Making the Most Out of a Bad (Pret) Subscription

by Anna Berkowitz

Pret Coffee is objectively bad. You don’t have to be a single-origin-fair-trade-exposed-brick-sells-photography-books-independent-coffee-shop-espresso-snob to know that coffee purchased at Pret a Manger simply doesn’t taste good. 

But in an alcohol-induced state about a month ago, I had a craving for coffee in the middle of the night and thought it would be a brilliant idea to get a Pret subscription. When I awoke the next day with a month’s worth of free coffee that I didn’t really want to drink, I resolved to conduct an experiment and try every single thing on the menu. So here’s a guide to getting the most out of your (unwanted) Pret subscription. 

1. Always get oat milk with espresso drinks. Oat milk has a taste that can just about overpower the taste of burnt coffee, and plus you get a little sticker on the lid, letting your class know that you drink OAT milk. It’s worth it for the virtue signalling, if nothing else. 

2. Smoothies, Smoothies, Smoothies. Don’t tell me they have no nutritional value and about 50 grams of sugar, because I don’t want to hear about it. Mango pineapple is the best, and bonus points if there are bits of frozen mango at the bottom that didn’t get blended all the way. Pro tip: get whipped cream on the strawberry banana, it will surprise you. 

Illustrated by Anoushka Guli

3. If you need something sweet: get the mocha, not the hot chocolate. They taste exactly the same and you might as well get caffeinated while you drink something that might have tasted like chocolate at one point in time. 

4. A frappe is a good dessert, but not a great accompaniment to your morning walk to campus. I felt ill for the rest of the day, which honestly is on me, because what did I expect from drinking what is essentially a milkshake at 8:30 in the morning. 

5. Spread the wealth! Be realistic – are you going to go to Pret five times a day? Screenshot your QR code and send it to a friend. I didn’t think this trick would work, but lo and behold, after one successful attempt, my five drinks a day with a 30 minute break in between were used to their full extent. 

I’m sure you’ve guessed my position on Pret if you’ve gotten this far into the article, but go support a local cafe (full disclosure: I used to work at one). There are plenty around London that do great things for their local communities (See Found Hope Cafe, Neal Street Espresso, and the Garden Community Cafe). Monthly subscription prices are going up to £25 anyways, so get out while you can! Or you can just be like me: take your month of free drinks and cancel your subscription 24 hours before they start charging you. 

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