There are few things better in this world than the taste of a strong cup of coffee. A purist and a snob, I swear by traditional black coffee. One thing you learn when you cut out all sweeteners and other add-ons is that not all coffees taste the same. Many are good, few are great, and some are just plain awful. After spending three years making bold claims like "Vondy has trash coffee," or "ABP coffee tastes like water," I decided to do a blind taste test of the six major campus coffee shops on campus to see if I actually could taste a difference. Here's what went down.

Meet The Samples

Kristen Siegel

Vondy: A coffee that nobody claims to like, but everybody ends up drinking. It's cheap, and its location in Perkins makes it convenient for your mid-paper-crisis cup of coffee.

Cafe: Essentially Vondy, except that it's in West Union - excuse me, the Broadhead Center - so, in theory, that makes it fancier? Cafe coffee is great if you need to kill 15 minutes because, no matter what you order, it will take that long.

Beyu: Large prices, small cup sizes, but hey it's food points so who cares? It's no JVG, but admittedly I go to Beyu so often that the baristas know my order there. 

Bella: AKA the place you walk through on your way to get a grilled cheese from Pitchforks. Bella's the place to go if you want to avoid the rush of the more mainstream coffee shops or if you live in the distant land known as Edens Quad.

Twinnie's: Twinnie's is the only reason I, a non-engineer, would ever make the hike to E-Quad. Twinnie's not only brews Starbucks coffee, it's also a good 50 cents cheaper than Vondy, making it well worth the adventure into Coding World. 

ABP: ABP coffee lost its appeal after the staff finally got wise and stopped leaving the cups next to the machines, forcing students to actually pay for their coffee-flavored water. 

The Method

Kristen Siegel

For this experiment, I bought a small cup of black coffee from each of the six major campus coffee shops. After bringing them back to our highly scientific laboratory of West Union, my stellar assistants poured a small sample of each into a dixie cup. My task was to identify which coffee was which based off of taste/smell. 

Once the samples were ready, I went down the line, sampling each coffee and recording my guess of where it was from. Once I'd tasted all of them, I also selected which I thought was the best of the six coffees.

How Did I Do?

Kristen Siegel

In the first round of testing, I didn't do so hot. Out of the six, I correctly identified ABP (I'd know that watery taste anywhere) and Cafe on the first try. That left four coffees for the second round of tasting. Maybe my tastebuds just weren't warmed up enough for the first round, because in Round Two, I went four-for-four on the remaining coffees. My theory was at least partially confirmed: even though Cafe and Vondy use the same beans, I was able to distinguish which campus coffee was which. 

Much to my surprise, the coffee that I blindly chose as the "best" was from Twinnie's. Hate on corporate America all you want, Starbucks beans prove to be unbeatable once again. 

Final Thoughts

Though the greater implications of this groundbreaking study are still undetermined, my Pepsi Challenge made me feel justified in asserting that certain campus coffees are better than others. In the meantime, Twinnie's is about to get a new frequent customer.