Judging Java: Gloria Jean’s

Written By Jake Dabkowski, Co-News Editor

Most college-aged kids seem to be under the impression that all cups of coffee are the same, but in reality, not all coffee is created equal. In this column I review the various coffee shops near Point Park University, all as part of my search to find the perfect cup of coffee.

Gloria Jean’s coffee is the closest coffee shop to campus that isn’t owned by the university. Located just a block from Village Park, it’s an ideal spot for students to grab a quick cup, especially if lines at Point Perk are long. But is it worth the price?

One important thing to note is that Gloria Jean’s offers a ten percent student discount for all Point Park students that show their student IDs. Before ordering my coffee, I thought long and hard about whether or not I should use this discount.

On one hand, I think it could be interpreted as a breach of journalistic ethics and that the discounted price might create a slight subconscious bias in my review. On the other hand, this column is run in a publication aimed specifically for Point Park University students, all of whom qualify for the discount. After consulting with several other journalists, I decided to take the 17 cent discount.

Atmosphere wise, Gloria Jean’s felt like a commercialized version of a cozy city coffee shop. While every Starbucks has more or less the same decor, Gloria Jean’s felt much more homely. 

The cup itself was served on the hotter end of the spectrum, and I immediately burnt my tongue, as I attempted to take a few quick sips on the Smithfield Street sidewalk. It was there that I ran into the major issue with this cup: the cup.

Gloria Jean’s did not prioritize their cup design, and it began leaking onto my hand. Keep in mind that this coffee was piping hot, so it was not exactly a gentle raindrop. I initially shrugged it off, assuming that they had just filled the cup a little bit too much. But as I continued to glug the drink, I realized that this was not the case.

I got drips of coffee all over my hands, shirt, pants, and even the reporter’s notebook that I use to write down information about the various cups of coffee that I drink and review. On one hand, this is a minor inconvenience, but I must be honest and say that it influenced my thought process in this review.

The actual cup was impressively flavorful, which surprised me, because Gloria Jean’s is not particularly known for making hot drinks. Instead, they focus on cold, frappuccino-esque drinks called chillers. And while the chillers are good, they are on the expensive side, and furthermore this column reviews only black coffee.

So I was very impressed by the flavor they were able to put into this roast. It had hints of raspberry over a chocolatey undertone, and it mixed together rather well. What this cup suffered from was the fact that sometimes the flavor just wasn’t there, and instead I was met with a dull, uninspired, lukewarm taste. It wasn’t often, but the rare misses of flavor certainly impacted how I felt about the cup, and combined with the leaking of the cup resulted in this cup ultimately having a lower score than it could have.

That being said, I would recommend Gloria Jean’s to everyone who goes to Point Park, if not for the coffee, for the ten percent discount.