If you’re a dedicated reader who’s wondering why I’ve been away for five weeks, it’s because my life has been fucked with school and will continue to be fucked with work until I finally go to the grave after a lifetime working 70 hours a week for people I will hate. It’s definitely better than starving under a bridge, but sometimes I wish I hadn’t been born into a family that demands so much of itself.
That said, I’ve also been playing Fate/Extra a bit. It’s fun but it also has problems. I can’t recommend it to players who aren’t already fans of the Fate series. Maybe I’ll post a more in-depth review at some point.
Since I’m back at school, I’ve been looking for more caffeine-enhancement options. And I’ve found that, although it definitely isn’t the best coffee you can find, instant is one of the cheapest and most convenient forms of caffeine intake available. It’s especially good for students who don’t have any time or money to spare. So if you’re not willing to illegally buy Adderall or Modafinil without a prescription, consider these study aids:
1) Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Colombia Medium
I know I said “cheap” a few sentences ago, but Starbucks instant coffee, as you could perhaps guess, is not cheap. I got a package of eight instant coffee packs from Kroger for seven dollars, which is a great deal if you usually buy coffee at an actual Starbucks but which isn’t so great if you usually make it at home.
VIA is pretty decent. It doesn’t have so much of that weird aftertaste that instant coffee is known for, and I would even say it’s better than Starbucks’ regular “Pike Place” brew (which I don’t like, so this isn’t a high compliment.) And at Starbucks’ quote of 130-140 mg of caffeine per pack, one of these will get your ass moving – depending on your tolerance, anyway.
That said, I won’t be buying VIA again because it’s too expensive.
2) Cafe Bustelo Espresso Instant Coffee
This is what I’ll be buying instead. Cafe Bustelo is stocked at the supermarket (at my local Kroger, anyway) in boxes of six for one dollar each. I can’t find the caffeine info anywhere, but it carries a kick, and it’s at least as strong as the Starbucks blend and probably stronger.
It’s also pretty good at far as instant coffee goes. Cafe Bustelo is a well-respected brand that specializes in Cuban-style coffee. While these packs of instant coffee aren’t going to taste the same as a freshly brewed cup at a Miami or Havana cafe, they are definitely better than the shitty Folgers/Nescafe powder you’ll find occupying the kitchen cabinets in most parts of the world. At less than twenty cents a pack, I’m basically losing money not buying these things. If you’re looking for a quick, cheap, and not-horrible-tasting coffee solution, I’d highly recommend Cafe Bustelo Instant. They’re not even paying for this endorsement, I promise. I wish they were, but they aren’t.
3) Trader Joe’s Instant Coffee Packet
I go to Trader Joe’s at least twice a month. They have a great selection of stuff that you can’t get at most other places, like decent hummus and pita bread and good frozen food packages. Unlike Whole Foods, a lot of their products are also affordable. So when I saw this weird instant coffee packet on the shelves, I had to try it.
I say weird because the packet itself is a lot bigger than you’d expect. The reason for this is that Trader Joe has put powdered milk and sugar into the packet along with the instant coffee powder. This is something I wasn’t thrilled about, because I like to drink coffee black or occasionally with some cream – but never with sugar. For that reason, Trader Joe’s instant coffee pack was my least favorite among the three I tried. However, they are cheap (two dollars for a box of ten) and if you can’t stand coffee without milk and sugar, this might be the instant coffee pack for you.
Good luck with your studies/work. As for me, I’m going to continue to be not dead and to post here as often as I can. That’s the plan, at least. Law school might just kill me at some point.