Flatiron Brews: How to save on coffee and tea as a student

May Khin

The spring semester has begun with a chill in the air. A cup of coffee or tea on a freezing winter day seems to be a necessity for some students.

From spending time on campus in between class breaks to grabbing a cup of coffee or tea to stay awake for morning classes, The Ticker rounded up locations where students can find discounts on warm beverages in the Flatiron District.

Across from Baruch College’s Newman Vertical Campus, ViVi Bubble Tea is offering 15% student discounts on drinks only.

Vincy Wang, a barista at ViVi, said that it definitely helps the business because the shop is right across from the Vertical Campus and the student discount is only for drinks.

Wang said many students buy snacks like popcorn chicken even without the discount.

Launched in 2007, ViVi uses ingredients from Taiwan only.

The shop’s signature drinks include its “blue galaxy” drink, taro crème brûlée milk tea and flaming brown sugar tapioca milk tea. Coffee lovers may purchase a coffee jelly bubble tea.

The prices of the signature drinks range from $6.25 to $7.75.

ViVi also offers its fresh milk series, non-dairy milk series, flavored tea series, fresh fruit series, slushie series and “fizzy pop” series.

For students who don’t like coffee, CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice, a business that originates in Taiwan, is located across the street from ViVi. By the Clivner=Field Plaza, Yi Fang Taiwan Fruit Tea is also a competition.

CoCo opened in New York in 2011 and is dedicated to recreating the tea drinking experience by introducing new drinks to the market. Its Baruch location has stood longer than ViVi and Yi Fang.

The three Taiwanese bubble tea stores compete with one another, as all three stores surround the Baruch College campus.

CoCo offers seasonal drinks such as its Oreo caramel chocolate drink, its smashed taro milk drink, its roasted hoji milk tea and its “QQ” series, which includes sweet potato and taro rounds with taro bits.

It also offers “cloud” drinks that have a salty cream foam made from Himalayan salt.

Additionally, CoCo offers drinks with Yakult, a series of fresh milk and milk tea drinks, ice blended slushies, smoothies, fruit teas and tea lattes.

CoCo prices range from $3 to $5.95 before tax.

Baruch sophomore Anahi Fernandez has worked at CoCo for four years but has worked at the Baruch location since August 2022.

“It creates a lot more customer flow and we get a lot of students that order drinks at our location,” Fernandez said. “I think since we are right outside Baruch and there’s competition too.”

Fernandez said there are many stores right outside the campus, but she said CoCo’s rotating selection of seasonal drinks and its customer service makes it unique from other stores.

Yi Fang offers a 10% discount to students and prices range from $4.29 to $6.99.

Yi Fang is popular for its fruit teas, fresh sugarcane drinks and salty cream drinks.

It offers seasonal winter drinks such as its ginger tea and its longan and jujube teas.

Blank Street Coffee is next to Gramercy Theater. It is known for their candy cane cold brew, iced strawberries and cream latte plus its breakfast tacos.

Baruch alumna Fion Wong works at Blank Street Coffee and said students can ask for the neighborhood discount.

“We actually call it the neighborhood discount,” Wong said. “It is for anyone who goes to school around here, works around here or lives around here. Let us know and ask us for the neighborhood discount. It doesn’t hurt to ask.”

Blank Street’s hot brew coffee is $2.75, and its most expensive latte is $5.

The shop offers a reward program, which requires customers to connect their phone number to their rewards account. Customers can receive a free beverage when they earn ten points.

Customers can earn a point for eligible items and two points for participating in challenges or promotional events.

“It definitely helps the business, and I think it also builds a sense of community when the same customers come back,” said Wong. “It helps us remember their order and it makes operation more efficient.”

About Time Coffee offers 50 cents off with a student ID card and $1 off if one brings their own cup.

About Time Coffee is popular for its recyclable bottle, which comes with a freshly sealed container and packaging that students may find “Instagram-worthy.”

The prices range from $2.50 for “daily drip” coffee to $6.50 for its “taro professor” drink.

Think Coffee only offers student discounts at its headquarters by New York University.

Yaya Tea, Starbucks Corp. and Paris Baguette do not offer student discounts. However, Starbucks, Paris Baguette and Gregorys Coffee do offer reward programs for customers.

The cheapest options for coffee would be at breakfast and halal food carts outside the main entrance of the Newman Vertical Campus. A cup of coffee costs as low as $1.50.