Opinion by Hannah Kremer, Newswire Intern
Victory Perk, a coffee shop located at the heart of Xavier’s campus in Gallagher Student Center (GSC), is frequently visited by many sleep-deprived students looking for a bite to eat and a cup of coffee. It is the most accessible coffee shop for Xavier students compared to the long walk up the hill to Starbucks. However, it also has a reputation for serving some questionable coffee to its customers.
As a first-year in my first semester at Xavier, I had high hopes about its convenience and its wide array of flavored syrups. Who doesn’t get excited about a lavender-flavored latte? I urged my suitemate to come with me, and we eagerly sprinted to GSC. I ordered an iced latte with oat milk, and by the looks of the long line behind us, I felt that the little shop had some promise. I drank it throughout the day without much thought, other than the nagging thought that my drink had a slightly sour taste. It wasn’t until later that I regretted my decision. To both mine and my roommates’ horror, my friend and I were violently sick that night, presumably because of the oat milk, but we tried to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Outside of this freak occurrence, though, I have heard nothing but disappointing news about Victory Perk’s coffee from my peers: the flavor was lacking and had a pungent taste to it or their customer service experience was dissatisfactory. I decided it was time to investigate where Victory Perk had gone wrong and search for some explanation as to why many avoid getting their morning pick-me-up there. Most importantly, I intended to find out if Victory Perk was worth going back to again. This is my analysis, formed through multiple visits, research and the expertise of a friend who just so happens to be a long-time worker at Starbucks.
The preparation of their drinks is one of the most disappointing aspects of the experience. Most trained baristas are taught that an espresso machine should be used for drinks such as lattes, americanos, macchiatos, cappuccinos, etc. It is the only way these drinks can be considered as such, as they are defined by their use of espresso. However, in the times I have ordered a latte, they have used their pitcher of cold brew, usually prepared 12 hours in advance, as cold brew should be. However, it does not belong in a latte. So what I was actually receiving was a coffee with milk and a flavor shot, not what I had actually ordered. But why else is this significant?
To make matters worse, Victory Perk employees tend to leave the cold brew pitcher sitting out on the counter out of convenience. However, this is a problematic practice. Cold brew, as is in the name, must be kept cold regularly. Otherwise, it’s just brew — and a questionable one at that. Using poorly maintained cold brew in a commonly-ordered drink that requires espresso will cause a sour, unpleasant flavor. Talk about leaving a bad taste in your mouth.
The company that Victory Perk uses, Crimson Cup Coffee, provides high-quality arabica beans. If you are unfamiliar, they are one of the two main types of coffee beans, the other being robusta. Generally, arabica beans are supposed to have a smoother, sweeter taste compared to robusta. However, I think it’s fair to say the quality of the coffee still suffers quite a bit despite the products Victory Perk uses.
Whether the employees are not being trained properly or they simply just don’t care, I’m not sure. However, if you are looking for a good cup of coffee, maybe it’s time to dust off that Keurig you haven’t touched since you moved in, or maybe the walk to Starbucks isn’t as daunting now compared to your other options. If you’re going to treat yourself to the brew you desperately need, you might as well do it right.