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A&Eats: Regents coffee – the best of the worst


There’s something beautiful about bad coffee. From bank coffee to church coffee, bad coffee has always welcomed me into its underwhelming arms. But, something is different about the Regents coffee, something that I and my peer Noah Forslund ’19, discovered on Sunday, March 3 at around 8:15 p.m.

For some historical context, allow me to enlighten you on the coffee vending machine that haunts the very halls of Regents. Many moons ago, Regents Hall of Science and Mathematics was blessed with a quasi-cage, where one could delight in a cup of joe before uncovering the dark arts of physics, psychology and [insert overenrolled humanities course]. But, like the Wild West (which is portrayed on the paper cups the Regents vending machine ejects) nothing lasts forever. Thus the coffee vending machine came from dust, and to dust it will one day return.

For this review, Forslund and I selected four of the 15 available drinks that the vending machine has to offer. We also selected the lowest “strength.” Without further ado, Forslund and I bring you our remarks on each of the four drinks we selected.

Fresh “It mostly smells like burnt warm” Ground Coffee:

The fresh ground coffee opened the floodgates of pain that Forslund and I endured for the remainder of the evening. Forslund said it reminded him of the dandelion detox tea from the Cage if you did not seep it long enough.

“Imagine that you’re in the movie “Mad Max: Fury Road” and they’re short on coffee instead of water, so people are more willing to drink it for the social capital it provides them,” Forslund said.

Yes, it was bad coffee, if you could even call it coffee. If the ground is always fresher on the other side then you can be sure that this coffee was not fresh.

Starbucks “Little more body to it” Coffee:

Forslund and I were both surprised at the Starbucks blend available at this decrepit tower of a vending machine. But, unlike the crown jewel of independent coffee makers that Mr. Starbucks prides himself in being, this coffee fell flat. I would say it had a similar taste to the fresh ground coffee, but a little more woody. Not in a good way, mind you, but if you spilled hot water on a dock and licked it off the wood sort of taste. Forslund had a similar sentiment, and when I asked him if he thought this coffee would make Mr. Starbucks proud he gave a keen response.

“It’s a new take on the wheel, but still using squares,” Forslund said.

Cafe “Starting to feel sick” Latte: Forslund and I were both skeptical about the cafe latte. The latte, the milk and foam rival of the cappuccino was a daring delicacy to be in a vending machine. Though I prefer the foam content of a cappuccino, I looked forward to dipping my feet in the latte pool. This one impressed Forslund, who imagined himself having a cup of this if need be.

“My favorite so far, for sure. I feel like if I was in a rush and didn’t have time to stop for Cage coffee I would spend a dollar on this,” Forslund said.

However, Forslund said he would need to reconsider his statement after I reminded him that the cafe latte was a $1 and twenty-five cents.

Overall this coffee wasn’t much, but an improvement over the previous cups. Though, my view may be clouded since at this point I was pretty espresso depresso over all this late night coffee.

Cappuccino “Looks like runoff water” Drink:

Oh boy, this was a disappointment. After being the most talked about cappuccino of 2019, this really broke Noah and me.

“If you left a jar outside beneath a tree during a downpour, maybe got bark and dirt flecks in it, this is what would be in the jar,” Forslund said.

Truly, this was a disappointment. There was not enough foam, it looked bad, and did not leave a good aftertaste in my already burnt mouth. When  asked to compare this with the cafe latte, Forslund favored the latte.

“Cafe latte is rounder. The cappuccino is a little bit more pointed like a Ginsu knife,” Forslund said.

Closing Remarks:

After all was said and done, this coffee was a bad time. But, as mentioned before, I find something magical about bad coffee. In this day of trendy coffee shops and colorful drinks, sometimes I need to be reminded about what really bad coffee is, to gain a little perspective. Forslund’s closing remarks highlight this when he evoked the western images that littered the coffee cups. He was reminded of the dream of a better life tied to the Wild West trope, but don’t think this coffee fulfills that dream for happiness.

“The makers of this machine are pioneers in their own right, however, I think in this case the enterprising American spirit has once again failed, and failed spectacularly,” Forslund said.