The caffeine hierarchy of the Oakland Center

Michael Pearce, Editor-In-Chief

All college students love caffeine. This is a fact of life. So, I set out to define the best options for getting through your afternoon fatigue in the Oakland Center.

I boiled Zingerman’s down to just hot and iced coffee, since there are many options to choose from. I will be using a 5-point scale for my ratings, based on effectiveness, price and taste. I could not include all options like Pepsi and Diet Pepsi, so I chose the drinks that are mainly used for a caffeine boost.

  • Hi-Ball energy seltzer – 5/5: This is the Holy Grail of OC caffeine options. It is expensive, but acts like liquid B12 shots and tastes like a non-alcoholic White Claw. Imagine a peach claw with caffeine and zero calories. Elite. It also has ginseng in it, which I’ve learned from Red Dead Redemption: 2 provides me with extra health bars on my player.
  • Starbucks Doubleshot Espresso – 5/5: This stuff packs a mean punch. I had my doubts about it but this little can of espresso made me feel like I had electricity going through my veins. I was ready to hop in the ring and beat Tyson Fury in a boxing match. Tasted great, priced well, SLAPPED like no other.
  • Rockstar Pure Zero – 4/5: $2.69 gets you a can of this drink that was obviously created in Dexter’s Laboratory. This drink makes you see sounds and hear colors, it’s insane. It doesn’t taste too great, but is reasonably priced and hits like a Mack truck. It has 240 MILLIGRAMS OF CAFFEINE. I seriously felt like I was a superhero after drinking this. If it didn’t taste like a boiled Sour Patch Kid, then it’d get a 5.
  • Kombucha – 3/5: Many don’t think of Kombucha as a caffeinated drink, but it has around 60mg in the Kevita: Master Brew. It is tasty to me, but expensive and does not pack the biggest punch. The effectiveness and cost drop Kombucha to 3/5.
  • Mountain Dew Kickstart- 3/5: Kickstart tastes like I’m drinking the syrup from a fountain machine, but it is very affordable and gives you a small boost of energy. Not effective or tasty enough for my liking. It is tastier than the items that are further down on my list — and much cheaper — which is why it gets a slight bump above these next items that rank below it.
  • Zingerman’s iced coffee – 3/5: The iced coffee is much better. Iced coffee is better when sweeter, so the weird sweetness of the hot coffee is OK here. The Zingerman’s cold brew you can buy on the shelves is comparable to this as well. A little expensive, but effective and tastes good.
  • Chocolate covered espresso beans – 2/5: These are weird. They have an unsettling crunch, but taste solid. The chocolate helps. They are a little expensive at $3, and are marginally effective. They’re very middle-of-the-road. Also, they have more calories and sugar than other options.
  • Awake Chocolate – 2/5: I give this a 2/5 solely because of the amount of calories it has and the fact that it is mildly effective. It gets you energized for sure, but paying $2 for a bar of chocolate that just gives you a mild boost of energy isn’t the best option you could get.
  • Starbucks cappuccino – 2/5: This is sort of like the Awake chocolate. There’s a ton of sugar and calories in each Starbucks cappuccino drink, and they’re not too cheap either. I love coffee, but I’d rather get something with next to no calories instead of this. A straight up hot coffee would hit better, but this for sure tastes better … because sugar is a hell of a drug.
  • Zingerman’s hot coffee – 1/5: This gets one star solely because of effectiveness. It gets the job done, but it tastes awful and is an acceptable price. Definitely choose something else over the traditional drip coffee. It is weirdly sweet and bitter at the same time.

After taking all of these in, I need a nap. Make sure to drink caffeine in moderation, or you’ll end up like me.