If you are tired of waiting 20 minutes to give a corporation your money to appease your caffeine addiction, then you should look no further than Caffiends and Diabolos’, two student-run coffee spots located conveniently on campus. These two cafés, staffed exclusively by students, provide a community-spirit environment, cheap eats, and fair trade coffee without the corporate logos and the long lineups. Here is a run down of these two university fixtures.
Who: Caffiends is run by a group of friendly student volunteers. The staff know their products, and are able to make informed recommendations. They offer both gluten-free and vegan options. Cash only!
Where: First floor of Old Victoria College Building, just west of the main lobby.
What it does best:
– Coffee is only one dollar!
– They have several different flavourful and aromatic loose-leaf tea options.
– Their spicy hot chocolate is an exciting take on an old favourite.
– By exclusively using donated coffee mugs, they bring “environmentally conscious” to a new level. You can take your mug to go, as long as you return it.
– Comfy couches provide a laid back atmosphere.
Coffee: Caffiends purchases its coffee from local company ChocoSol, which sources its organic and fair-trade beans from Oaxaca, Mexico. Its beans boast the rich flavor of a medium roast.
Who: Diabolos’ is a student-run coffee shop, well-known for its cheap eats and colourful attitude. The shop features several food and beverage options, and has been a UC fixture since the ’90s. Cash and UT-Eat meal plans accepted.
Where: Located in the centre of University College, accessible from the quad and beside the Junior Common Room.
What it does best:
– Cappucinos and lattes are expertly pulled and come at a reasonable price ($2.75 and $3.00, respectively).
– Espresso is only $1.50, and brewed coffee starts at $1.00.
– Coffee beans are supplied by local Kensington roaster Moonbean Coffee Co.
– The shop has a fairly extensive food menu that includes bagels, roti, and samosas.
– The butter tarts… they speak for themselves.
– It has homemade muffins!
Coffee: The brewed coffee is not consistent, and at times, the temperature is not as hot as might be desired. However, when brewed correctly, it is spot on and has a rich flavour. Espresso-based offerings are a competitive price and are a great pick-me-up.
Caffiends offers a quaint and friendly experience. The donated mugs and volunteer staff make sipping a Caffiends coffee feel like a community experience that anyone can be a part of. Its hours (9:30–4:30 Monday–Friday) are good for those who have early and/or afternoon classes, but will disappoint those who are looking for a late afternoon pick me up. The coffee is well worth the dollar. Definitely check out Caffiends if you want a welcoming atmosphere, delicious treats, and a good cup of joe.
Diabolos’ is an eclectic place, and its cappuccinos are just as good as any corporate espresso bar. Its staff can be inconsistent in their service, but the drinks and food are always delicious. Most recently, the display counter features a message chastising students for purchasing Starbucks. Diabolos’ earnest use of kitsch and sarcasm gives it a welcoming, familiar tone. There are always people socializing and studying in the adjacent Junior Common Room, so if you are looking for a buzz, both caffeinated and ambient, Diabolos’ is the place to go.
Both shops should definitely be considered by all caffeine-addicted students, in lieu of commercial franchises like Starbucks and Second Cup. They provide great value, great coffee, and great community.