The MASS3 Monthly

August 2017 Edition

A Comprehensive Measure of the Hype Levels of On-Campus Coffee

This has been a long time coming.

The time has finally come, dear members of MASS^3. The time has come for there to be a comprehensive review of the hype level of the numerous coffee shops dotted around campus. Fortunately, I have been rigorously testing (along side my noble co-reviewer Liam Azara) the various cafes on campus. It has been an eye-opening semester thus far, very caffeinated and full of both great and terrible coffee, but we have come out of it victorious.

Coffee-Hype Index (CHI)

Alongside testing the coffee I have worked to develop this measure of coffee hype. I will now take you through how I got there.

Let us first introduce the variable for CHI:


To start off with the basics, most scales use some sort of rating out of ten, so we will do the same. So now CHI is equal to the sum of my rating and Liam’s rating:


However, this is not enough. The hype felt when drinking a cup of coffee is inversely proportional to the amount of hard earned cash one had to drop in order to acquire it, so adding a variable for the price we get:


Now comes the time variables. The coffee shops around campus are fairly spread out, so the time it takes to get to them must be taken into account as the longer it takes to get to the cafe, the more annoyance is spawned to counteract the hype, so we must subtract a variable to take this into account. Now as there are no coffee shops right next to the common room (unfortunately) we wont use the absolute time, but the standard deviation of the time it takes to get to the cafes from the mean time. Thus we get:


On the topic of time, the coffee, to my great sadness, does not arrive instantly when I order it. So the time between ordering and receiving the coffee is treated in the same way as time taken to get to the cafe:


Finally, the last thing that must be considered is personal preference. More accurately how much someone cares about the price, or the time. Therefore, let’s add two more variables that are unique to each person that describe how much their personal hype is affected (both of these will be set to one for the sake of this article, but if one wants to personalise the results for themselves the raw data can be provided upon request!):


And there we have it. The formula used to quantify the hype of the coffee offered around campus!


Starting in the common room, we set our destination to a certain coffee store and used a phone timer to measure the time taken to get there. Once there, a small coffee would be ordered each and a timer would be started to measure the time to coffee. I ordered a cappuccino and Liam ordered a mocha to account for both the complexity of preparing these drinks, and their popularity. Neither of us got any sugar in our drinks.

The price of a 16oz (473ml) cup of coffee would be recorded, as this is the standard size that all cafes carry although it may be called different names (Regular at Grafali’s, Large at Secret Garden).

While we wait for our coffee we would make notes on the A E S T H E T I C C of the coffee store and the general environment/perks (Lactose free milk, other drinks, etc.).

Once the coffee is received, we do a very intricate taste test that is reminiscent of sommeliers. We judge the taste, creamy nature, sweetness, burn aspect, bitterness, texture and the most hipster-esq quality, mouthfeel. Using these aspects we both give it a score out of ten.

All of this is, obviously, recorded in the most secure and professional way possible; on the back of the receipt.



Let’s do this in ascending order of CHI, just to make sure you are left with a pleasent taste in your mouth.

Grain Express


  • Shon: 2/10

  • Liam: 3/10

  • CHI: 1.11

So, first off, many of you may be surprised that this place sells coffee at all. I mean, the staff there were surprised when we asked for coffee, despite having coffee prices clearly advertised. Liam and I also got the impression that we were quite possibly the only customers they have had that asked for coffee in the past year at least. But I guess we got what we ordered… barely.

After the confusion abated, and the coffee machine dusted, our coffees were finally made. Let me just say that I am thankful this was the last place we tested, as I am pretty sure my tongue was left with at least second degree burns after drinking it. The coffee was well burnt, and barely tasted like coffee in fact. I would describe it like bitter, watery milk. We did not finish this cup of coffee.

The price of this coffee doesn’t even redeem it, as the standard size costs $4 there. Do yourself a favour, don’t make the same mistake Liam and I did.

St. Ali’s Church of Secular Coffee


  • Shon: 3/10

  • Liam: 2/10

  • CHI: 1.15

Despite the fancy name and the cozy hipstery interior, this cafe ranks as one of the worst. While it does seem like a nice place to sit down and talk about the day, all the while looking at the hordes of other stressful students milling about ourside, it may be a bit to expensive to be able to afford this luxury. In fact, this is the most expensive coffee shop on campus. For a massive $5 for the standard sized coffee, no amount of hipster blends or fancy deconstructed interior can make me not cry for the poor souls that frequent the establishement.

The actual coffee is also quite disappointing to say the least. While i could stomach the burnt brew, Liam took two steps out of the cafe, and proceeded to pour the remainder of his cup down the nearest sewer drain. At least this coffee did not physically assult me I guess.

Coffee Point


  • Shon: 3/10

  • Liam: 2/10

  • CHI: 1.85

We finally reach what is classically the worst coffee on campus. And while the coffee here is quite bad, it does seem to be better than these other two places. Maybe it is because of its central location that it gets a worse rap than Grain Express and Church. However, this is not to say that there are any redeeming qualities to the coffee here. This was the only place that made Liam say that he would rather “Lick a toilet seat” than drink another drop of that coffee. In fact, I described it as “tasting how a back alley smells” so unfortunatly for coffee point, it does not earn any redemption in this study. It does however earn the title of cheapest coffee on campus… by a whole 5 cents. Do yourself a favour and visit one of the later coffee shops on the list, even if they may be 5 cents more expensive.

We also had a guest reviewer try this coffee with us. Ethan “Little Steve Erwin” Payne (otherwise known as Ashton) decided to have a taste. He was then obviously promptly rushed to the hospital much like one of his previous misadventures.



  • Shon: 4.5/10

  • Liam: 5/10

  • CHI: 2.34

I did not have much hope for Wholefoods. However, its coffee, while bad did not in fact make either myself or Liam physically want to hurt ourselves. And you got to give credit where credit is due; the fact that Wholefoods is apparently run for students, by volunteers, in an environmentally friendly manner may sway people to overlook the worse than average coffee. However, the sheer length of time it takes them to make the coffee, as well as the fact that you must bring your own cup or else be stuck in drinking their coffee in store does nothing to help their mediocre blend.



  • Shon: 8/10

  • Liam: 7/10

  • CHI: 3.01

Sapporo was one place that I had quite high hopes for, as it was praised by many people in the common room. In fact, the praise of Sapporo as well as a few other cafes is what motivated me to write this article. The coffee in Sapporo is, by all measures, pretty good. They have a range of different blends, with a new main blend every week or so to add variety to your coffee experience. The coffee itself has a very mellow taste, you wont taste a sharp bitterness, but moreso a clam and smooth bitterness of good coffee that will pleasently fill your palette.

However, not everything here is good. This is possibly the furthest coffee shop on campus from the common room, and the coffee takes its time being made. This does hurt its score quite badly when it comes to the CHI. The price of the coffee is surprisingly average, which is strange considering its location in New Horizons.

It’s location is also a plus, it is tucked inside New Horizons giving it that rich academia vibes. Furthermore, it is the coffee shops with the closest proximity to Linc-Daddy as well as many other marvelous academics. Therefore, if you want to increase your chance in spotting a Lincoln in the wild, this is the place to do it. Overall, alright coffee, good atmosphere, may be worth a visit.



  • Shon: 7/10

  • Liam: 7.5/10

  • CHI: 3.17

This may be a cafe not many of us members of MASS^3 have heard about. Just as HAL has Secret Garden, Matheson has Swift’s. It is a quaint place, surrounded by books and alcoves that look ideal to release your inner hipster, whip out your typewriter, and work on your manuscript… Which may or may not be a good thing, depending on one’s opinion.

The coffee itself is alright, with smooth flavours, but nothing actually significant about the taste of the coffee. It is however on the more expensive side of cafes around campus and also quite the distance from the common room. All in all, it may be worth hitting this place up if you find yourself in Matheson, but other than that maybe not.



  • Shon: 6/10

  • Liam: 6.5/10

  • CHI: 3.24

Here we have reached the median in terms of CHI placement. The coffee here is decent, it has a central location and a fairly standard price. The biggest problem you will most likely face with this coffee shop is the crowds. It’s central location and wide popularity around campus lends itself to long lines and wait times. This is mostly offset by the efficiency of the staff and the location.

It also has to be mentioned that Grafali’s has some of the largest selections of drinks from any coffee shops on campus, so our rating of just the pure coffee/mocha may not do the place justice. Therefore, if you are after just a normal coffee, it may be worth skipping this place, but if you are after a more fancy drink have at it.

A word of warning however, make sure that you are caught up on Game of Thrones if you are planning on purchasing your coffee from here, as I have witnessed a few spoilers being thrown around between the staff. You have been warned.

Taste Baguette


  • Shon: 7.5/10

  • Liam: 8/10

  • CHI: 3.55

On the ground floor of the Menzies building, this may be the first coffee shop you come across if you are entering campus from the bus loop. The coffee here is slightly sweeter and creamier that other places, and it also posseses a slightly nutty flavour that gives it another dimension. It is however quite a trek from the common room, and it is not the cheapest coffee on campus, so proceede with caution.

On a personal note, I would not reccomend getting an ice coffee from here as you get it in the same sized cup as a regular coffee, but it is more expensive and half filled with ice. #Scammed.

The Den


  • Shon: 7/10

  • Liam: 6/10

  • CHI: 3.67

Nestled outside the campus centre, this place is easy to pass by. I must confess, this is the only time I have ever gone to this cafe, and most likely the only time I ever will. It’s coffee is of a similar standard to Grafali’s and Swift’s, but it is a bit closer and less busy. Although everything else about it is mediocre, the aesthetic, the offering, the atmosphere, it is very meh. However, the coffee is decent so I cannot dissuade others from going there.

Artichoke & Whitebait


  • Shon: 7/10

  • Liam: 7/10

  • CHI: 3.77

Otherwise known as “Sensory Lab” this cafe boasts some of the quickest coffee delivery times with a quality slightly better than its neighbour Grafali’s. You will be greeted with a dose of information about their current blend, which does vary every once in a while. It also bosts an upclass sitting area and a elaborate menu, if for some reason you decide to forget that you are a student and splurge on some expensive food.



  • Shon: 8/10

  • Liam: 8/10

  • CHI: 4.42

We have finally reached the top three cafes on campus, each with a CHI score of greater than 4.40 which is quite a jump from the next best. Supernatural boasts a vagan/vegetarian menu which may interest some, along side some of the friendliest staff in any coffee shops. As for the coffee, it is pretty great. It is made really quickly and has a really smooth, creamy and pleasently bitter as well as consistent taste. Just like Grafali’s it also has a wide selection of drinks that are worth checking out.

Secret Garden


  • Shon: 9/10

  • Liam: 9/10

  • CHI: 3.49

This cafe boasts the first nine Liam and I handed out. It’s coffee is some of the best on campus. A really mellow taste that is creamy, slightly sweet and gives a perfect hint of coffee bitterness. The mocha here also uses some good chocolate, as described by Liam, which is always a plus. It also boasts a pretty good aesthetic that will feed the hipster part of your soul, as well as many couches that are perfect for taking a break to chill for a few minutes while you drink your coffee. The coffee here surprisingly actually increases in quality when the place is busy, which is quite an interesting effect. This is also one of the closest cafes to the common room, so you wont need to go far for your caffeine fix.

One last point is the price. The coffee here is some of the cheapest on campus. The standard size is only five cents more expensive that Coffee Point, while the actual drink is leagues above.

All this combines to make Secret Garden my personal favourite cafe on campus. Would reccomend

Cinque Lire


  • Shon: 9/10

  • Liam: 9/10

  • CHI: 4.58

We have now arrived at the best cafe on campus according to the CHI. I have got to admit, I am glad I did this study as I did not know about this cafe before I conducted this experiment. First things first, the fastest way to get here is to leave the common room, turn right straight away and cut through the biology building, exiting through a giant orange sphincter-like door, and finally turn right and walk to this glorious cafe.

The coffee here is not the cheapest (in fact it is one of the more expensive places), but it is made incredibly quickly and oh my god the quality. The coffee here is less harshly bitter and has a smooth bitterness that creeps up on you. Its foam is perfectly aerated to created a significantly pleasurable mouthfeel that contributes greatly to the enjoyment of the coffee. It is made at the perfect temperature and uses a fantastic blend.

This was also one of the cafes which featured a guest reviewer. This time, a coffee connoisseur of the highest standards with a palette to match no other. Emily Jones, after trying a mere sip of this wonderful coffee gave the illustrious and prose-filled comment “Is gud”.


If I could reccomend a few places to stay away from at all costs, these places would be Grain Express (obviously.. who even gets coffee here), Church (because who has this much money to spend on bad coffee?) and Coffee Point (need I say more?). The top three places on campus however, are truely worth commending, and they are, in ascending order, Supernatural, Secret Garden and Cinque Lire.

I do hope this article will save many of you from experiencing bad coffee, and has finally solved the dilemma of what is the best coffee on campus. I wish you all a very caffeinated future!