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The Coffee Trials

It’s 7:55 AM. You have a test today and are hoping you get to school in time after your coffee stop that took longer than planned. Thoughts race through your mind as you somehow get stopped at every red light. Should I have left earlier? Was the staff at the coffee shop just behind today? […]

It’s 7:55 AM. You have a test today and are hoping you get to school in time after your coffee stop that took longer than planned. Thoughts race through your mind as you somehow get stopped at every red light. Should I have left earlier? Was the staff at the coffee shop just behind today? Was that really the best place to stop at considering how far it is from school?

This is a predicament a lot of us have been in at one time or another. But what if there was a better way to plan? What if you knew which spots are close to you, how fast the staff typically is, and how far they are from school with morning traffic? Well, I’ve spent the last week doing this for you.

Before getting started on a major caffeine journey, I decided to talk to Taylor van Löben Sels (‘21), someone well known for rolling into school right before the bell rings with a cup in hand.

“My go to place for morning coffee is Starbucks or Peet’s. I think they’re a reasonable distance from school, but all coffee shops are quite far from my house,” she explains. “I actually have been late to school due to getting Starbucks. I was probably going to be late anyways, but sometimes I know I won’t make it through the day without a good coffee.”

Good coffee is definitely something that can be hard to find. Many people prefer strong coffee over sugary or blended over plain. I decided to test out three places from the three most popular areas that people come to school from.

Starting off with Elk Grove, I headed to It’s a Grind, a locally owned coffee shop right off Elk Grove Boulevard.

As I walked in at around 7:30 AM, I was greeted by the cashier and I ordered an iced mocha with almond milk. It hardly took any time at all, letting me know that this is an excellent place for a quick stop. I took a sip, and it was super cold and flavorful. I definitely liked how strong the coffee flavor was without being too overpowering. They also have the best crunchy ice that I really love.

I then put in our school address onto Maps to see exactly how far the distance was with morning traffic, and it came out to be 18 minutes. This seems like a long time, but if you’re coming from Elk Grove, it’s going to be around this time anyways, and at least this way you’re getting it on the way. Overall, I would definitely recommend It’s a Grind. The workers are friendly, it’s a reasonable distance from school, and the coffee is terrific.

The next day, I decided to go up to Davis and test out the Dutch Brothers coffee located off the Richards Boulevard exit.

Right away, something I really like is that they have a drive through. Especially at 7:50 AM, it can be cold having to get out of your car and stand in line, so I appreciate getting to stay in my car where the heater is. The line however, was outrageous, which is typically expected whenever you go to Dutch Brothers.

The workers there were all super energetic and nice, which is always the best. I ordered a Dutch Canyon iced mocha with almond milk and received it in a semi-reasonable time. As I took a sip, I immediately tasted an abundance of flavors including caramel and chocolate. One thing I do have to say about this place is that it may not be the one for those who enjoy strong coffee and more for the ones who really like the syrup and milk aspect.

After putting in CB’s address, I saw that it would take 20 minutes to get there, which is comparable to It’s a Grind. However, with the long line. I would say that this is the place that would most likely take the longest and would require you to leave your house pretty early. Overall, I would recommend Dutch Brothers for its excellent staff and flavorful drinks.

On my final day of getting coffee I decided to head downtown to stop at Philz Coffee on R Street.

What I really like about Philz is that they have a mobile order-ahead option which really saves you time not having to wait in line. I got there at around 8 AM and my drink was already made and set on the counter. The staff always has the best energy and make the drinks specific to how you want it. I sat down and took a sip of my perfectly made Mocha Tesora with oat milk. I really applaud Philz for including the most dairy milk alternatives of the three places. I also loved that the cups are environment friendly instead of plastic.

As I drank my drink, I put the school address into maps and saw that it would take about 19 minutes to get there, which is almost exactly the same as the other two. Although with Philz, you need to be comfortable driving downtown during the hectic mornings, which can get kind of crazy., Overall I would say that Philz is a great place for morning coffee if you’re coming from anywhere nearby.

By visiting these three places in the early morning, I know I definitely gained some insight on which I would go to and how to plan accordingly. I think it’s really important to find somewhere that you really like and that won’t make you late to school because I know we’ve probably all been there. Hopefully this guide helps you skip some of that trial and error so that you can get down to coffee drinking!

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