An amateur’s guide to coffees at CoHo

May 11, 2023, 11:41 p.m.

Do you crave a well-crafted latte to kick-start your day? Are you looking for a new favorite coffee on campus but don’t know where to start? I, your amateur coffee enthusiast who has tried every coffee at the Coffee House (CoHo), am here to help.

I stumbled upon the shop’s varied coffee selection at the end of winter quarter when I was retreating from the expensive, sugary drinks of Starbucks. After trying a few staple coffee drinks from CoHo, I can say it rivals popular chains in both price and value.

While at Starbucks a grande caffe mocha with regular milk costs $5.25 after taxes, a medium mocha at CoHo only costs $4 before taxes. Additionally, the same Starbucks coffee can vary in quality based on the barista and time of day, but CoHo has pleasantly surprised me with its consistency. Their drinks, brewed from Mr. Espresso’s oak wood-roasted beans, have a comforting, brilliant taste. I have reviewed and compiled some notable drinks below for your caffeinated enjoyment.

Cappuccino

Price: $3.75 for a double-shot

Rating: 9/10

One cannot say they have truly been to CoHo without tasting the classic cappuccino. Taking a sip of the inch-thick layer of milk foam is like consuming a light cake—a wonderful experience that leaves you with a mouthful of warmth and fragrance. I have yet to experience the same with Starbucks cappuccinos. 

The CoHo cappuccino has the perfect amount of bitterness without leaving a persistent sour aftertaste in your mouth, something that Starbucks coffees troubled me with. I have a hard time putting down my CoHo cup. My only complaint is that, since much of the cup was filled with milk foam to begin with, I catch myself being disappointed by the half-empty cup after taking a few sips. 

Iced Latte

Price: $3.75 for a medium cup

Rating: 8/10

The latte is another must-have at CoHo. Having ordered the iced option at different times of the day, I can vouch that the quality and consistency of the coffee is solid, as with the cappuccino.

Despite the latte being one of my favorites, it has some pitfalls typical of CoHo coffees. One may find the drink to contain little coffee relative to milk, as with other drinks at this shop. The melting ice in the cup further dilutes the drink. This could be a drawback as much as a silver lining: the drink is less heavy on the palate than a Starbucks latte of the same size.

I am personally more disappointed by the unaffordability of milk substitutes for all CoHo drinks: there is an added charge of $1 for soy, almond or coconut milk, and $2 for oat milk. Substituting for plant-based milk at Starbucks only costs $0.70. Despite having a light lactose intolerance, I stick to the regular whole milk option in my CoHo orders due to the cost.

The CoHo iced latte drink sits on a CoHo table in Tresidder.
The CoHo iced latte is rated at 8/10 by Linda Liu. (Photo: LINDA LIU/The Stanford Daily)

Mocha

Price: $4 for a medium cup

Rating: 7.5/10

The CoHo mocha is perfect for anyone who is craving — but reluctant to opt for — the more expensive and high-calorie Starbucks mocha. The coffee retains much of the fragrance of the cappuccino, but adds a light chocolate-y spin. What I love the most about this drink is that it incorporates the taste of chocolate without the full sweetness of a chocolate bar. It gives me the thrill of drinking a fun coffee without the cloy of too much sugar.

This brings me to my main critique of the mocha: it contains much less flavor than I had hoped. When drinking the hot option, I have the sensation that I am drinking a full cup of milk rather than coffee. Therefore, I tend to prefer the iced mocha over the hot. The refreshing iciness makes up for my occasional lack of satisfaction with the flavor.

Havana Latte and Vanilla Bean Latte

Price: $4.25 and $4, respectively, for a medium cup

Rating: 7/10

These sweet sister drinks at CoHo are a fun take on the staple classic latte. The Havana latte contains a layer of sweetened condensed milk at the bottom of the regular latte, making it my go-to dessert drink. The vanilla bean latte is a similar sweet option but with a fresher flavor. These two are solid choices when I crave a palate adventure, but I sometimes find them to be too sweet to be enjoyable. Nevertheless, they still taste less sugary than most Starbucks drinks. I often order the iced option so that the sugar is diluted to just the right amount once the ice melts.

Caramel Macchiato

Price: $3.25 for a double-shot

Rating: 4/10

The caramel macchiato is the most disappointing drink I have tried at CoHo. I picked it up because I wanted a cozy wintery drink more exciting than a cappuccino, but the beverage did not live up to my expectations. The barista used Torani Caramel Syrup, which gave the coffee a similar taste to a Starbucks macchiato, or even one that you can make on your own in the dining halls. I would have appreciated a CoHo macchiato that distinguished itself from counterparts elsewhere.

Editor’s Note: This article is a review and includes subjective thoughts, opinions and critiques.

Yuanlin "Linda" Liu ‘25 is the vol. 265 Academics Desk Editor and Magazine editor. She was previously Managing Editor of the Arts & Life section during vol. 263 and 264. Contact her at lliu 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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