Coffee vs. tea, free hot water, and other things about foody places

I drink, like, three cups of tea a day. Sometimes four. It's getting kind of ridiculous. And I love trying new kinds of tea. If you bought me a basket of 20 kinds of tea for Christmas or something, I would ... explode. In my oh-so-humble opinion, I would say tea is a better choice than coffee for any student using caffeine to stay awake during class, during study periods, during late-night essay forays, or during the perilous commute home (so you don't miss your stop -_-). Tea can normalize your blood pressure; it abounds in "flavonoids," amino acids and vitamins, and can aid in the prevention of coronary disease and diabetes by "reducing blood-glucose activity" (this must mean "lowering blood sugar level," but it's better to be specific). Ah, and everyone's favourite, antioxidants: black and green tea are full of those cancer-fighting molecules. Coffee has its own benefits, but it can raise your blood pressure in high quantities, and make you a bit ... crazy. It's also not as easy to get on campus. "But Liesl!" you say, "Coffee vendors are everywhere! Haveth you not laid eyes on the new Tim Hortons at Sid Smith, and its lack of English toffee-flavoured cappuccino*?!" Oh yes, my children, you can buy coffee everywhere. But, if you have your own mug, you can make tea anywhere. Find some hot water, and bring tea bags from home. There you go. Free caffeine. Methods that would have been described as "cheap" in past years are now being praised as "frugal" or "DIY" or "smart" this year, because of the stupid recession. People would have laughed at the idea of using vinegar as a household cleaner when one could buy Windex, but I swear I read an article in Metro advocating the use of vinegar and lemon. Now your babies can eat off the floor. I'm going to avoid ranting about the hypocrisy of our society and get back to the tea, which I kind of lied about: It is slowly getting more difficult to get hot water for free. Let's start with major chains. Tim Hortons will try to charge you an indeterminate amount of change for hot water, even if you have a mug. Second Cup previously offered hot water for free; now it does not. The charge is suddenly one full dollar, even if you have a mug. This leaves Starbucks. For now, Starbucks gives out hot water for free. Could it be because, economically speaking, it is doing the best out of the three? I wouldn't know. In terms of the St. George campus, it appears one can get free hot water at some of the Aramark cafeteria thingies, if one has a mug. Free hot water is also usually available from "smaller" vendors, or places where a huge chain is not nearby: Diabolos', Sammy's Student Exchange (the Arbor Room, Hart House), Wymilwood Café ... and all the Starbuckses.** While we're at it, this map is awesome. Provided by Campus Food and Beverage Services, it shows every location on campus that has food, and which locations are "Eat Smart" (whole grains, low-fat, healthy), halal, kosher; which have full meals and/or light snackage; which establishments are licensed, vegan- and/or vegetarian-friendly; which have wireless, accept "flex dollars," sell local food, AND ... - which have microwaves. There goes a whole post on that. - So kids, be healthy, be frugal. - Liesl PS. I can no longer advocate the slight awesomeness of Starbucks; I bought some coffee today, and my stomach just told me, quite violently, that the soy milk was not lactose-free. Make your own beverages, people! ^o^ * like every other Tim Hortons in the city?! ** Starbucki? Information pilfered from here:

6 comments on “Coffee vs. tea, free hot water, and other things about foody places

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  1. I find that the customer service at Starbucks is pretty good compared to the other two places. For example, I’ve spilled my drinks and received new, free ones.

    I’m surprised that there is free hot water at the Aramark places, considering how uptight they are about plastic utensils >_>

  2. I didn’t know 2nd Cup used to not charge for hot water, when I asked in the fall of ’09 it was $1, same as if you ordered tea. Tim Hortons charged smthg like 54 cents, and every starbucks I’ve visited it was free and they were a lot friendlier. I even used their cream and honey etc. (mostly when they’re not looking, which isn’t a problem since they’re too busy charging other people $4-5 a drink, but even when they are they don’t seem to mind.) McDonalds also doesn’t charge for hot water, you’ll have to ask for the cream though because it’s not at the condiments counter.

  3. I work at 2nd cup in Alberta, and we don’t charge for hot water.. i’m surprised that toronto ones do!