Staff Picks: Where to find the best coffee on campus


Romita Das | Staff Photographer

All of Pitt’s coffee carts are basically the same.

By The Pitt News Staff

A lot of college students drink coffee, 71.4% in fact. So, there’s a good chance if you’re reading this, you probably fill up with only two — or three, or four, or five — cups of coffee a day. You’re in luck, because our staff has assembled the best of the best places to get coffee on and around campus.

The Bunsen Burner // Delilah Bourque, Culture Editor

There’s nothing better after a long day of slaving through chemistry homework than a hot cup of coffee. The Bunsen Burner, a shining beacon to all at the entrance to the Chevron Science Center, offers what chemistry could never — happiness. Serving up hot and iced drinks, as well as a variety of snacks ranging from hummus and pretzels to red pepper hummus and pretzels, the Bunsen Burner is the superior coffee locale on campus.

Even better than getting a latte before a three-hour organic chemistry lab are late-night study sessions in Chevron. No, Bunsen Burner is not open late like inferior coffee shops — such as Hillman Library’s Cup and Chaucer — but they’ll do you one better by providing free leftover pastries. Around closing time, the kind and beautiful employees of Bunsen Burner will place a large white box of whatever didn’t sell to the stressed-out students during the day. Sure, you might not love poppyseed muffins, but they’re better than muffins you have to pay for.

Even though the hike up to Chevron may be a problem to some, especially us humanities majors who spend our time between Cathy and occasionally Posvar, the Bunsen Burner makes the trip up the hill worthwhile.

Common Grounds // Shahum Ajmal, Senior Staff Writer

Dear Common Grounds: they call you Common, but my love for you is Uncommon. You are tucked away in Litchfield Towers, standing as a source of light in times of need. With access from both Forbes and Fifth Avenue your reach is truly unmatched. Regardless of your daily routine, one cannot avoid Common Grounds.

Hauling your laundry from your off-campus apartment? Look no further. Cutting through Towers Lobby to get to Fifth from Forbes? Slow down and treat yourself. Common Grounds lives by the motto “We proudly serve.” There are options for every diet, from desserts, to Pepsi products and even a few savory snacks. I’ve been with Common Grounds since its limited menu days, before it offered seasonal drinks like pumpkin spice and maple pecan. May it always be a resource for kids with Dining Dollars.

Starbucks (Forbes and Atwood) // Thomas Wick, Senior Staff Writer

Want to find a place away from the hectic ground floor of Hillman Library and Cathedral of Learning that still has delicious premium coffee? Simply walk a few blocks down to the Starbucks on Forbes and Atwood. It’s true that there’s a nice (now 24-hour) Starbucks right next to the William Pitt Union under Amos Hall, but that place gets way too crowded pretty quickly.

The Starbucks on Forbes and Atwood is close enough to campus to not require an obscenely long walk and trades off for peace and quiet. Plus, you have the full Starbucks menu at your beck and call, unlike the coffee carts which only offer a skeletal list of options. While I usually prefer to simply get a quick refill at the carts on a busy day, on the weekends or on a day with fewer classes this place helps me get a lot done with a lot of delicious coffee options to boot.

Cathedral Coffee // Charlie Taylor, For The Pitt News

The first floor of the Cathedral of Learning is by far one of the most beautiful spots of campus. But while studying at one of the antique wooden desks under the dim lighting and Gothic-style ribbed vaulting of the first floor can help you live your “Harry Potter” fantasy, it also means dealing with swarms of tourists and, usually, ending up in someone’s vacation photos.

The ground floor of the Cathedral then becomes an architecturally unremarkable, yet safe haven for the student who just needs a cup of coffee and a tourist-free space to get through midterm season. Wedding parties and families with young children certainly won’t disturb your work while you bask in the harsh fluorescent lighting and vaguely damp smell outside Cathedral Coffee — and if they do, they’ll quickly realize they don’t belong there and leave.

The coffee is … well, certainly caffeinated, which is the only thing a college student should care about anyway. It offers the perfect pick-me-up right before your nearly three-hour-long Monday night writing class in the Cathedral, and if you order a hot beverage it may help you forget that the classroom is kept consistently at temperatures below freezing.

When looking for a convenient cup o’ joe during study sessions or between classes, look no further than Cathedral Coffee. When looking for a great cup of coffee, consider this — it looks like coffee, it smells like coffee and it’s on the meal plan. Do you really have the right to ask for anything better?

The best coffee is no coffee // Erica Guthrie and Jon Moss, Contributing Editors

That’s right, folks. We said it. The best coffee is no coffee at all. Ever. Imagine being addicted to bean juice and throwing a hot cup of it down the hatch every morning. Disgostang.

There’s nothing better than waking up in the morning knowing that you’re not addicted to caffeine. Seriously. Instead, try a nice big glass of cold pickle juice in the morning. Where coffee lacks in vitamins and antioxidants, pickle juice flourishes.

As a member of the fermented foods family, pickle juice can do wonders for your gut health. When all those fries you’ve been eating from Market have you backed up, a good shot of pickle juice in the morning will ensure a smooth start to your day. And, for all of the first-years who muscle their way up Cardiac Hill to upper campus every day, pickle juice is known to help ease muscle aches and pains.