Two large, full latte macchiatos rest on the table in the Food Plaza at Campus Woudestein, where Psychology students Martina (20) and Josephine (21) are having an animated conversation. They feel confident about their choice for this particular latte, even though it meant braving the icy winter temperatures for a trip to the Spar grocery store. “Here at the Starbucks, coffee drinks start at €4.60, and we pay €1.35 per cup.” “And besides that”, Josephine adds, “I can get vegan milk at the Spar.” They are also unanimous in their opinion of the latte macchiato from the coffee machine: it’s “horrible”.
Tastes obviously differ
Jochem Kooloos (19, International Business Administration) always takes his coffee black, and he spends time in different buildings at Woudestein. “Because I only drink one kind of coffee, it’s easy for me to compare. And believe me, I can taste a difference between one machine and another. Coffee from the machine in the Langeveld building genuinely tastes better, and I’ve heard other students say the same thing.” Mette (19) is studying Arts & Culture, and in her opinion, the coffee from the green machines in Sanders and Polak tastes better than the coffee in Theil. “Maybe because the buildings are newer?”
The coffee machine on Campus Woudestein charge €0.86, no matter which kind of coffee you choose. Most of the machines work by forcing hot water through coffee syrup. At some of the coffee machines in the Theil Building, you can actually see the beans in a round, transparent cylinder on top of the machine. That means coffee made from freshly ground beans, for the same €0.86.
Not the most delicious
In the corridor between the library and the Theil Building, Ole (22, Fiscal Law) explains his beverage of choice. “This machine is close by. I’d rather go here than to the coffee bar, because you end up hanging around there. This isn’t the most delicious coffee, but it’s good for your concentration.” Mohammed (24), a Law student, adds: “Here in the library, the coffee from the machine is good enough, but twice a week I treat myself to an expensive coffee from Starbucks.”
Adelaide Semoli (20, Communication & Media) nods toward the coffee bar in the Theil Building. “Sometimes I stop there for coffee with fresh milk, because I have lactose intolerance. Even though it’s more expensive than the coffee machine – €1.50 – I order a large coffee for €2.10, so I get more of the good-tasting coffee.”
Prices differ as well
Onward to the next campus, the Erasmus MC. In the Education Centre, there is a constant stream of students visiting the coffee machine. Yet there’s not a coffee drinker in sight. The first student drinks water, as does the next, followed by a chocolate milk drinker. “Much too sweet, which you wouldn’t expect at the Erasmus MC. But what’re you gonna do – I never drink coffee.”
Next stop is the VAT coffee bar, which is run by the study association for medical students in Rotterdam, MFVR. Here, there is no price list to be found. “Fresh filter coffee from the insulated jug is free. Coffee from our machine costs 40 cents”, says Veerle Joosting (22, Medicine), who is working at the bar today. “All the coffee machines in the Education Centre are free, but coffee from our machine is brewed using a different process”, adds Joep Moens (18, Medicine). “Our machine grinds the coffee beans and produces a layer of cream.” Veerle opens the cupboard under the machine and, believe it or not, there’s a tiny refrigerator holding a carton of fresh milk, connected to the coffee machine by a small tube. “For the lattes”, she says, beaming.
Eindhoven university magazine Cursor investigated what cappuccinos cost on different campuses. The cappuccinos at the EUR cost 17 cents more than average.
Good enough for the director
Time to check out the next location, the Erasmus University College (EUC) on the Nieuwemarkt. The first coffee drinker turns out to be none other than the freshly appointed Director of the EUC, Gera Noordzij. Although she drinks it from her own reusable cup, the coffee itself is from the same machine that students can use for free. It’s good enough for the director, in other words. EUC employee Anastasia drinks very little coffee, but when she does, she orders it from the Paviljoen at Campus Woudestein. “They offer coconut milk, soya milk and oat milk – good for vegans and people with a food allergy – and I do like the way that tastes.”
Eshree Mettendaf (24, Art & Culture Studies) buys her coffee from the counter in the Mandeville Building and never from a coffee machine. “I don’t care for powdered milk in my coffee. On top of which, when you collect ten stamps, they give you a free coffee. What can I say – I’m a student, aren’t I?”
There is no coffee machine that students can use for free at EUC. We don’t even have the 0.86 cent coffee machines in the building. The only option we have is from the cafe in the building where latte macchiatos are 1.95 or the expensive coffee stores around the school.