Announcing the Bwog Coffee Showdown!

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Most Columbia students face a familiar quandary during their late night study sessions, or before heading to class in a particularly dark and cozy room. You know you need caffeine, but what kind? Is it worth leaving a prime location in Butler to venture into the wilds of Moringside for a cup of Starbucks or Oren’s? With our usual highly scientific methods and stringent standards of journalistic excellence, Bwog has decided to answer these questions once and for all

Methodology: Bwog took a feather out of Joe Lunardi’s cap and constructed our very own bracket, seeded by public opinion. Morningside’s 16 best cups compete with each other in the battlefield of our judgement—a gaggle of freshman staff writers met in between classes. In each of four preliminary editions, four brands face off to determine the Final Four. At that point, we’ll appeal to you, our dear readers, to decide the finalists and champion.

The contenders face off

Round 1: Our highly trained panel of coffee connoisseurs assembled in a top secret corner of campus to blind taste test our four coffees: Crumbs, Brad’s, Oren’s, and Café 212. Oren’s, seeded second, unsurprisingly bested all comers, but Brad’s kept it a close game until the end. The tasters were shocked, however, by the upset victory of Café 212 over Crumbs, which didn’t bring its A-game, and was universally panned. The judges reactions to each cup are included below.

Cup 1 (Crumbs)

  • “color is kind of brackish”
  • “tastes like instant coffee – more water than coffee”
  • “eugh…it’s kind of metal-y”
  • “yeah, this is nothing. Will not help me through LitHum”

Cup 2 (Brad’s)

  • “smells like a dark roast”
  • “I would say that it’s nutty, but no caramel sweetness”
  • “a little bit bitter”
  • “fuller than #1”
  • “the aroma is like a cottage”
  • “very strong, but kind of a weird metallic aftertaste”
  • “leaves something to be desired”

Cup 3 (Oren’s)

  • “definitely the richest taste so far”
  • “not too bitter, but a much earthier flavor”
  • “more depth and substance”
  • “very acidic, much more full-bodied, more complex”
  • “there’s a nutty note to the aroma”

Cup 4 (Café 212)

  • “kind of bad actually, reminds me of bad instant coffee”
  • “more like #1, really no flavor to it”
  • “weird foam around the edges”
  • “goes down smooth but has no character”
  • “very flat but not unpleasant aroma”
  • “sort of fruity but also unpleasantly acidic”
  • “meh”
  • “most suspicious”

Final Rankings:

1. Oren’s

2. Brad’s

3. Café 212

4. Crumbs

(One judge offered a dissenting opinion ranking Brad’s above Oren’s because Oren’s tasted “too flashy”)

Bracket drawings courtesy of Louise McCune

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  1. this is truly awesome  

    bwog. as always, i appreciate the instructions on how to live my (columbia) life to the fullest. good coffee is one BIG piece of that puzzle

  2. Anonymous

    joe, no contest.

  3. What about  

    Liz's Place?!?

  4. Anonymous  

    I heard Nicholas Cage goes to Orens.

  5. Anonymous

    >No Uni Cafe.

    Shit list. Stay pleb, bwog.

  6. Anonymous  

    This is kind of awesome.

  7. anders

    For better or worse, it's also worth keeping in mind that Oren's rotates their drip coffee through all the different beans they sell, so going on two different days will get you two entirely different tasting cups of coffee. Some of their beans (Ethiopian Longberry Harrar!) I absolutely love while others don't do it for me and I'll go elsewhere when I see that they're the coffee of the day.

  8. Anonymous

    See in my opinion its all about the quinic acid level, you want just north of 4800 mg/L....

  9. Anonymous  

    absolute bagels has secretly awesome coffee.

  10. seas guy  

    this would be better if you grouped it by similar location

  11. Efficiency Queen  

    Cart coffee on 116th and also in front of 118th gates get points for convenience! Located on the way to class and a medium is only $1. Caffeine that'll get you to class on time AND get you through class.

  12. Anonymous  

    Oren's. Truly the best, and not pretentious like Joe's. Their cappuccinos are AMAZING.

    And the coffee beans they sell are great - I always get Beowulf, it's what they use for cappuccinos.

  13. An alum

    Does Samad's (that hole-in-the-wall deli between 111 and 112) still serve David's Blend? That stuff is like cocaine. I still pick up a pound every time I'm back in the neighborhood.

  14. This area dosn't have coffee  

    it has 'cute' drinks that try.

  15. Anonymous  

    Did you seriously put three different Starbucks on this list? What a joke...

  16. Anonymous  

    Ham Del coffee is ahmahzing but so is the halal cart at 116th and amsterdam on the Columbia side. It's like sophie's choice on that corner.

  17. ooo  

    I feel like this is going to come down to a really contentious showdown between Joe and Oren's

  18. Anonymous

    what about strokos coffee? i don't get why crumbs is included over strokos... crumbs is too far away to be practical

  19. They may have lost their iPads,  

    but you'll never take their hats. Joe's the shit. Rather cost-effective too when I bring my ungodly massive, over-sized mug in too.

  20. Anonymous

    Brownie's is the best. I actually find it much better than Oren's.

  21. The line at Joe's  

    is like a sampler of fucking purgatory.

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