Tag Archives: coffee

‘Tis the Season for Pumpkin: Lattes, M&M’s and More

As we say goodbye to San Francisco’s Indian summer, Starbucks welcomes the return of fall with their popular Pumpkin Spice Latte — also known as PSL to aficionados. Since its debut in 2003, over 200 million Pumpkin Spice Lattes have been sold. The drink has even made its way into social networks with the hashtag #PSL, and has over 3,000 likes on Facebook.

Chev-Vaughn Lum, a sophomore media studies and barista at Starbucks, said, “I think the drink is so popular because of the season. Normally throughout the year you can’t get pumpkin flavored food or drinks because of the low demand for it.”

So what exactly is in a Pumpkin Spice Latte? Well, what it doesn’t have is actual pumpkin. The drink is a concoction of espresso, pumpkin-spice syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and steamed milk, with a pumpkin-spice topping. I wanted to check in on the hype, so I ordered a PSL at the Starbucks on Masonic and Fulton. Needless to say, it did not taste any less autumnal without the pumpkin. I expected the beverage to be very overpowering, but the steamed milk complemented and softened the sharp flavors of the cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. For the health-conscious, a tall 12 oz. is 300 calories. This drink is a great pick-me-up, especially if you’re in need of something to awaken and keep you warm on the way to class.

In the past decade the Pumpkin Spice Latte has been around, pumpkin spice has become the new taste of fall. McDonalds has also put out its own Pumpkin Spice Latte for the competitive price of $2.39 (12 oz.). Many other products have caught on to marketing this flavor. You can now buy pumpkin spice M&M’s, Glade fresheners, and Pringles.

The seasonal beverage is only here until the end of November, or longer while supplies last. The festive drinks don’t stop there. Red cup season — when Starbucks puts out their Christmas holiday drinks — is starting in November.

Best Coffee Shops Near USF

Need a boost  before class?  Give one of these student favorites a try.

    Is Starbucks just not cutting it anymore? Do you need a place to sit down and finish that paper you have been putting off for the past week? Or do you simply want to go out into the magical city of San Francisco and taste all of what it has to offer? Well, look no further! Here is the best coffee in SF: each location is an easy walk or bus ride from campus.

1. Cinderella Bakery and Café – 436 Balboa Street: 

This hidden delicacy is every sweet tooth’s dream. It is only a short walk down Turk Street or a quick ride on the 31. The bakery itself is of Russian origin, so the menu has traditional desserts and pastries in addition to eclectic Russian dishes you could enjoy for lunch or dinner. Among the classic coffee options of lattes, macchiatos, and espresso, Cinderella Bakery also offers Ritual Coffee, a strong drip coffee with a deliciously smokey taste. Originally introduced by the Ritual Coffee Roasters Company, the popular blend has mass produced its way into Cinderella Bakery, and definitely for the better. If you are a bit of a coffee snob (which I admit I am), Ritual Coffee will not disappoint; it has a strong, smooth taste that will easily get you through the day. If you’re not into strong coffee, I would recommend sampling one of the sweeter espresso options, possibly a vanilla latte. It is perfect for people looking for a caffeine boost which also pleases their sweet tooth. You can easily add a pastry or dessert along with your beverage to make it an even sweeter experience.

I recommend: 

Drip Ritual cdoffee with the apricot tart.


2. Coffee to the People – 1206 Masonic Avenue: 

Coffee to the People  is the perfect place to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee, while also watching tourists walking around Haight Street. This coffee shop is spacious with plenty of seating ranging from booths to tables, to comfortable sofas. The beverage menu offers a wide variety of coffee plus smoothies, teas, and sweeter non caffeinated options. They brew fair trade and organic coffee, meaning each farmer in charge of the coffee beans will get an equal amount of profits made by the distribution of the coffee. Coffee to the People serves their own signature drinks – including a mint matcha mocha, which I highly recommend to coffee and chocolate lovers. Their espresso drinks already come with four espresso shots, so simply getting an average latte, iced or hot, will give you the perfect boost to get work done. Plus, there’s free wifi, so studying has never been more easy!

I recommend: 

Iced latte with a cranberry-orange loaf.


3. Flywheel Coffee Roasters – 672 Stanyan Street: 

This sophisticated coffee shop is great for getting some work done while enjoying a cup of coffee. Flywheel Coffee Roasters is a large, spacious coffee shop with plenty of seating inside and outside. The ambience definitely gives off a more serious work vibe, with lots of people swiftly typing on their computers to the calming, background indie music. Possibly the best aspect of this coffee shop is its diverse variety of drip coffee. Flywheel Coffee brews their own blends and sells them based on the month. They offer six drip coffee blends a month. You can see the different blends offered on their website, and each coffee has its own taste for each preference. My personal favorite of this month is the “Kenya KWA Matingi Co-Op” blend, which combines the sweetness of mangoes but also the sharp acidity of lemon. Every drip blend, such as the “Costa Rica Tarrazu” and the “Ethiopian Amaro Guayo,” originates from overseas. They each have their own unique taste. If the immense amount of drip coffee options doesn’t appeal to you, Flywheel also offers espresso options – including lattes, cappuccinos, and matcha. I recommend the cappuccino because it is delicious and has a strong kick.

I recommend: 

Cappuccino with the almond croissant.


4. Blue Danube Coffee House – 306 Clement Street:

On quiet Clement Street, there is a hole-in-the-wall coffee shop full of comfortable couches and studious hipsters. Blue Danube offers a large variety of drinks and food, making it easy for you to spend the whole day studying while also enjoying a nice cup of coffee and some delicious food. The menu has a large assortment of beverages, including Italian soda and hot tea. The most unique option on the menu would be the Mexican hot chocolate with cayenne pepper sprinkled on top. Their most popular item would be the macchiato, one of the espresso options. Another popular and delicious option is a white mocha. However, my personal favorite would be the Vietnamese drip coffee. It is smooth and rich, with a sweet aftertaste. Blue Danube also offers a mint mocha which is perfect for someone looking for a sweeter espresso. Be mindful: this is a cash-only place.

I recommend: 

Vietnamese drip and a double grilled cheese.

Chris and Al's Late Night Coffee – Where Have You Bean?!

Attention caffeine addicts: no need to smuggle in illegal coffee machines into the dorm rooms. Chris and Al’s is a new campus coffee shop that has the solution to late night caffeine hankerings.

The stand sells coffee, tea and light snacks after the Market Café’s operating hours.

For some students, Chris and Al’s is the long awaited savior from sleepy eyes of planners and procrastinators alike looking to get their study on way after the sun sets.

“There’s no one else on campus with coffee open this late. Crossroads is a very comfortable place to study, and there needs to be a place that provides access to coffee to students who want to study this late,” said Grant Lai, junior exercise and sports science student.

Chris and Al’s is the brainchild of students Christian Simon and Alex Fan, and operates out of Crossroads’ counter, selling the same items from the daytime menu. Their plan was propelled by a request on the Market Café’s suggestion board, and a Foghorn article regarding the lack of late night, on-campus coffee spots.
“USF is all about giving back to the community, and that has inspired us to make a change when we see a need, and at the same time, give back to our peers,” said Fan. “We hope the school can see a reflection of their values in us, support us as we continue, and hopefully make Chris and Al’s a permanent late night coffee source long after we graduate.”

The coffee shop opened on Monday after weeks of developing a business strategy with Student Leadership and Engagement, Associated Students of USF, and the Bon Appétit Management Company.

Simon, a junior English major in the 4+3 law program and Fan, a senior business student and ROTC member, is committed to retaining a high GPA in order to work their nocturnal venture.

Simon and Fan are also in discussion with the USF Bookstore to create a student book fund with Chris and Al’s profits. Under this plan, 20 to 25 percent of the shop’s proceeds will be used toward supplying books to a student in financial need, as decided by Federal Student Aid, and One Stop Enrollment and Financial Services.
Chris and Al’s launch drew in hoards of curious customers in search of a late night caffeine fix — the success attributed to their gung-ho attitudes, and sharp attire of white collars and formal ties.

“Chris and Al are really fun. The café’s atmosphere is entertaining, and it’s because they have great personalities and seem to enjoy what they’re doing,” said Emily Bogden, junior psychology student. “I can understand why there are so many ladies in line tonight. They’re not bad looking.”

Simon and Fan started the shop with no experience in the java world. All they had were two nights of training, one of those nights being opening day. Stephen Davidson, co-manager of Crossroads, assisted the duo on Monday to control long lines, help out with drink orders and ensure the night ran smoothly.
“They’re doing really well for their first night. Just look at how busy they are. There’s a constant cycle of customers. Chris and Al are fast learners,” said Davidson on opening night.

Chris and Al’s is still in its testing phase, and their operating days are still in discussion with Bon Appétit. The shop is open between 7:30 p.m. and midnight, and will be open four nights a week, either between Sunday through Wednesday, or Monday through Thursday.

USF's Dire Nocturnal Coffee Shortage

I will be the first to admit my raging coffee addiction.
By the end of last semester, I needed at least three large cups of dark roast to get me through the day. Although I’ve since cut back on my daily coffee dose, I’m still very groggy and unfocused if I’m not adequately caffeinated.
This inability to focus without caffeine is especially a problem when I, like so many other students, have to stay up late in order to meet my daily responsibilities. Inevitably, the fact that there isn’t any coffee on campus after 8 p.m. begins to severely impede upon my work ethic after a certain point in the night. The lack of coffee on campus after such an early hour (early by college student standards) is utterly inexplicable.
Of course, there are a few late-night coffee options off campus, but none of them are particularly convenient or practical. I’m not too fond of having to trek through Laurel Heights around midnight, hoping that I can find a seat at the 24-hour Starbucks, just so I can keep doing my homework or Foghorn assignment.
I know I’m not alone in this problem. If you go to any local place that’s open after the cafeteria closes and serves passable coffee, there is always at least one USF student seeking out a caffeine boost. The symptoms of this problem are very evident on campus, if you look around the library at night, there are a noticeable number of people either glancing despairingly at their emptied coffee cups or suppressing a yawn.
I have absolutely no explanation as to why USF insists on limiting the amount of coffee available on campus. Most students lead incredibly busy lives, trying to balance work, a social life and studying. It seems unreasonable to simply not have something that might help people get their responsibilities done, especially when Bon Appetite has the resources to provide students with coffee past 8 p.m.

The adverse effects of caffeine withdrawals are prone to striking at the latest hours—and at the least convenient times.
Anyone who has been even mildly dependent on caffeine (like me) can recall at least one time when they went too long without their fix and describe the crippling migraines and waves of nausea. Trying to complete assignments and battle the urge to just curl up and focus on not getting sick is an almost impossible battle, but one that is commonplace amongst college students. It’s frustrating to feel like I’m racing against my own dependency on coffee in order to get my homework done, but it’s even more aggravating to know that this problem could easily be fixed if Bon Appetite simply chose to make coffee available in the evening.
USF has at least two options in providing students with coffee; Outtakes, which is open late, and the coffee bar. Outtakes more than likely has the capacity to keep their already existing coffee machine running on a consistent basis, and the coffee bar can surely be kept open later. If the needs of students are held in high regard, why is something this basic being ignored?