December 2, 2014, by Tilly Potter
Caffeine on campus II: in hot pursuit of coffee
I was delighted to be given the excuse to review more coffee, this time on Jubilee and Sutton Bonington campuses. This was new territory for me, so for the first time I boarded a hopper bus, initially for Jubilee campus. I must have been pretty lucky as I got a seat – beginner’s luck, maybe?
I decided to condense my visits into one afternoon for each campus. Safe to say it definitely satisfied any coffee and cake cravings for a while.
Anyway, lets get down to business. The first stop on my tour was the Library cafe, Business School South. That is, it was, until I came across this joyous contraption:
Naturally, I decided to give it a go. After working out how to use it (note the lengthy instruction panel on the left) and once enough time had elapsed to have undergone barista training, I finally had my ‘vanilla latte’. It tasted a little like cardboard, but I think I lost some flavour by not having the cup fully underneath the vendor (clearly this was all just way too complicated for me), but I’ve definitely had worse. Verdict: not bad for £1.50.
The actual business library cafe served Starbucks, although I was informed they were changing to a Costa next term. However, it did its own cheaper cakes and some sandwiches. I had a piece of chocolate tiffin which definitely got the thumbs up!
Next stop was Cafe Aspire in the Amenities building. They seemed to do lots of tasty looking lunch items. They also had a list of hot drinks longer than my arm. I decided to go for a hot chocolate this time, which I thought was alright for £1.40, although not very rich (this was probably a good thing under the circumstances, though!). I was intrigued by a label advertising ‘banoffee tulip’ muffins. Does this refer to their shape? Or do they actually taste like tulips? If so, what does a tulip taste like? I clearly need to brush up on my cake vocabulary. On another note, I thought the ‘space age’ style chairs were pretty cool.
I decided to interrupt my trip with a quick visit to the SU shop in the Exchange building. I loved the colourful array of foods from abroad, such as the shelves full of noodles and American sweets. As this was a day of new things, I thought I’d be brave and try some Hershey’s chocolate, of which I’d heard dubious things. If you too are tempted to try this substance, please don’t. Any chocolate that contains ‘artificial flavor’ and a strange substance called ‘PGPR’ which I’m too scared to Google in case it tells me I’ll turn into an alien is not a good thing.
Cafe Terrazzo next door appeared to do similar cakes to the Business Library cafe. It also serves hot lunches, and coffees with syrup – clearly Jubilee’s speciality.
My final stop was Starbucks. Yes, I know I’d been mean about Starbucks in my first post, but I must admit it did look rather warm and inviting whilst huddled in the cold and rain. I thought I’d brave their ‘Christmas blend’ filter coffee. When I asked the barista what the difference between this and their regular coffee was, he said it was ‘more spicy and full bodied’. I’m afraid I wasn’t convinced. I may have got a hint of ‘spice’, but I think that might have been the cranberry and orange cookie. In fact, I’m not sure it even tasted of coffee. Sorry Starbucks.
I enjoyed my scenic journey through the country to Sutton Bonington – it was almost like being back home in the Cotswolds! I did feel pretty lost on the way there though, so I brought up google maps to ease my mind.
My trip was brief, as SB only has one cafe (to my knowledge), although the lady who served me said they were opening a second one next year. I thought the lack of outlets was made up for by the array of cakes on offer: just look at these!
After much deliberation I opted for one of the muffins and a mocha. They were both delicious and really good value. I’d not heard of the brand of coffee they were promoting but I’d definitely try it again – it’s just a shame it’s so far away!
So to conclude, more coffee shops does not mean better coffee. And fewer outlets equates to saving me from a caffeine and sugar induced high. I’d call that a win for Sutton Bonington.
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