story | Svegli Davvero

On Friday, March 31, hungry students of Saga College were greeted by the appearance of Nicola Costa, master barista. Mr. Costa had been flown into Yale-NUS College from Italy to serve coffee in the Saga dining hall in the latest in a series of coffee one-ups, dubbed the “Yale-NUS Coffee War.”

It all began during the second semester of AY 2016/17 when Cendana College installed an expensive new coffee machine in their dining hall. However, things quickly escalated when Elm installed their own high-end drip coffee machine. Finally, Saga hired their own barista for weekend brunches.

None of the College Rectors interviewed by The Octant expressed any concern with the one-ups. Elm Rector, Tuco Salamanca, said that it’s all in good fun and builds Residential College (RC) spirit. “Besides, we really need to spend our budget on something,” he said.

However, the ever improving coffee is causing some concern for Café Agora, Yale-NUS’s on-campus café. “First Brewhouse and now this?” one Agora barista said, speaking on the condition of anonymity, “how are we supposed to compete?” He added that Agora was investigating a menu revamp to better compete with the competition. The menu will reportedly include squash-spiced chai-tea lattés and a new flappé frappé (its ingredients are still unknown).

Students reactions were mixed. Of the 15 students interviewed by The Octant, eight said that they appreciated the greater choice. Kafei Yin Junzi ’20 said that she needed something to wake her up for morning lecture. “What do you expect from a college that can’t end anything on time? Myles Long ’17 said.

Still, many were concerned. Christian Grey ’19, Earl of the newly established Tea-Society said that coffee was over-rated and unhealthy for students. These sentiments were echoed by Wellness Centre Head, Marsha Mellow, who added that, when consumed in high quantities, coffee could lead to headaches, restlessness and a lack of focus.

Chief Justice of the Judiciary and self-confessed coffee addict, Kopi Hore ’18, had this to say: “Coffee, coffee, coffee!”

Students also expressed hope that RCs might engage in a similar contest over vending machines. “Elm’s vending machine is too far away and doesn’t compare to Cendana’s,” Long said, “how about one-upping them for that?”

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