparing grades with a friend in class, most of our extracurricular and even curricular activities have a spirit of competition naturally built into them, whether it’s intended to or not. As a resident coffee junkie at Reporter and über competitive person in general, who else would be as qualified to give their expert (and subjective) opinion on the coffees of RIT and rank them accordingly?

The Contestants

Java Wally’s

My personal favorite from Java’s has to be “Shot in the Dark”, a blend of espresso and hot chocolate, a flavor combination my taste buds beg for on a regular basis. The “Chocolate Sitch” is a nice alternate choice for warmer weather. Rumor has it that the “Terrapin” is delicious, though the baristas have mentioned that it is pretty time-consuming to make, meaning it wouldn’t be a wise choice for a quick coffee fix on your way to class. You should also probably leave some sort of a tip for their efforts. The cost for most of the coffee-based choices run from about $2 to $4, with a small regular coffee costing $1.50. If you’re planning on buying a cup of coffee on campus every morning anyway, it isn’t a bad price.

Beanz / College Grind

Their coffee is better than what I make, but not the absolute best value on campus since they’re competing with the likes of Java Wally’s. While I can get my chocolate and coffee fix simultaneously, I prefer Starbucks coffee (served at College Grind) to Spot coffee (served at Beanz). Still, it’s not worth the price — which is roughly the same price as the coffee found at Crossroads — when you consider what you’re getting.

At Beanz and College Grind, the Freshen Smoothies reign supreme in the taste category. Made with frozen fruit and ice, these smoothies are easily the healthiest prepared beverage on campus (aside from dropping a tea bag in some hot water or filling up your water bottle). Whenever I go to Beanz or College Grind, I always get a smoothie. But the only time I walk past Beanz is when I am craving coffee and real food, in which case I go to Gracies. Similarly, when I go past the College Grind I am usually fixated on eating a pasta toss with a ton of alfredo sauce upstairs at Commons.


The taste of the coffee is comparable to Starbucks, which is to say rich and sweet thanks to the quality coffee beans and the blissfully excessive whipped cream toppings. Since I like the combination of chocolate and coffee and will only purchase Starbucks beverages with both of these components, I tend to get the Peppermint Mocha Twist, hot or iced depending on both weather and availability. With bittersweet chocolate, dark chocolate, coffee, and peppermint, this shop is coffee heaven. It’s one of my favorite treats when I’m feeling like indulging my intense sweet tooth, but this would definitely be a bad choice for an everyday purchase due to both price and the nutritional value (or lack thereof).

RITz / Brick City Café / Gracies / anywhere else that serves coffee


The best hot coffee on campus goes to