A broke student’s guide to coffee breaks

Short of change after ball season? Desperately in need of a caffeine fix? We’re happy to help

The price of living in Dublin is getting increasingly higher and unfortunately that too means coffee is getting more expensive. In the next few weeks leading up to exams, you may have have the sudden realisation that your bank account contains a total of €2.80, just when your reliance on coffee is at its height. You’ve been stealing toilet paper from the Arts Block bathrooms for the past week, and you’ve even donned your confirmation rosary beads and turned up at the Chaplaincy’s free lunch. When DTwo Thursday came around, the only alcohol you could afford was Nikita vodka from Tesco, popularly known as glorified paint-stripper. Despite all of these small savings, you’ve got plans to go for coffee and have no intention of cancelling them. Struggling with the perpetually glitching Lavazza machine always ends in tears, and the Perch is out of your price range, so here are five places you might actually be able to afford a decent flat white.

Simon’s Place

Set to be a favourite café for anyone who visits, Simon’s Place is in George’s Street Arcade and has a cosy, informal vibe that’s particularly hard to come by in a city filled with Starbucks and Insomnias. It is advisable to get there early to beat the lunch rush, but the effort is worth it. The coffee is delicious and affordable, with an Americano costing €2.30, and a cappuccino €2.50. The freshly baked cinnamon rolls would make Mary Berry weep, and best of all, there’s space to relax downstairs so you’re never forced out by hovering waitresses after half an hour. For anyone interested in music, or for budding musicians, they’ll even let you put up posters for upcoming gigs on the wall for free. The final best part about Simon’s Place is that it’s actually run by a guy called Simon.


This may not be the most popular recommendation and is probably more of a familiar option when heading home from a night out. It’s not a cute, independent coffee shop and instead of a barista with a man bun, there’s a bacteria-riddled touchscreen. However, McDonald’s has a reputation for cheap but decent coffee with an Americano priced at €2.25. They serve everything from a reliable latte to a mocha iced frappe, all made from coffee beans grown on Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, so that you can feel slightly better about yourself. Although this may not be the best spot to sit down and have a chat unless you particularly enjoy ketchup smeared tables, blinding lights, and screaming four-year-olds, it is better to get it to go. McDonald’s is also open 24 hours a day for anyone escaping the 24 hour library.

BG Café

Only a four-minute walk from the Hamilton, BG Café on Pearse Street is definitely handier for students who are studying in the Hamilton. However, it is worth a trip for anyone on campus. Not only is the coffee cheap with an Americano costing €2.50 and a latte costing €2.75, but the Wi-Fi is free and this café caters for all needs, including paleo, gluten-free, and vegan treats. If you’re on a health kick, you can choose from a variety of affordable salads and paleo cakes. If you hate health kicks, they also have breakfast rolls. And if you really hate health kicks, you can be lazy and get it delivered to your door.

Dublin Barista School

If none of the previous recommendations have caught your eye, this one would be a difficult one to turn down. Smooth lattes and creamy cappuccinos are aplenty at Dublin Barista School. The seasoned coffee snobs will know this place already, but if you’re new to the fold; Dublin Barista School serve top class coffee and treats at a small premises on South Anne Street. The entry is slightly claustrophobic but you certainly won’t regret squeezing inside: the staff are always smiling and they’ll serve you the holy grail of affordable coffee with an Americano priced at €2.40 if you flash your student card. Incidentally, if your bank account is frightening to look at, just hit up their happy hour from 2pm to 3pm every weekday, and get any drink for €2.20.


Located on Dawson Street, beanhive’s coffee is priced a little higher with an Americano, Mocha or a Flat White costing from €2.70. This is balanced by the reasonably priced lunch options with sandwiches on offer costing between €5 and €6. They are also planning on adding more vegan options and are becoming famous for the art on their coffee.

Brewbakers Café

It is easy to pass by Brewbakers on South Frederick Street without a second glance. From the outside, there’s no obvious selling point; no gorgeous décor or flashing student discounts but step inside and you realise that Brewbakers provides great quality food just as close as KC Peaches, but at half the price. While the coffee is decent and cheap, the lure of Brewbakers lies in the friendly and attentive staff, and the reasonably priced lunches with sandwiches from about €4. In terms of atmosphere, it has a cosy vibe but not as hip as Simon’s or Dublin Barista School; it’s an old-school café with good quality food. After hours of mindlessly cramming in the depths of the Lecky, what more could you want?