College Students Thrive on Coffee at Concordia

Kayla McCloud

On every college campus, coffee can be viewed as a necessity. 

CUC’s campus has two locations to purchase coffee: the Cougar Den and the library cafe. The Cougar Den features a full Starbucks menu, giving students a variety of options such as frappuccinos, macchiatos, and regular hot and iced coffees. The library cafe, on the other hand, features a selection of bottled and canned coffee drinks, as well as generic hot coffee. 

In addition to these on-campus coffee options, there are several other coffee shops in the River Forest and Oak Park area that provide college students with their needed caffeine boost. In the vicinity of campus, students can buy coffee from 7-Eleven, Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, and a handful of local roasters in Oak Park such as L!ve Cafe, Fairgrounds Coffee & Tea, and Courageous Bakery & Cafe. 

Students often find themselves debating whether their preferred coffee comes from Starbucks or Dunkin. These two chains seem to be the most popular choices among students and are both close to campus. There is a Starbucks located on campus in the Cougar Den, but there is no Dunkin on campus. Rather, students can find Dunkin locations both north and south of school on Harlem Ave.

In a walk-by survey completed on April 26 with students and staff around Concordia’s campus, there seemed to be a close debate between preference on Starbucks and Dunkin with Dunkin ultimately winning 21 to 19 votes. When initially asking people around campus, it appeared as though there was a correlation between younger people preferring Dunkin. Of the 40 people questioned, the first 12 votes for Dunkin came from students, whereas the first nine votes for Starbucks came from staff or faculty members. After these first 21 votes, the seemingly similar viewpoints didn’t match up quite as well. The next 19 votes varied, with an increasing number of students preferring Starbucks. 

Many people who preferred Starbucks said that it had a better ambiance and the coffee isn’t as sweet, whereas people who prefer Dunkin often attributed it to the fact that it is cheaper and has better food. “Dunkin is cheaper and it honestly just tastes better,” said Lisa Lubben, CUC student. “I think it’s sweeter, so it’s less harsh.” 

In contrast, head women’s basketball coach Lauren Martin put in her vote for Starbucks. “I think their coffee houses are quieter and they play better music, rather than the loud sounds at Dunkin,” said Martin. She also backed up her opinion by saying that she prefers Starbucks’s dark roast and double shot because Dunkin’s coffee is too sweet and sugary. When comparing food at both places Martin said, “My kids love the cake pops at Starbucks, but I go to Dunkin for donuts because it’s cheaper than the cake pops.”

Although these two chain coffee places provoke an intense debate between those who enjoy it, many students note that they’re thankful for having a Starbucks located on campus. The on-campus Starbucks expanded two years ago when the school upgraded the Cougar Den’s food services to accommodate larger numbers of students. “My freshman and sophomore year there wasn’t a full Starbucks like there is now,” said former CUC student Annika Rae. “They had a Starbucks sign hanging up, but you could only get hot and iced coffee from there. There were no specialty drinks or anything like that.”  

While the population at Concordia has a divided opinion on which major chain provides better coffee, the general consensus is that everyone is glad to have multiple options on campus to get their daily caffeine.