For the past 3 years, I have frequented both Starbucks and Espresso Royale to get my caffeine fix. As the years have passed, my love for these two institutions has grown to an obsession. I count down the hours, minutes and seconds until I can visit Starbs or Espresso to get my warm cup of caffeinated love. Because my love for these coffee shops has reached an ultimate peak, I decided it was time to discover which one is truly the best. My research is as follows…



Photo by Caroline Pernai

My love for Starbucks goes back to my high school days (ah, the good old days), when everyone sat around with their Frappuccinos and worried about texting their crush. Well not much has changed, except instead of Frappuccinos, we all get our Pumpkin Spice Lattes.

Pro: Holiday Drinks

My obsession with Christmas just got a lot more intense because Starbucks brought back all my favorites, like the Peppermint Mocha and the infamous red cups. Every season Starbucks has their signature drinks that make everybody jump for joy.

Con: Horrible Spelling


Photo by Caroline Pernai

You would think that because I’m named after a pretty famous song (“Sweet Caroline”) my name would be rather easy to spell, but every time I go to Starbs, I get a different variation of my name that I didn’t know existed.

Pro: The App

My Starbucks app allows me to pay without even pulling my wallet out of my bag. Not only that, but I get a free drink for every 12 visits I make to Starbucks. Hello, Starbucks Gold Card.

Con: Long Lines

People watching is always entertaining #chicago

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Warning: There’s always an after class rush. Starbucks is a popular joint, so don’t expect the quick in-and-out coffee.

Pro: The Trenta

If you didn’t know, the size of Starbucks drinks doesn’t stop at the Venti. There is an extra large size called the Trenta…and we all have those days when we need 10 more ounces of caffeine.

Espresso Royale


Photo by Caroline Pernai

Espresso is a new discovery for me. I found these glorious coffee shops only after I started school at University of Illinois and it’s been love ever since.

Pro: $2 Latte Wednesday

If you didn’t know, Espresso has $2 lattes on Wednesday. Any size, just $2. Every coffee addict loves a good deal.

Con: Can’t Connect to the WiFi

As a college student, studying while sitting with your coffee is an important part of life, but a majority of the time the WiFi at Espresso is pretty subpar.

Pro: Par-TEA

If you are a tea lover, Espresso is the place for you. They have an entire wall of different teas that will blow your mind. Whenever I go there I try to venture out of my comfort zone and into the par-tea zone.

#SpoonTip: Use that “par-tea” joke as your pick-up line the next time you visit Espresso. There’s a solid 12% chance that it’ll actually work.

Con: Don’t know what to order


Photo by Caroline Pernai

Unlike Starbucks, the menu at Espresso isn’t as well known. With Espresso being so low-key, I sometimes get flustered when ordering.

#SpoonTip: Order the Spanish Latte or German Chocolate Mocha. They’re both delightfully sweet and guaranteed to keep your energy levels high.

Pro: Open til Midnight

Have you ever been studying for hours and completely forget what time it actually is? That’s when you know you need coffee ASAP. Of course Starbucks is already closed, but have no fears because Espresso Royale stays open until midnight. This place has saved me from a world of painful all-nighters.

Pro: In-House Comfort

Great way to start off my day #coffee and #scones on a bright and sunny morning

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One of the beauties of Espresso’s expansive shops is the ability to drink out of more than just paper cups and sit in chairs that weren’t ordered from IKEA. At Espresso, if you want to relax in the coffeehouse atmosphere, you can sit in a comfy chair with a *real* mug of your favorite coffee and unwind.

And the winner is …

From this list of pros and cons, I have to go with Espresso Royale. This little slice of heaven has saved me from many an all-nighter, it has shown me the beauty of the German Chocolate Mocha and it’s opened my eyes to an entire realm of tea. However, Starbucks does hold a very special place in my heart. So coffee lovers, head out to your favorite coffee shop and drink a latte (get it? latte sounds like lot…okay, I’ll stop now).