Coffee buzz

Whether it’s an 8 a.m. class or the 3 p.m. slump, nearly everybody needs some caffeine sometimes. And the range of offerings around campus is overwhelming.

Everybody knows Xando, the unavoidable campus centerpiece on 36th at Sansom. Meanwhile, Starbucks, on 34th andSansom, is arguably the most famous coffeeshop on earth. And Dunkin’ Donuts, Walnut near 36th, is highly popular as well.

Less-corporate options include colorful bohemian hangout The Comet on 41st at Sansom, locally-based chain Bucks County Coffee Co. on Sansom Row, and — right down the street — Avril 50, where you can wash down your self-serve roast with a literary journal or Israeli newspaper. The owner of Avril 50, by the way, is Yahya Khatibshahidi (G’89). And don’t forget Wawa, 24-hour source of a no-frills cuppa joe.

How’s a bleary-eyed student to choose? We asked folks where they prefer to fuel up when the urge hits.

TIM BANDEN, College ’01
“I like Bucks. It’s quiet, it’s out of the way. Xando’s a meeting place, not a coffee place.” But you do go there? “Reluctantly. It’s a rendezvous point.”

“Dunkin’ Donuts. Anywhere you go in America, it’s the best cup of coffee. And it only costs a dollar a cup, instead of four dollars.”

DAN KIRK, College ’01
“As far as quality goes, I like the Starbucks. I don’t go there as much as I’d like, because it’s so out of the way.”

LAURA SANDERS, Pennsylvania Book Center employee
“Avril 50, because it’s not Starbucks.” What’s wrong with Starbucks? “They have too much money. I’d rather give to somebody like [Avril’s] John [sic], who’s doing it all on his own — support the little guy.”

DARREN JASPAN, Arts & Sciences Master’s
“I’m about to go into Bucks County for the first time. Starbucks is too expensive, and Xando’s about the same. Plus other corporate globalization things.”

DAVID HARRISON, Institute for Research in Cognitive Science Postdoc
“I just moved here two days ago. There was a long line at Xando, so I came here to Avril’s. You can serve yourself, and the coffee’s really good, so I think I’ll keep coming here.”

JEFF KOHL, College ’01
“Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s right around the corner, and it’s on my way to class in the morning.”

MAR SOCAS, Romance Languages Ph.D.
“Xando. You have the outdoors and the indoors. You can choose where you want to sit. Not every place has that.”

“Starbucks. It’s quiet.”

— Sara Marcus



Originally published on September 14, 2000