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Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024
The Observer

Don’t talk to me before I’ve had my morning coffee

The basis of this Inside column started about 10 months ago. As I walked to the back of our lovely office and fired up the Keurig once more at about 4 a.m. This was of course, during the insanity of the Brian Kelly exit and ensuing chaos, which led to…more than one all-nighter. That particular Thursday night/Friday morning, we were working on a final timeline of everything that had happened in the past week, and with that monster project due, plus an actual academic project due at 11 a.m., it was a big night for coffee.

The beauties of student journalism, am I right? But the point of this column, written on a rare day following eight hours of sleep, is not to recount the cups of coffee consumed in a desperate effort to stay awake. Rather, it is to rank my coffee-drinking experiences on campus over the last 3+ years. Much of this ranking will be based on my extremely objective and correct ranking of coffee quality, but also, and certainly rather unfairly, some will be judged on the context in which it was consumed. So sorry to any coffee I consumed in the ungodly hours of 3 a.m. in the library – you won’t rank high. Here's the list, ranked worst to best.

South Dining Hall

It’s hot…some of the times. And it’s not good…most of the time. Anyways, onto the next.

Chick Fil A

I am not here to slander Chick Fil A’s sauce. However, I will slander their coffee. It’s easily the worst coffee I’ve purchased with flex points and it’s not close. I’ve gotten it twice, once with sweetener and once without. Neither saves it.  

Bottled Dunkin Coffee from the Huddle

Part of this ranking is contextual. I really have only gotten these during late night Hesburgh grinds when a 3 or 4 a.m. bedtime was inevitable. But they’re not great and extremely sugary, which just isn’t my taste in coffee. So I avoid these in most cases.

Common Grounds Coffee

Why hasn’t this reopened? I would like an answer. The convenience factor raises this simple coffee cart way up the list. Although they didn’t have iced coffee, which is my favorite, they had well-made hot coffee with a variety of blends and creamer options. Situated right in DeBart, it was a perfect pick-me-up in the middle of a long day of classes.

Einstein’s Coffee

RIP Einsteins. My freshman year place of employment is of course no longer located in the bookstore. Einstein’s was my main freshman year coffee. My location in Baumer made it a convenient stopping point en route to class. It had a nice selection of hot and iced coffee and their frozen caramel coffee was a fantastic dessert option.


I don’t mean to offend the cult-like following of Starbucks, but this only ranks third on my list. It’s good, but it’s not special. I’m also a lifelong Dunkin kid, so Starbucks has always ranked second on my list. Plus it sucks up flex points whenever I do order it, and it’s not conveniently located to any of my classes, so I rarely order it.


ABP’s value is off the charts. I don’t know the exact size of the large iced coffee there, but you can fill that sucker up for a touch over three dollars, and it will last me two classes, easily. That’s a great deal and it’s location in Hesburgh is convenient to grab as a coffee during extended studying efforts. Plus, the hot coffee is really good. Starbucks quality is probably higher, but the value I get from ABP is borderline unmatched.

Hagerty Family Cafe

Dating back to Accepted Student’s Day, Hagerty was my first cup of coffee on campus. Their standard hot coffee offering is great, but I love their cold brew. Plus, for those who are fans of seasonal coffee, Hagerty’s various lattes, (I can personally vouch for the apple crisp latte), absolutely slap. No questions asked. Plus, the location in Duncan Student Center is incredibly convenient for me to grab between classes. Members of my 11 a.m. Digital Marketing class this semester could certainly vouch for the sheer number of times I’ve come to class with a cold brew from Hagerty.

That’s the list. I’ve settled into my coffee drinking routine (plus or minus a few a day, depending on my schedule) but hopefully this might inform your choices as well. Although I’d recommend avoiding the 4 a.m. McDonald’s K-Cup…9 out of 10 doctors say this reflects remarkably bad things about your current sleep schedule.

You can contact Aidan at

The views expressed in this Inside column are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Observer.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.