Print Edition: July 18, 2012
Frustrated with trying to find somewhere on campus to study? Stacks are too quiet – someone sneezes or pretends to subtly open a bag of chips and that train of thought you had is a lost cause. The cafeteria is too loud and too smelly – a room full of students trying to let their brains relax, mixed with the clashing aroma of world cuisine. Study rooms feel too much like class; common areas are too crowded or uncomfortable.
I can’t count how many papers have been written and how many exams have been crammed for from the comfort of a coffee shop. But hey, Starbucks is expensive. However, hiding among the overpriced books and smattering of UFV apparel at the bookstore is a cozy little coffee shop boasting certified local and organic beans and a place to comfortably enjoy it.
The Press Cafe is located inside the Abbotsford campus bookstore, in the far right corner. Their summer hours are in alignment with the bookstore’s hours, but there is a separate entrance. You are free to enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday. These hours are, of course, more convenient than AfterMath and more consistent than the cafeteria.
A 12 oz. cup of coffee from Starbucks goes for $1.96, the same size is sold right on campus and ground and brewed in front of you for $1.85. If you prefer the smoother, fuller flavour of a French pressed cup of coffee, The Press Cafe offers a 12 oz. press in two different roasts for $2.
An elaborately decorated chalkboard highlights the coffee offerings as well as a lunch menu, delivered daily from Little Saigon Vietnamese in Abbotsford. Students can get a hot cup of fresh soup for under $3 or a larger meal for less than $8. They also offer breakfast: a Jimmy Dean egg sandwich and cup of coffee for $4 (a Starbucks breakfast sandwich alone is $4.42). The counter is also home to other food preparation equipment that the menu appears not to utilize; I would hope that students and staff continue to support and facilitate growth of The Press Cafe in order to expand what it can offer us.
But the student friendly prices are not the only selling feature of this hidden gem on campus. I meandered through the doors while investigating for this article, and I ended up staying the afternoon, and I went back the following week. The quality high tables make for a comfortable place to spread out homework, or you can park it in one of the leather chairs around the coffee table and relax with a book. Daylight pours through the floor to ceiling windows and music plays, covering up any business noise from the bookstore. The cafe is organized in such a way that traffic is directed away from the tables and allows for a virtually uninterrupted study space that doesn’t feel like a silent cave with fluorescent lighting.
If you are sick of the watered down, over-sweetened, questionable coffee from certain other “coffee shops” on campus, The Press Cafe is a convenient and affordable option that offers a warm and inviting study space and, for the moment, some privacy.