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Craft Coffee: The Latest Addition to Campus Life

Benjamin J. Grady, Editor-in-Chief

The transition back to in-person classes is an exciting aspect here at Oglethorpe University. After over a year of remote classes, students have the luxury of coming to campus for classes and spending time with friends. What better way to spend time with friends than with a nice cup of coffee?

Debuting this year, students can look forward to the Dancing Goats coffee shop in the downstairs area of the Turner Lynch Campus Center. To ensure that the area is safe and relaxing for everyone, café manager, Christian Storey, is the man who intends on making this a meaningful experience.

Storey works for Aramark, the on-campus food company that provides the coffee establishment and the dining hall meals on campus. His position as manager during the average weekday consists of implementing protocols and checklists to keep the coffee shop functional and fully operational for everyone, while looking after the area and its workers. Although Storey started his position on Sept. 21, he has been working in craft coffee for eight years and his experience is what drives him to make his mark on campus. “I take pride in it because I have a lot of passion for coffee,” Storey said.

This isn’t any kind of coffee either. Craft coffee is an entirely different experience than your common brand name business, such as Starbucks. With craft coffee, an experience that focuses on making a high-quality cup of coffee for customers while leaving a lasting, personal impression, the speed of the job is at an entirely different pace. “It is a huge transition to go from Starbucks—a fast paced, cookie cutter deal—to small-scale craft coffee while implementing safe guidelines,” Storey said.

When it comes to following the campus guidelines for health and safety, it is something that Storey approaches with the utmost respect and care. The social experience was very limited due to classes being strictly remote. The homey, comfortable feel on campus is the atmosphere that Storey strongly believes in creating with his role in Dancing Goats coffee. This is not just about service; It is about providing a heart-to-heart experience between customer and server, and creating a level of comfort where students can order a drink, sit down with friends and enjoy themselves. “We’re trying to bridge the difference,” Storey said. “It’s scary and I’m able to take that challenge head on, but what I’d like to accomplish is this: we want you to feel like this is an extension of your dorm or your home.”

As well as working through a pandemic, another challenge is scheduling a sufficient number of workers to smoothly run the coffee shop. Fortunately, the increased number of students on campus this year makes the hiring process for student workers easier.. Before Storey arrived, the Dancing Goats coffee shop required more workers, but many were limited in training and did not understand how the coffee shop needed to be run. “Now that I am here, I can train people properly,” Storey said. “We’re gonna get everyone trained up [and] we’re gonna organize and reorganize everything.” This revamped work effort includes organizing how the students receive their orders, and reorganizing the way that schedules are made for workers, to make it possible for both weekday and weekend shifts to be properly covered throughout each week.

Although this new coffee experience is an adjustment for everyone, it is an addition that has the potential to become a lasting part of Oglethorpe culture. With the protocols and checklists that Storey has included, such as sanitizing milk wands for steaming and soaking bottles used for syrup and toppings containers, as well as enforcing a mask mandate for coffee shop workers, Dancing Goats can become the hotspot that students need to take the edge off during the week. “I want to make a very big statement by saying this isn’t Starbucks,” Storey said. “We’re gonna give everything we can to make the transition easy, but we want people to know we’re doing everything we can to be a good coffee shop and respect students, COVID guidelines, and everyone’s wishes.”

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