Guide to finals caffeination


Coffee beans from Ecogrounds in the University Union Lobby. (Photo by Lanea Florence)

Matt Lucas

As a college student, you probably consume coffee in one form or another, but at Sacramento State there are many options to help you through sleepless nights of studying for finals.

You could decide to get a quick fix at one of the many vending machines on campus (if they aren’t broken) or you could brave the long line at Starbucks — may the odds be ever in your favor.

Due to the compendium of choices on campus, there may be no clear favorite, but that’s fine. I am here to let you know what the best options are and help you solve the caffeination conundrum.


When it comes to the best coffee that won’t make your wallet cry, Ecogrounds is the place to go if you don’t need a super venti frappuccino whip with two shots of eye-opening ecstasy and just want straight coffee.

This coffee is cheap and is good for the price you pay — $1.80 for a small cup, when you would be paying $1.95 at Starbucks.

Ecogrounds is also located in the center of the University Union, so you can grab your coffee and then go straight to class or even head up the stairs to go study.

  • Cheapest options at Ecogrounds:
    • – $1.80 – Ecogrounds hot coffee (small)
    • – $2.20 – Ecogrounds cold brew (small)

Java City

If you are on the north side of campus, Java City is just as good of an option as Ecogrounds, since they brew the exact same coffee. Note the cheaper cold brew option.

  • Cheapest options at Java City:
    • $1.80- Java City hot coffee (small)
    • $1.90- Java City cold brew (small)

Vending Machines

If you are short on time and don’t care about the quality or price of your coffee, try any one of the various vending machines on campus.

They may be a little more expensive than Java City or Ecogrounds, but when it comes to convenience, you can’t beat it.

The only downside to using one of these machines is that they will sometimes break down. This doesn’t happen too often, but can put a damper on your day if you happen to fall prey to it.


  • Cheapest options at starbucks coffee machines:
    • $2.75- Starbucks Doubleshot chocolate coffee (11 ounces)
    • $3.25- Starbucks Doubleshot white chocolate coffee (11 ounces)         


Now if you are looking for the highest quality caffeination, but don’t necessarily care about how long it takes or how much you have to spend, Starbucks is by far one of the most popular coffee spots on campus.

Starbucks will give you the best coffee, but has the downside of long lines and the added detriment of price.

If you want a shorter line, but still need that Starbucks fix — get your body moving and go to the Starbucks truck located next to Parking Structure III. There tend to be less people at that location on campus.

  • Cheapest Coffee Options at Starbucks:
    • $1.95 hot coffee (tall)
    • $2.25 cold brew (tall)

Grumpy Mule

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the worst option on campus. When it comes to the worst coffee (that isn’t coming from a machine), two words come to mind — Grumpy Mule. The chunks of coffee grounds will fall straight into your drink. What a glorious present it is when you must chew your way through your morning beverage.

  • Cheapest Grumpy Mule options
    • $ 1.80 hot coffee (small)
    • $ 2.20 cold brew (small)

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