Where can students find the cheapest coffee spots near London universities?

When it comes to studying and being productive, there's nothing quite like the aromatic, caffeine-filled embrace of a great cup of coffee. As the myriad of red double-decker buses and grand old buildings of London come into view, a steaming cup of java in hand can turn the ordinary into something extraordinary. This is the story for students attending universities in London, whether you're at UCL or another renowned institution. However, student life often comes with financial limitations, and splashing out on expensive coffees daily can quickly drain your resources. To help you out, we've compiled a list of the cheapest coffee spots around London universities, where both your taste buds and wallets will thank you.

London's Café Culture

No city does coffee quite like London. The city's café culture is a blend of its rich history and contemporary trends. With a tapestry of independent cafés and coffee chains dotting the streets, London has become a hub for coffee lovers. Whether you're a student pulling an all-nighter or simply need a caffeine boost before a day full of lectures, the city has a café for every taste and budget.

Selecting the perfect café isn't just about the coffee; it's about the ambience, the food, the view, and most importantly, the price. In the next sections, we will guide you through some hidden gems where you can find quality coffee without breaking the bank.

Students' Paradise: The MAFS Café

Situated just a short walk from the UCL campus, the MAFS Café is the perfect spot for students looking for a cheap coffee fix. With its simplistic yet chic decor, MAFS offers a cosy atmosphere for students to chill, study, or simply enjoy a great cup of coffee.

The café is known for its quality coffee, with prices as low as £1.50, making it an affordable option for students. The menu boasts a wide variety of options, from espresso to latte, catering to every coffee lover's taste. MAFS also offers a 10% discount for students who display their student card at the counter. Besides, those who download their app get an additional one-time 15% off on any order, making it even more budget-friendly.

A Slice of Italy in London: The Caffè Nero App

While independent cafés have their unique charm, sometimes you might crave the consistency and familiarity of a coffee chain. Enter Caffè Nero, a popular coffee chain in London. The closest branch to UCL is located on Tottenham Court Road, just a five-minute walk from campus.

But here's a tip: use the Caffè Nero app. Students who use the app can enjoy a free coffee for every nine bought – perfect for regular customers. Plus, the app frequently offers exclusive discounts and freebies, making your coffee experience even more enjoyable and affordable.

The Coffee-Book Blend: Waterstones' 5th View Bar & Food

There’s a certain romanticism about sipping coffee while surrounded by books. For students who enjoy this ambiance, Waterstones' 5th View Bar & Food is your haven. Located on the top floor of Waterstones Piccadilly, this café offers a panoramic view of London's skyline, perfect for a coffee-induced study session or an afternoon of leisure reading.

Prices are reasonable, with most coffees costing around £2.50. Students can also take advantage of their loyalty card scheme, where you receive a free coffee after purchasing nine. With its fantastic view, reasonable prices, and unique atmosphere, this café is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of London’s streets.

A Breath of Fresh Air: Park Cafés

Sometimes, all you need is a breath of fresh air and a change of scenery. London’s parks are home to many cafés that offer an escape from the city’s constant buzz.

For instance, the Serpentine Bar & Kitchen in Hyde Park offers budget-friendly coffee with a view of the Serpentine lake. Similarly, the Terrace Café in Regent's Park offers a range of cheap coffees, teas, and snacks, perfect for a study break or a chat with friends.

Though it takes a bit of exploring to find the cheapest cup of joe in the city, these park cafés are worth the adventure, combining the serenity of nature with the comfort of a hot, delicious drink.

In conclusion, while London might be known for its high living costs, it is still very possible for students to find affordable yet quality coffee spots around university campuses. Whether you prefer the cosy atmosphere of independent cafés, the consistency of coffee chains, the intellectual vibe of a bookstore café, or the serenity of park cafés, London has it all – and at student-friendly prices, too. So why wait? Embark on your coffee adventure today!

Social Media Hunting: Finding Cheap Coffee on Instagram

There's no doubt that Instagram is a goldmine for food and drink inspiration. From the aesthetic photos of latte art to the tantalising images of mouthwatering pastries, it's not hard to find coffee shops to try out. Did you know, though, that you can also use Instagram to hunt for cheap coffee spots in and around London's universities?

Here's a tip: Look for hashtags such as #LondonCoffeeShops, #CheapCoffeeLondon, or even #StudentCoffeeSpots. These hashtags often lead you to posts shared by fellow students or coffee lovers who have bagged a bargain. Aaron Edwards, an undergraduate at UCL, shared a post on Instagram about a hidden gem coffee shop, not far from campus, that offers a free hot drink to anyone who follows their Instagram account. Harrison Brocklehurst, another student, posted a photo of his loyalty card from Caffè Nero filled with stamps, hinting at the free coffee he earned.

Another method is to follow the accounts of local coffee shops. Many cafes, including MAFS Café and Caffè Nero, use their Instagram accounts to announce special deals and discounts. Emily Smith, a postgraduate student at UCL, managed to snag a free hot drink at MAFS Café by reposting one of their Instagram posts and tagging a friend, as per the café's instructions.

Finally, don't forget to check out the Instagram Stories of your fellow students. Many people use the "Swipe Up" feature to share Google Maps links to their favourite coffee shops, making it even easier for you to locate these cheap spots.

Saver's Tip: Free Coffee at London Universities

Who said you always have to pay for your coffee? If you know where to look, you can even find free coffee opportunities around London universities. Many educational institutions, aware of the students' love for coffee, offer complimentary hot drinks during specific events or at certain locations on campus.

For instance, during exam periods, some universities provide free hot drinks to help students power through their study sessions. Make sure to keep an eye on your university's social media pages or emails for announcements about such initiatives.

Moreover, many universities collaborate with local coffee shops to offer discounts or even free hot drinks. Chloe Carr, a student at UCL, spotted an Instagram post from her university announcing a partnership with a nearby café. All students had to do was show their student ID, and voila – a free hot drink.

Lastly, some student societies and clubs organise coffee mornings where attendees can enjoy free hot beverages. These events are not only a good way to score a free caffeine fix but also a great opportunity to socialise and meet new people.

Conclusion: The Coffee Hunt Continues

London, with its vibrant café culture and countless coffee shops, offers plenty of opportunities for students to find affordable places to enjoy a good hot drink. The thrill of the hunt – whether it's through Instagram hashtags, word-of-mouth from fellow students, or university initiatives – makes the find even more satisfying. It's not just about the price; it's about the whole experience – the atmosphere, the view, the taste of the coffee, and even the excitement of discovering a new cheap spot.

So, next time you're planning a study session or catching up with friends, don't immediately reach for your regular café's loyalty card. Instead, venture out, explore the city, and you might just find your new favourite coffee spot – without leaving a hole in your wallet. Remember, the joy of a cheap find is just as much the journey as it is the destination. Happy coffee hunting!

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