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Coffee shop wars: battle of the bean

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Coffee shop wars: battle of the bean


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With the first round of exams and papers bound to hit agendas in the near future and midterms looming in the distance, Mercerians new and old will be searching for a coffee shop with fast internet and quality caffeine to energize and motivate. Three coffee shops near and dear to students’ hearts are evaluated to assist you when weighing your options.

Everyone is familiar with this “green giant.” Since its founding in 1971, this sprawling company has become emblematic of the coffee craze worldwide, hosting a symbol that is universally recognizable and on just about every street corner.
While nonconformists and patrons of local java joints loathe this monster of a distributor and bemoan its prices, Starbucks wins major brownie points for consistency. “Starbucks [gets] your order right every time,” said former music student Edward Atkinson. A venti-skim-double drip latte is interpreted the same at its Times Square store as its quaint corner location in Fayetteville, Ga. The convenience of interstate locations make this shop an easy stop for weary travelers, and installations in grocery stores, shopping malls and college campuses enforce Starbucks’ monopoly in coffee consumption. Its reward program is unparalleled, because few coffee chains can compete with its annual profits.
When looked at from the perspective of a discerning coffee connoisseur, one can notice a few flaws. Commercialization keeps Starbucks from being a personal experience. If you have been inside one location, you have visited them all. The quality of their whole bean coffee is undeniable, but their blended drinks make a mockery of traditional cafes. Words like “frappuccino” and “macchiato” have come to be commonplace in the vernacular. To say that Starbucks is a household name is true, but to snobby coffee-goers it will always represent all that is inherently wrong with globalization.
Joshua Cup

Located on Washington Avenue, Joshua Cup is a treasured secret for its customers. Its subdued, chic atmosphere and high-quality coffee is what keeps Mercerians coming back for more. Joshua Cup is a favorite of Sara Black, Mercer student: “The coffee is better than Jittery Joe’s and the atmosphere is better than Starbucks.” Like its competitors, Joshua Cup offers customers a range of blended and espresso beverages, but keeps true to traditional preparation. A macchiato is an espresso shot with a dollop of steamed milk, not an overdone caramel syrup catastrophe. The store itself is divided into two spaces, one hosting the brewing station and another which can be closed to reduce noise. “There’s more space to move around and find somewhere comfortable, like the side room if you really need quiet and focus or the main room if you want to be around more of the coffee shop hustle and bustle,” said Marshall. Joshua Cup keeps similar hours to Jittery Joe’s, opening 30 minutes earlier on weekdays, and offers wireless service that is considerably faster than Mercer internet. Its location outside of walking distance deters most students from visiting, but its loyal constituency speaks for its quality beverages and comfortable environment.
Jittery Joe’s

If you are unfamiliar with this Mercer mainstay, you are blind, deaf and most certainly living in an altered version of reality. This store is always packed with college students, professors, law and medical students and Maconites. Run by a personable band of hipster students and young adults, Jittery Joe’s rewards its loyal customers with its drink cards. When I was a freshman, every staff member knew my drink order and where I usually liked to sit. Its hours are perfect for stretched and stressed Mercerians; doors open at 7 a.m. and close at midnight every day of the week, with a 24-hour schedule during finals week. Located right across the street from the Lofts at Mercer Village, it is a natural choice for students to grab a bagel or coffee in between classes, and is a common meeting place for friends and business partners.
What’s the catch? Students crowded around electrical outlets are frequently frustrated at the slow speed of its wireless internet; whether this is a Mercer problem, or can be attributed to the number of students on the network is not the concern of this article.
Other students commented on the quality of coffee: “Jittery Joe’s [coffee] is bitter and has a horrible after-taste,” said Dana Marshall.
The space of the actual store is also a straight slab without a real division between a stage where local performers entertain and a study area, a situation that can get annoying when there are a lot of customers conversing.

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No Responses to “Coffee shop wars: battle of the bean”

  1. Dude on September 21st, 2011 8:52 pm

    Hey Emily, if you don’t like Jittery Joe’s that’s alright, but, your blatant bias shines through in your article. Weak.

  2. Emilygarrott on September 21st, 2011 10:10 pm

    Jittery Joe’s just happens to be my favorite of the three, so obviously I tend to judge it a bit more harshly. I tried my best to objectively compare the shops and get students’ opinions. If you would like to write a response or your own judgments of Macon’s coffee shops, you are more than welcome to submit a letter to the Opinions Editor at


  3. Confuddled on September 22nd, 2011 1:10 am

    Em, I kinda agree with dude but I know you frequent.  I’m surprised how you wrote them up since you are in there all the time.  You commented on the performance space but not at all on the coffee.  Do you just not want people there so you have more room and coffee?

  4. Knows What's Up on September 21st, 2011 10:38 pm

    I can remember freshman and sophomore year where I could find Emily not in her room, not in the UC, not in the library, but Jittery Joe’s. She’s pretty much obsessed with Jit Joe’s. What’s weak is your unintelligent rebuttle. Freshman? Probs.

  5. MaryNichols on September 22nd, 2011 10:07 am

    Regardless of which one is the author’s favorite, it is appropriate journalism to give each location a fair and unbiased review. This was obviously not the case, and as an employee of Jittery Joe’s, I am extremely disappointed that this article may deter new customers from trying our coffee because of a bad review. Do better next time, Mercer Cluster.

  6. Jitterylover on September 22nd, 2011 11:25 am

    The article was extremely well-written and I can tell Emily put a lot of hard work into it.  This is not a hard news story, it’s a review.  A feature.  Opinions, whether they are from the people being interviewed or from the writer of the article, are going to play a part in the story. I think people hold journalists to an unfair standard sometime. You can’t seriously expect every single journalist to be an un-opinionated drone. 

    And let’s be honest:  Jittery Joe’s is not going to lose that much business over this, if any at all.  The regulars and diehards are still going to frequent (it certainly hasn’t deterred me) and newbies are going to choose it just so they don’t have to drive anywhere.  The convenience holds a lot more weight than you think. 

  7. guest on September 22nd, 2011 6:53 pm

    I thought the article portrayed everything pretty equally. I guess the one thing that I would have suggested, which seems to be on everyone’s mind, would be to have included someone else’s opinion of the coffee… just have Dana’s single opinion of the coffee kind of made that article blip seem like that is what everyone thinks of their coffee. 

    In addition, with the views of how it is as a study and internet space makes it seem like this article is about “the best coffee shop to study at” it mentions a lot about the internet speed and noise when it comes to study. I don’t personally go to coffee shops to study, but rather socialize with my friends and enjoy the occasional entertainment they provide.

    The article was good, but it could have been a little more well rounded.

  8. Flour on September 22nd, 2011 7:03 pm

    For this opinion article was it the opinion of Ms. Garrott opinion, or the opinions of others she sought out to write the article? I think it includes a little of both. If she was going to include others’ opinions, she should have given the negatives and positives of both, especially about how the coffee is. Now, if she had used just her opinion she could have put whatever she wanted.

  9. Daniel Bolt on September 24th, 2011 1:40 am

    I’m a senior at Mercer and I’ve never had a problem with Jittery Joe’s.  I love the atmosphere, employees, and the coffee they serve there.  I know that there are several different types of coffees that they brew there depending on the day, so perhaps Dana Marshall went there on a day they were serving a darker roast.  I love the variety of coffees they have and the fact that the employees are willing to talk to you about the different types of beans and drink preparation methods.

    I know that reviews are subjective by nature, but I just think that Jittery Joe’s should have been given a fairer chance.  This review seems to paint a better picture of Starbucks. 

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Coffee shop wars: battle of the bean