Economic Crunch

’Tis the season for coffee and hitting the books

With the end of the semester coming up fast, college students everywhere are feeling the heat and pressure of finals. We decided to give a few local coffee shops a shot to find the best place for students to chill, get a boost of caffeine and buckle down while they work toward success.

JONATHAN GARCIA

COFFEE WAVES

Upon arriving to Coffee Waves on Alameda, finding a spot to park was kind of a chore with the small parking lot they have around the building. On top of that, they have a drive-thru area which parking spots are placed near there making it crowded as it is. After parking in a nearby driveway, I entered the place and immediately I felt good vibes there. They had an outdoor patio, a decent sized seating area making it a great place to study. The vibe of the place gave me a vibe of Corpus Christi’s own version of Central Perk from the TV show “Friends,” which was a positive in my book.

I headed up to the register to order and I was greeted by a slender young man with blue eyes, light brown hair and tattoos on his arms and legs. He was very friendly and made me feel welcome which goes to show never judge a book by its cover. I decided to have the house blend coffee with a blueberry muffin to go alongside it which rang up to $4.72 which is a very reasonable price. I grabbed my muffin and coffee putting some cream in it as well as two Sweet’N Lows in it.

Coffee Waves' house blend proved to pack a punch.
Coffee Waves’ house blend proved to pack a punch.

Once I sat down, I was excited to try their house blend only to be surprised by how strong it tasted. I like my coffee with cream not too sweet, but at the same time not too strong. It took not two, not three, but SIX Sweet’N Lows for me to have it not taste so strong but not too sweet either showing how strong it was. The muffin tasted good, it had only about like two blueberries in it but it wasn’t stale so that was a plus.

The coffee was served fresh, but it tasted a bit too strong for me and took way more than one Sweet’N Low to make it taste right. I should have gotten a latte or another type of coffee, but I do have plans on coming back to the place for its atmosphere and to try another item. I do recommend people who are looking for a nice place to study to go to Coffee Waves on Alameda for the atmosphere. If you like your coffee strong, then the house blend is for you, but for me it wasn’t my cup of Joe.

Rating: 3/5

Price: $4.72

BRITTANY CLARAMUNT

BARNES & NOBLE

After a few yawns at 5 p.m. I knew I needed coffee from Starbucks. The closest one for me is Barnes & Noble, so I got a Tall (small) Caramel Latte and looked around the store for a while. The coffee was warm and tasted great, but it did not kick in quickly as I thought it would. I knew it would take time to kick in, maybe an hour, however by the time I felt the effects was around 8 p.m. Maybe if I added a few shots of espressos to my coffee I may have felt it sooner. The Starbucks in Barnes & Noble is a great place to study (surrounded by books to help) with friendly baristas, but if you need a “pick me up” to keep you awake to study order coffee with espresso.

Rating: 5/5

Price: $3.25

NADIA DIAZ

CAFE CALYPSO

At first walking into Cafe Calypso you would expect it to be stereotypical hipster type place. Surprisingly only a couple of people fit that category (guy with a nose ring and beard). But the place was littered with old and young people alike, but definitely had a mature feeling about it. I didn’t see to many college students studying or having study groups like Coffee Waves would, but more of everyday people taking a break from life or enjoying each other’s company. Just a few of the different people I noticed were two older gentlemen playing chess, a Russian couple sharing a piece of pie, and what I’m assuming was a nurse or doctor sipping her coffee still in scrubs. The semi-full cafe was not overly quiet but people were respectful enough to keep their voices down. After paying for the coffee of the day, Cinnamon Sticky Bun, which did in fact taste like a cinnamon bun but did not completely take away the taste of actual coffee, I choose a seat close the wide window view. It is not a big place so if you really enjoy your privacy there are only a few places to sit as well as several tables outside. A tad pricey when it comes to the coffee but definitely worth those two dollars for a small cup when compared to the cringe-worthy Stripes or Valero’s watery coffee. Avid coffee drinkers will enjoy the many kinds of coffees featured and of course one of the best parts of the place is that it is directly connected to Half Price Book Store. So if you want to grab a book and then grab a coffee, or if you want to grab a coffee and browse some books they encourage you to do so. I’m not too sure if everybody in here actually seemed interesting or the caffeine was getting to me but I enjoyed the coffee and the place itself and will be going back. It’s a refreshing change compared to Starbucks, in my opinion having a more authentic feel about it. If you enjoy coffee, people, books that’s a bit different Cafe Calypso is your kind of place.

Rating: 4/5

Price: $1.87

ADRIANA KING

MCDONALD’S

It was a brisk afternoon when I was met with a troublesome dilemna. Fatigue hit me like a ton of bricks and my wallet was practically empty. Still, the idea of a cup of joe was calling out to me. I needed a cup of coffee at a price I could afford, so McDonald’s was the obvious choice.

Hey, coffee is coffee, right?

The McDonald’s atmosphere is decent; there were kids sitting at tables and a nice, but clearly bored, cashier ready to take my order.

I just ordered a large French vanilla iced coffee, because frankly, when I go to any other coffee shop, that’s what I get and I needed to see how McDonald’s stacked up.

Although there actually wasn’t that much ice, the coffee was the freaking bomb.com and I would definitely go back to get it again and again. You could definitely taste strong coffee flavors, but the vanilla flavor made it much more appealing to me. It was a clear and quick boost, plus, there was plenty of coffee for the price I paid.

As someone who enjoys a bustling environment and can focus in just about any setting, I would even consider making a trip to the location near my house to get a drink and hit the books.

Rating: 5/5

Price: $2.07

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