The question is this: Where is the best place to get coffee on UBC campus?


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(This is my coffee cup, and yes, it is awesome)

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So… I happen to be a pretty heavy coffee drinker.

This was actually something spurred on by the birth of my first child (although technically we could go into the usual discussion about causation and correlation – after all, I am a sciencegeek), which means that I’ve been more or less addicted to the stuff for the last 12 years. I find I can’t function without my morning coffee, and there are days when I find myself inadvertently sucking back 4 or 5 cups.

And in case you’re worried about my health, you needn’t be. I’ve actually done some “back of the paper” calculations to see if one can accidentally overdose from too much caffeine from too much coffee consumption.

Basically, you can’t… (well, it would be really really difficult to do so). If you don’t believe me, and you’re interested in that sort of thing, you can check out this link. If you just want a taste of the calculations, you can read a little bit of it below:

“First, an oral lethal dose for an 80kg human would extrapolate to 15,360mg of total caffeine. This technically is equivalent to the amount of caffeine absorbed from drinking 113 cups of coffee really really really quickly. However, the reality is that this figure would instead result in a fatality due to water intoxication since 113 cups is close to 30 litres of water.

So let’s try a different tact: by focusing on a safe water ingestion figure (i.e. 15 litres per day when spread reasonably). This works out to 60 cups of coffee over a full day, or approximate one cup every 24 minutes…” [read more]

Anyway, it goes on, and essentially says that you can do this; and so, safe in the knowledge that I can consume a cup of coffee every 24 minutes, my question to the greater UBC masses is this:

Where should I get that coffee? Where exactly is the “best” place to get my caffeine fix?

In fact, I’m not even sure how many places there are on campus – hundreds, thousands!? Maybe it’s me, but it sometimes it feels like UBC is fuelling some kind of coffee empire, since every building seems to have own coffee place.

As far as specifics are concerned, any criteria will do (best prices, best beans, highest caffeine, ambience of the place, friendly staff, how busy it is, business ethics, coolest logo, hipness of customers, admirable lack of hipness, good place to study, wifi capabilities, combination of all factors) – basically, I’m just looking for suggestions, and I consider your input a form of expert peer review on the matter.

So without further ado, please leave your suggestions in the comments below.

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David (@ng_dave) is Faculty at the Michael Smith Labs. His writing has appeared in places such as McSweeney's, The Walrus, and He plans on using Terry as another place to highlight the mostly science-y links he appreciates. In fact, if you liked this one, you might also like his main site generally - this can be found at

14 Responses to “The question is this: Where is the best place to get coffee on UBC campus?”

  1. Theresa Liao

    I work in the Dept of Physics & Astronomy (Hennings), so I have always gotten my coffee at the Blue Chip cookies on my way to work. I guess another reason is that they have light roast coffee (light roast coffee has the highest caffeine level, relatively speaking, which might explain why I need it haha!).

    Now I am starting to wonder how caffeine disintegrate in the presence of heat?…

  2. David Ng

    Whoa! Cool – I did not know that there was a wiki map for this. It looks pretty under-represented though. I tend to get my coffee at the Beaty Museum, although that’s mainly because it’s the closest (although the hours are not the best). There is, however, never a line up, because I’m guessing most people think you need to do the whole museum admission thing before going in. link

  3. Jessica

    My old departmental building does a coffee co-op, and 35cents got you a shot of caffeine, 50 cents if you take milk (or make yourself a latte). That covers the cost of the coffee, plus a 15cents (or so) donation per shot to the Nature Conservancy. This aside, I like my coffee from Niche Cafe (although they have wonky opening hours), earth and ocean science building, or the Boulevard.

  4. Sam

    I wonder if there’s some relationship between the end of UBC’s exclusivity deal with Coca Cola and the rise of the coffeeshop? (I’m a history grad student so I only answer questions with other questions).

  5. Gordon Katic

    I like Seedlings, which is near the Rose Garden. On the top floor of the Graduate Students building. It’s very cheap.

    In general, my philosophy is that the best coffee shop is the nearest coffee shop. I’m pretty utilitarian. It’s just a drug that keeps me going.

  6. Hailey Froese

    The Boulevard is definitely not cheap but I think it’s one of the nicer places to go if you’re having coffee with a friend.. otherwise the AMS coffee places are cheaper than Starbucks and just as good (in my non-coffee connoisseur opinion)

  7. Kamil

    I always get my caffeine fix from Blue Chip, but McDonalds ( yes..that one!) is a close second. The best cup of coffee I ever had was about a year ago from the Blenz near Commercial/Broadway station. It was a surreal experience. I did go back again, but it was never the same.

    Worst place to go for coffee would the Tim Horton’s, unless you enjoy waiting in line and incompetent lids.

  8. Anonymous

    Sprouts, located in the basement of the SUB, is the cheapest I’ve found—only 75 cents—and it is fair trade (Seedlings has the same). That is the most important factor for me, and fortunately all the UBC Food Services and AMS cafes serve fair trade coffee. Bean Around the World serves some fair trade coffees, while McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Tim Hortons don’t at all. I suggest people do research into the coffee industry and buy fair trade when possible. At UBC this is no problem.

  9. Chad Hyson

    I usually enjoy my coffee at home before coming to campus, always Bean Around the World Aztec beans.

    If I get a coffee on campus it is usually an Americano from Blue Chip.

  10. Leigh-Anne

    My favourites are Great Dane Coffee near Gage for a sit down coffee with a friend, or Blue Chip for a coffee to go.

  11. chris

    Boulevard Coffee is the best on campus. Blue chip a close second. The quality of the coffee is comparable, but Boulevard is more consistent.

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