Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0. Attribution sfllaw at flickr.com

Whether it is a midsummer’s afternoon or a chilly morning, Tech students thrive on coffee for many reasons. Students require coffee to stay awake in class. It is the fuel that gets them through those dreadfully inevitable all-nighters.

Many coffee lovers, however, simply crave it for the taste. Tech provides us a few options as far as coffee dispensation goes, two of which are in high demand: Starbucks and Highland Bakery.

Both are classy establishments that attract all manner of folk due to their coffee and other amenities. Sometimes it is too hard for the average caffeine addict to choose between the two. Therefore, to partially ease the decision-making process for those new to the java life, the Technique has taken it upon ourselves to test the strength of the coffee, cakes and more found within these two campus staples.

Going back to the Tech classics, Starbucks has been the home of renowned coffee for many years. At any time of day, Starbucks is sure to garner a large line extending outside of the CULC or deep into the aisles of Barnes and Noble in Tech Square. From the hot and fresh brewed coffee to famous Tazo Teas and crème-based frappuccinos, Starbucks has built a strong brand at Tech. Likewise, Starbucks provides great and refreshing pastries and treats that compliment coffee like nothing else.

Scanning the Starbucks menu, two items stand out, the Orange Spice Iced Coffee and the Iced Lemon Pound Cake. After a relatively long wait, a small cup of coffee, overfilled with ice and complete with a thin slice of orange sitting on top, along with a small baggie with a piece of lemon loaf is handed over. After the first sip, it is clear that the strong coffee lacks the flavor that the name promises. The lack of tang from the orange and flavor from the spice is disappointing, as nothing but bitterness is present. However, the iced lemon pound cake provides a nice balance of sweetness, and the citrus flavor from the lemon thankfully adds to the coffee. The upbeat feeling from the cake, though, is ultimately drenched by the second-rate iced coffee.

Moreover, the six-dollar tab on the bill made it that much more unsatisfactory.

Moving on to the new Highland Bakery, another two items are chosen. The American classic Cappuccino and Cinnamon Roll prove a great combination in many households, and have subsequently been passed down to many a Tech student’s daily life.

After waiting in a practically nonexistent line, the coffee and cinnamon roll are in our hands in no time. Unlike the Starbucks coffee, the cappuccino rings high to the actual taste of coffee. The warmth of the coffee is even delightful on a hot summer afternoon. However, the lackluster cinnamon roll is sadly unappetizing. The roll simply cannot hold its own against the delicious pastries made at home. The taste is bland and the icing is crusty. Sadly, it is not worth the time or money.

With the cost reaching nearly the same level as Starbucks, Highland Bakery clearly fails in its stars with the pastry.

All in all, both meals come with pros and cons. Ultimately, Highland’s coffee and Starbucks’ pastry are the clear winners, but that is just from a single test. The real joy of having two major coffee vendors on campus lies in the endless amount of combinations available as a result. So grab a sleeve, pick a fork and food and get jittery.