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The Bata Bean Sign with their slogan "Bata bean, Bata Boom!" est. 2019. Photo credit: Elisabeth Mill

Coffee, Chartwells, and Capitalism: Alternatives to Starbucks on Campus

Written by
Emi Habel
and
and
November 2, 2022
Coffee, Chartwells, and Capitalism: Alternatives to Starbucks on Campus
The Bata Bean Sign with their slogan "Bata bean, Bata Boom!" est. 2019. Photo credit: Elisabeth Mill

There are around 3 things you will typically find in a university student’s hands, including, but not limited to:

  • A phone (with the brightness turned all the way down, of course)
  • A vape or a lighter
  • Some type of caffeinated or sugared drink

Unfortunately, Trent students have been struggling out in the wild, with their most beloved hunting ground, Starbucks at the Student Centre, becoming uninhabitable at all hours of the day because of the ridiculously long queues and waiting times. Although research has yet to be published, packs of students are already demonstrating the concerning side effects of Starbucks-withdrawal in their increased fatigue and mood fluctuations. And coffee’s not the only prey anymore, with Starbucks Baristas themselves becoming prey in this highly-populated, buzzing habitat. 

So, what’s the remedy?

Maybe hiring more staff at Starbucks, but that’s not a beast I’m willing to take on nor a territory I know anything about. Coffee continues to be in high hunting demand, so maybe it’s time to start migrating to new territories.

In collaboration with Brazil Gaffney-Knox’s artwork of the Symons campus, I have compiled the hot spots where coffee can be found on campus:

Map of the Symons Campus at Trent University drawn by Brazil Gaffney-Knox with red icons indicating where coffee can be found: The Athletic Centre (‘76 Sips); the Bata Library (Bata Bean); the Student Centre (Starbucks); Lady Eaton College (cafeteria); "Champlain" Riel College (Seasoned Spoon and cafeteria); Gzowski College (Electric City and cafeteria); Otonabee College (Tim Hortons and cafeteria).

The Bata Bean 

Hours: 8AM-3PM (closed on Saturdays and Sundays)

Location: 1600 West Bank Drive (on the right of the second-floor entrance doors to the Bata Library)

Opened in 2019 in the building shared with the Bata Library, the Bata Bean is a Chartwells-owned coffee shop on campus. While you might remember me calling out Chartwells in my article discussing what the closure of the Planet Bakery on campus implied for students, or Nick Taylor’s report of the rally that took place in support of Food Service Workers who were in the midst of a labour dispute with Chartwells in early 2018, I’m not going to be calling them out in this article. Gotta choose our battles one day at a time, folks. 

Perks 

  1. It’s a quick self-service, meaning there are rarely any lines and you’re out of there in time for your lecture.
  2. It’s close to Starbucks, making it a good last-minute change of plans when the line at Starbucks fills the entire Student Centre. It’s also a nearby option when you’re studying or have class on the West Bank. 
  3. You can make it taste like Starbucks: they just added numerous flavoured syrups to their options, ranging from caramel to Irish cream, to hazelnut and plain ol’ vanilla. They also have an entire fridge dedicated to cold brew (nitrogen tank and all) that makes for a great iced latte.
  4. They have muffins, scones, cookies, croissants, bagels, and even a toaster. Unfortunately, it appears they don’t have any certified halal, gluten-free or vegan options, making it difficult for students with special diets to eat here.
  5. It’s approximately 60-75% cheaper than Starbucks

There is one thing to remember: the Bata Bean is a reusable cup-only coffee shop, so don’t forget to bring your tumbler or buy one there for $5. 

‘76 Sips Café

Hours: 9AM-6PM (closed on Saturdays and Sundays)

Location: 1650 West Bank Drive (inside the Athletic Centre, to the left of the front desk)

Picture of the ‘76 Sips Café Logo.

The youngest debutant at Trent, ‘76 Sips Café at the Athletic Centre just opened this semester in partnership with its parent company, Jo Anne's Place Health Foods, and sister branch in the south end of Nogojiwanong-Peterborough.

Perks

  1. Though their Trent location is undoubtedly entrenched in Chartwells red tape, choosing ‘76 Sips still means that you are supporting a local business and pouring a percentage of your money (or meal plan) back into our local economy.
  2. There is a selection of gluten-free baked goods, with a sheet of allergens nearby the register for customers to check if needed. Unfortunately, their gluten-free options are not certified.
  3. Their iced coffee is made with espresso beans, so, yes, it will wake you up. 
  4. They offer multiple smoothie options, which can either fuel you up or replace a Frappuccino, if Frappuccinos were made with Canadian blueberries and maple syrup. And if you request to add vanilla protein powder, it tastes like ice cream. 
  5. They currently have various healthy, ready-made meal options like wraps and potato salad (the only vegan potato salad for kilometres). When I asked the manager of ‘76 Sips’ Trent location if there was anything they would like me to mention in this article, they told me the café will be launching a new menu for the winter semester with more warm, filling meal options.

It’s approximately 30-40% cheaper than Starbucks.

Sadleir House

Hours: 9AM-9PM (closed on Sundays)

Location: 751 George Street North 

While Sadleir House might not be on campus (but a short ride downtown via bus routes 6 and 11), it absolutely had to come on the list as an honorary mention for a few reasons:

Perks 

  1. Free coffee - that’s right folks, you can get coffee for the price of $0.00 at Sadleir House on the ground floor. They also have sugar, milk, cream, and non-dairy milk whenever possible. 
  2. You can come grab our latest publication and say hi to our editors, Bethan and Sebastian! Arthur has an office space at Sadleir House, and you might even spot a journalist in the wild here and there. 
  3. You have an entire (almost) building to study or chill in! There are couches, tables, large windows, and plenty of sunshine. The story of how Sadleir House came to be and exist as the radical, not-for-profit communal space it is now is quite unique and worth a short read on their website. 
  4. It’s 100% cheaper than Starbucks.
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