The Great Daily Texan Coffee Taste Test 2012

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Finals are upon us. Colder weather has finally found its way south. Finishing the semester is a matter of staying alert through exams, papers and projects and staying warm. We’ve asked five of the Drag’s prominent coffee purveyors about their three top-selling cold-weather drinks and tasted and compared them. For each store, we’ve designated our favorites after considering their price, needed caloric investment and necessary heat factor. The results of the Great Daily Texan Coffee Taste Test 2012 below. — Aleksander Chan & Sarah-Grace Sweeney

CAFFE MEDICI
222B Guadalupe St.
512-474-5730
For when you’re not meeting your TA to discuss a paper.

Cafe Latte (BEST)
Price: $3.85 for a small
Calories: Not available (uses whole milk)
Heat factor: 4 (out of 5)
Taste: The best drink we tasted; steamed just right with a spiky espresso.

Regular Coffee (ALSO GOOD)
Price: $2.50 for a small
Calories: 0
Heat factor: 4 (out of 5)
Taste: Strong, bold flavor that’s aromatic and warming.

Cappuccino (BLEH)
Price: $3.50 for a small
Calories: Not available (uses whole milk)
Heat factor: 4 (out of 5)
Taste: Like a too-strong version of the latte.

COFFEE BEAN & TEA LEAF
W. 24th and Guadalupe St.
512-322-9820
For when you don’t want to walk the extra block to Starbucks.

Gingerbread Cookie Latte (BEST)
Price: $4.06 for a small
Calories: 250
Heat factor: 3 (out of 5)
Taste: Of the many gingerbread-flavored drinks, this one is the best. You can taste the ginger, but it’s not too strong.

Red Velvet Hot Cocoa (ALSO GOOD)
Price: $3.25 for a small
Calories: 320
Heat factor: 2.5 (out of 5)
Taste: It sounds like a bad idea, but as translated, it’s not half bad. Flavorful.

Winter Dream Tea Latte (WHATEVER)
Price: $3.79 for a small
Calories: 200
Heat factor: 4 (out of 5)
Taste: There’s nothing necessarily bad about this middle-of-the-road drink, it’s just so ... blah.

STARBUCKS
504 W. 24th St.
512-472-5211
For when you’re ready to admit you like it.

Gingerbread Latte (BEST)
Price: $3.55 for a tall
Calories: 190 (2% milk, no whip)
Heat factor: 1 (out of 5)
Taste: Of all the Seattle-based coffee purveyors overpowering flavored drinks, this is its most subtle and tastes just like the cookie.

Peppermint Mocha (ALSO GOOD)
Price: $3.55 for a tall
Calories: 250 (2% milk, no whip)
Heat factor: 1 (out of 5)
Taste: A liquid Andie’s Mint. A lukewarm, melted, liquified Andie’s Mint.

Caramel Brulee Latte (GROSS)
Price: $3.55 for a tall
Calories: 270 (2% milk, no whip)
Heat factor: 1 (out of 5)
Taste: Like regular coffee overloaded with CoffeeMate creamer and left sitting out for a few hours.

EINSTEIN’S BROS. BAGELS
2404 Guadalupe St.
512-457-8722
For when you need an excuse to get a bagel and schmeer.

Regular Mocha (BEST)
Price: $3 for a regular
Calories: 334 (with whip)
Heat factor: 3 (out of 5)
Taste: More like a cup of hot chocolate than caffeinated cocoa, it might be perfect for the coffee-averse.

White Chocolate Mocha (ALSO GOOD)
Price: $3.20 for regular
Calories: 419 (with whip)
Heat factor: 3 (out of 5)
Taste: It’s more like cookies and cream than white chocolate.

Caramel Macchiato (MEH)
Price: $3.20 for a regular
Calories: 250 (with whip)
Heat factor: 3 (out of 5)
Taste: Watery and not at all caramel-y.

7-ELEVEN
2600 Guadalupe St.
512-474-0885
For when you’re between paychecks.

French Vanilla Cappuccino (BEST)
Price: $1.19 for a small
Calories: Not available
Heat factor: 4 (out of 5)
Taste: Hot, buzzy Cocoa Puff milk. It’s your childhood breakfast, spiked with extra sugar.

Brazilian Bold (ALSO GOOD)
Price: $1.19 for a small
Calories: 0
Heat factor: 3 (out of 5)
Taste: Hot, bold brown water. There’s a definitely a body to this blend.

Exclusive Blend (BLAND)
Price: $1.19 for a small
Calories: 0
Heat factor: 3 (out of 5)
Taste: Flavorless. If you’re looking for something caffeinated to warm you up ... this will work.