A good cup of coffee is a vital part of any student’s life, so where can the best cup of joe be found on campus? I’m here to review them, so continue on and find out the best and worst coffee at UEA.
Unio is the destination of my first coffee rendezvous, as it is quite possibly the busiest and most popular coffee dispenser on campus. But does this popularity have a correlation with coffee quality? Let’s find out.
Before this goes any further, it should be mentioned that we’re looking at coffee and only coffee. Other such factors as price, cup size and barista friendliness
will be for another time. We want coffee and anything else is irrelevant when coffee is on our minds.
I sat down with a large latte and let it cool before any tasting was done. It is important not to burn your tongue when you want to fully experience a coffee. The aroma coming out the small plastic drink hole filled the air with sweet bitterness and before long I dived into the coffee with great anticipation. You immediately get a smooth and mellow sensation coating your mouth, but that’s not to the say the coffee isn’t there – it most definitely is. After the coffee and I get fully acquainted with a few more mouthfuls, it becomes apparent the coffee is a slow one, one that demands patience from its drinker; the flavour will be there, you just have to wait a few seconds and savour it. The notes you then get are citrus at the back of your throat followed by a slight burnt taste, but this is certainly not a negative, far from it, it is in fact very pleasant. This coffee is a perfect midday pick-me-up with its subtle and eloquent flavours, one for the philosopher or really anyone who likes a good cup of coffee. Overall, Unio could very well set the bar above and beyond before we’ve even got started, but as we all know there is always more coffee to drink.
Next up is a coffee you can pick up from the Co-op shop. It is a premade iced coffee called ‘Caffè Latte Cappuccino’, which instantly sends alarm bells ringing from the oxymoron of ‘latte cappuccino’. Even before I start drinking this one, I can tell what kind of experience it is going to be by the complete lack of any latte or cappuccino characteristics. There is no frothed up milk or even an attempt to make it. Quite frankly it should be prosecuted for false advertisement. However, despite all this there is still coffee to be tasted, so just maybe it will surprise me and take me to coffee ecstasy. I take a big mouthful of cold coffee and come to the conclusion instantaneously that this is a good drink, if you want a glass of sugary milk followed by an unpleasant, nagging, sickly sweetness at the back of your throat that lasts for far too long. It is reminiscent of when you eat a whole bag of sweets as a child and live to regret it ten minutes later, when it feels like you’re still eating them. The coffee is barely there and on further inspection of the ingredients list it turns out sugar is the third most used ingredient. This is not coffee. It should be avoided at all costs. No further energy shall be spent on even thinking about it.
The last coffee that will be gone through in detail is the well-known Ziggy’s (or Café Direct for older students). After the last atrocity things can only get better, so I sit down again, this time with a nice warm freshly made latte. I’m greeted with a similar scent from that of Unio, which sinks me into my seat and prepares me for a proper coffee. It should be noted that Ziggy’s offers two blends of coffee: a house blend and a gourmet blend. I went for the gourmet blend since I’m here for the finest coffee on offer. As I take a mouthful of bitter brew I’m treated to the strongest coffee so far. It is spicy and sticks to your mouth. There is no waiting with this one unlike Unio. You get notes of spice and fruit almost as if an orange with cloves dug into it is sitting at the bottom of the cup. It certainly has Christmassy characteristics and wakes you up the most just from sheer flavour. This coffee definitely matches that of Unio but it is hard to say whether it beats it. They are both delicious coffee, but on opposite sides of the spectrum. Ultimately it really comes down to whether you’re a smooth, relaxed coffee drinker or a thrill seeking, energetic coffee drinker with little time to spare. Either way there are two great coffees to be had so far.
Lastly, the other places to get coffee at UEA will be quickly marched through before finally getting the opinions of some fellow UEA students to decide the crown. The Blend: machine coffee, self serve, lacking everywhere, avoid. Sainsbury Centre Café: smooth, lacking in flavour, creamy, probably for some people but not me. TEC Building Café: good, strong, pretty enjoyable, I prefer Ziggy’s.
Now it’s time for fellow students to give their opinion:
Francesca, third year: “I think Unio has the best coffee, it tastes smooth, it’s not too strong but it isn’t weak either.”
Emma, third year: “I like Unio even though I never pay attention to the coffee, really, but it’s always the place I go so it must be my favourite.”
Ben, second year: “Ziggy’s is my go to place. Whenever I’m working I always take a break and grab a coffee from there. It never fails to wake me up.”
There it is then. Unio this time around has been crowned the best place to get coffee at UEA with Ziggy’s coming in a close second. Now for the worst and you’ve guessed it… the Co-op shop coffee with the Blend fighting it for the title.