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Course Ground Coffee opens at Lincoln Campus

Mug Club mugs.
Bailey Ahlberg stands next to the roaster.
Customer orders a mocha.
Busy morning at Course Ground Coffee.

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 p.m.


For more information contact:
Andrea Gallagher
Marketing Specialist