Students and employees at
Southeast Community College’s Lincoln Campus don’t have to leave the College to
get their coffee fix anymore. Vanilla lattes and caramel macchiatos are just
steps away at Course Ground Coffee.
“What’s most surprising for
me is how quickly we’ve developed regular customers,” said Bailey Ahlberg,
Course Ground Coffee manager. “I love it. It’s not often you get the
opportunity to help build something from the start.”
The coffee shop opened in August
when the new semester started. There had been a need for a coffee shop, and
Culinary/Hospitality Program Director Rob Epps escalated the process.
“One of my previous
businesses I owned a coffee shop, and I thought it would be something
beneficial to add to the program here,” Epps said. “I knew we could use the
space for retail baking items from classes, and along with the barista training
and coffee roasting we would be adding relevant content to the program and for
the industry and College.”
Ahlberg is a recent graduate
of the Culinary/Hospitality program and has worked in the food industry for 12
years, most of those at local coffee shops. She and three baristas, all SCC
students, fill the positions at Course Ground Coffee. They recently added a
coffee roaster, which retails for about $20,000. She is excited at how things
are progressing. She typically roasts the coffee when the day slows down.
“It needs to sit after being
roasted, ideally a couple days,” she explained. She can roast six pounds at a time.
In one hour she’ll have 20 pounds knocked out pretty quickly. “There is nothing
better than fresh-roasted coffee,” she said.
In addition to many types of
coffee drinks, the shop also sells hot and iced tea, chai lattes, hot
chocolate, lemonade, juice, and smoothies. Food items include breakfast
sandwiches, scones, coffee cakes, oatmeal, lunch sandwiches, and wraps. The
majority of the food is made at Course Restaurant by students. There’s also a
“Mug Club” where if you buy a gold Course travel mug for $15, you can get 50 cents
off all subsequent drink orders.
Epps is working on developing
a curriculum for Continuing Education classes for the general public to learn
more about coffee roasting.
“We are looking at what
classes we can run there for our program, and we would like to start offering
non-credit classes in barista and also coffee roasting (classes) the general
public could take,” he said. “With the great response to the coffee shop, we
may need to look at possible locations on other campuses.”
One perk of working at the
coffee shop, Ahlberg said, is that she gets to smell fresh coffee every day.
Another one is meeting all the different people at SCC.
“This is not a job you would
have unless you had a passion for hospitality and service,” she said.
Course Ground Coffee hours are
Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 1