The Coffee Cup: MUD vs Starbucks

Media provided by Alejandro Izurieta ’25.

In Cooper Square there are two coffee shops that Grace students often go to: the kiosk Astor Plate (commonly known as MUD) and Starbucks — both are extremely popular. Many students are more inclined to go to one shop over the other. So what does our community like more, Starbucks or MUD, and why?

First, let’s look at their backgrounds. Starbucks is a large coffee chain that was founded in 1971. It’s been a staple of many major cities for decades, and is mainly famous for drinks like the Pink Drink or Unicorn frappuccino. MUD is not a mega-chain. It has a truck, a restaurant and a kiosk that is right up the block from 46 Cooper Square. Starbucks is known for its variety of sweet caffeinated drinks while MUD is known for its rich coffee and sandwiches. 

Why would students choose MUD? I go to MUD for two reasons: coffee preferences and wait time. When I order an iced black coffee every morning, it takes about 20 seconds from my order to leaving, coffee in hand. I prefer the coffee blend they use because it’s stronger, giving the brew much more flavor.

Alana A. 24’ says that MUD is cheaper and there are concerns about Starbucks worker ethics. 

On the topics of Starbucks, many students prefer the chain coffeehouse  because of the variety of options in both food and drink. At Starbucks, there are a lot more sweet drinks, while MUD seems to have more of a focus on the quality of the coffee. 

Another reason is that certain Starbucks drinks are often trendier. TikTok and Instagram populate our feeds, leading to loud and constant Starbucks advertisements. 

Christina J’. 25 said that she likes Starbucks more because of the order ahead option and the appeal of being able to sit inside.

Starbucks and MUD both have a large student base. Which coffee shop you go to depends on your priorities. I prefer MUD, and I go to MUD every morning for the taste and the shorter wait, compared to Starbucks.