Campus coffee: We deserve better

Hannah Vanderhooft – Staff Writer

Photo credit: Emma Stoltzfus

Coffee is an art form. 

It’s become a culture in the United States, with coffee shops, coffee houses, and personalized coffee carts that cater events popping up all around. 

It doesn’t take long scrolling Instagram to see girls posting photos of their perfectly curated table with a MacBook, devotional, and latte with a seemingly effortless leaf poured with the froth and espresso mix. 

Business meetings, first dates, and long overdue meetups with friends now commonly take place over what? A cup of coffee at the local coffee shop. Instead of asking the cute boy from psychology class to go get Starbucks, the question is now, “Hey, have you been to the new coffee shop downtown?” 

Coffee is now a culture among college students. In the last year, 92 percent of college students consumed caffeine, with an average consumption of 173 mg per day. If in a college town, local coffee shops most likely have later hours to cater to the nocturnal habits of students, sometimes extending their hours during finals week. 

Many college campuses have taken note of this trend and now have their own coffee shops located somewhere on campus. Starbucks has roughly 300 stores on campuses, with many other popular chains following suit. Calvin University had their own popular coffee place called The Fish House (which has since been replaced with Peet’s Coffee). It became a hot spot for late night studying or live music from students and local musicians. Places like these make it easier for students to access coffee, as well as the coveted environment that a coffee shop offers. They also provide on-campus jobs for students and opportunities to learn how to serve coffee. 

Dordt University currently has two coffee shops on campus: The Bunsen Brew and 55th. They both provide the same drink options and similar food options, as both are open at different times of day. While the thought of grabbing a latte right after an 8:00 a.m. with Fessler may sound nice, the coffee is from an automated machine, it’s often over-extracted (in layman’s terms: burnt), and disregards the artform coffee has become.

So much can be done with a single cup of coffee. Depending on how long it’s brewed, the way it’s brewed, what type of filter is used, and what temperature the water is at, wide varieties of different bodies and notes of flavor can come in a sip. Brewing coffee is something that takes time, patience, and a knowledge. It takes practice and humility. It’s not something that should take a press of a button, a poorly roasted coffee, and a 30 second brew. Coffee deserves better. It deserves a Chemex with an unbleached filter, not too coarse of grounds, water at a perfect temperature of 206 degrees Fahrenheit, and roughly a 4-to-5-minute brew time. Coffee deserves so much better. 

And so do Dordt students. Dordt has the perfect opportunity to take any space on campus and turn it into a little coffee house space. Where time slows down a little bit. Where students can sit and be comfortable, write a paper, and drink an overpriced latte. For students who don’t have a mode of transportation, this is the perfect opportunity for them to find a little bit of coffee culture on campus. Students can learn about the beauty, richness, and boldness of coffee. They can find a place to relax – to be themselves.

When we think of coffee, we think of going into a rushed mindset. Coffee is a moment to stop, to slow down, to breathe. Coffee doesn’t want to be rushed. Coffee wants to slow down, and it wants you to slow down with it. Take a deep breath. Sit down. Write that paper. Talk to your friend. Tell that cute boy from your psychology class you like him. Enjoy the warmth of the moment.

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