Smartphone and coffee

College students are no strangers to coffee consumption; some might even say that it is our life-blood. The National Coffee Association found that fifty-three percent of adults in the U.S. consumed specialty coffee–coffee brewed from the top ten percent Arabica seeds–on a weekly basis. With such a high demand for good brews, which are the best spots in Mānoa to get your fix for a cup of Joe?

Cup of Joe to go:

As a college student, you’re incredibly busy and need your coffee quick. Fortunately, the Mānoa valley has some great coffee house chains on campus for coffee on demand: Starbucks, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and most recently Dunkin Donuts.

No one is a stranger to these coffee house chains and many of you likely have your go-to beverage down to a science. I’m talking about those individuals who know their triple-venti-soy-no foam latte by heart. In light of this, we will suggest some menu items you might not have considered before to switch things up.

Many people swear by their frappuccinos, espressos and lattes, but drinking your coffee straight black can be a nice change of pace. This might be a bit off-putting for some of you due to the lack of sugar, cream and whip cream in your drink. But, these drinks are not lacking in the flavor department and are guaranteed to get the day started or keep you up for a long night studying. Starbucks’ cold brews offer the Nariño 70 Cold Brew. It is blended with a special mix of high-quality beans from Colombia’s Nariño Region and East Africa. It is slow-steeped in cool water for twenty-hours never touching heat. It has an incredibly rounded flavor and goes down very smoothly without being too sharp despite being straight up black. The best part is that it’s only five calories while providing a solid one-hundred fifty-five milligrams of caffeine ordered tall.

If you can’t completely abandon your sweet tooth, Dunkin Donuts Iced Macchiato is an excellent option. The Iced Macchiato is a layered espresso that comes with two shots of freshly brewed espresso over your choice of skim or whole milk. If you so choose, you can also include a bit of flavoring drizzled over your beverage. Dunkin Donuts offers everything from French Vanilla Swirl to Girl Thin Mints Swirl flavoring if you don’t mind the added calories. At a size small, this beverage will get you over one-hundred ninety-seven milligrams of caffeine.

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s iced coffees are very refreshing and come in a range of flavors: white chocolate, hazelnut, mocha, caramel and vanilla. At only twelve ounces, this beverage will give you a good amount of caffeine with zero calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium or carbs–depending on how one chooses to customize the drink.

With Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf as the exception, both Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks offer apps that allow you to order ahead if you’re really in a hurry. Besides being able to skip the long morning lines, you’ll get rewards and added bonuses for each of your coffee runs.

Sit, Sip or Study:

Contrary to popular belief, coffee does not always have to be for a fast-paced day. Sometimes you need to sit down for a quiet study session and enjoy a warm espresso or perhaps you just want to relax and enjoy the coffee itself.

Glazer’s Coffee has been called the “living room of downtown Honolulu.” The atmosphere is warm and relaxing, the perfect ambience to bang out an essay or host a study group with classmates. Their coffee is expertly prepared by roasters that truly care about providing you with the best espressos possible. Made with only the best organic arabica beans, a Glazer’s cup of coffee is rich and incredibly smooth. And if you appreciate the small details, their espresso art is done quite well.

Tucked away in Mānoa Valley, Morning Glass Coffee and Café is quite the hidden gem. This spot is great if you are simply in the mood for good coffee and food. Like Glazer’s Coffee, Morning Glass offers some great espressos with a full body of developed flavors complete with leaf espresso art. Another drink to consider is their Hawaiian coffee of the day that features locally sourced beans that they roast in-house daily. And if you want some food along with your coffee, Morning Glass offers breakfast and brunch options like the Omelette en Casuela and their biscuits and gravy.

Spilling the Beans: Secret Menu Items

Dunkin Donuts

-The Nutella Surprise

To order this chocolate concoction, simply ask for a Mocha Iced Coffee with two shots of added hazelnut.

-Coco Berry Coffee

This drink is great for the spring and summer weather days. Simply order coffee with almond milk and a few shots of coconut and blueberry to taste.


-Polyjuice potion Frappuccino

Starbucks seems to have an obsession with Harry Potter motifs for their secret menu items. To brew this potion, ask for a cherry blossom frappuccino; strawberries and crème frappuccino with white mocha sauce drizzle lining and matcha powder. Add one shot of espresso for tall and grande and two for venti. Lastly add one pump of vanilla for tall, another half for grande and two whole pumps for venti.

-Hot Butterbeer Latte

Ask for steamed whole milk. Add caramel, toffee nut and cinnamon dolce syrup. Next, add whipped cream and salted caramel bits on top or opt out for creme brulee toppings. And lastly, add a shot of espresso or two if you want an emphasis on the coffee taste. This drink is especially delicious for the colder months.