Spotlight: Coffee Society

Ever since I renounced coffee chains for their arguably exorbitant prices, I’ve been looking for ways to enjoy good coffee at a reasonable cost. This has led me down a path of discovery far beyond what I thought I’d learn. Perhaps even beyond what I thought there was to learn.

Cutting the cost of coffee

Matt, the head of Coffee Society
Cameron, Coffee Society

A shop-bought cup of coffee can cost around thirty times as much as a fairly simple home cafetiere brew. It’s been my ambition for a while to bring down the cost of the drink while maintaining a good taste, and although ten pence per cup [calculated by price of coffee/number of drinks made] is probably not bad at all, I’ve found an even cheaper way to enjoy quality coffee. It also comes with education and company: the University of York Coffee Society.

Coffee Society takes place Sunday middays in the convivial comfort of YourSpace (behind the Physics building on West Campus). The first time I went, I was amazed by how friendly and welcoming the atmosphere was.

Cafe culture

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I reckon there’s something very special about collective coffee drinking. It might be an association which I developed in my two years of Philosophy A-level. For each lesson, I’d make a nuclear-strength black coffee, sit back in my chair, and let the heat and power of it aid my musings and contributions to the class. It really felt like coffee was bringing us closer together. A hot drink drunk socially can make any place feel like home. And as that class did, so does coffee society. It’s a few hours of a Sunday where a room on campus feels like home.

As for the conveners of coffee society, they’re both knowledgeable and approachable. They’ve definitely helped me with my ambition to learn more about coffee. I knew nothing about the state of coffee before being ground. Now I could tell you the difference between a Robusta and an Arabica (…I hope that sounds impressive).

All the facts I’ve learnt are so interesting and yet none of this information comes from something like a set-piece speech in the session. It’s from asking questions to the conveners; questions to which I get an answer somehow seamlessly gauged to my level of coffee knowledge. 

A blend of themes


Each week tends to have a theme, too. Themed sessions are great for discovering methods, blends, roasters, and variants of coffee; along with buying tips and practical applications for home-brewing.

Before coffee society, I could safely say I despised the idea of milk in coffee. Yet from going to a ‘milky coffees’ session with an open mind and knowledge of the baristas’ form, I’ve now had myself a couple of cracking lattes. Maybe one day I’ll stop thinking ‘cold brew’ tastes like you made yourself a coffee and forgot about it.

Coffee Society does a fantastic job of informing, educating, and entertaining; and you know what – its public service nature doesn’t stop there: a year’s membership is £4.

CoffeeSoc membership is open to everyone; and with it, you get as much coffee as you’d like throughout the year. Perhaps this spotlight will have made you intrigued to embrace cost-effective coffee consumption. Friends can be made, flavour can be maintained, and student budgets can be kept to. In the words of an advert for a certain Yorkshire coffee brand: “phwoar, that’s decent!”

Read more student blogs about societies

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Hey, I'm Stefan - a 1st Year Undergraduate Film and TV Student living on East Campus. I like simple things, consistent things, and cheap things. I also love the idea of people having a fully direct say in politics.

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