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