This university runs on coffee and that’s evident in Jazzman’s Café in the lower level of Pittsburg State University’s Overman Student Center. Every day, with smooth jazz playing in the background and the aroma of coffee heavy in the air, students line up between classes to get their daily brew.
“I spend a lot of time down here,” said freshman Meaghanne Mack. “The first week of school I filled up a punch card.”
Mack is apparently in good company. A recent study by the NPD group shows a rapidly growing number of 18- to 24-year-olds turning from caffeinated sodas and energy drinks to coffee for their caffeine charge.
Senior Alyssa Snow said coffee combines the flavor she likes with the energy she needs.
“I’ve had energy drinks and such, but coffee tastes a lot better,” she said. “They have really good coffee here and all sorts of different flavors.”
This isn’t your father’s cup of Joe.
“We do a lot of caramel lattes and white chocolate mochas. Those are probably our most popular drinks,” said barista Miika Duncan. “We also have a caramel delight, which seems to be pretty popular for those who like the sweet, sweet stuff.”
“I like the caramel macchiato, the tuxedo, the caramel delight,” Mack said.
There are still plenty of customers who like it simple, like sophomore Katie Rennie.
“Just black coffee, medium to a dark blend,” Rennie said of her choice.
Simple doesn’t mean there aren’t choices to make and coffee drinkers face an array that includes organic, French roast, bold, blonde, and yes, de-caf.
Duncan, who said she begins her day at 5:30 with coffee at home, said fresh roasted beans are the foundation of a good cup of coffee.
“Using fresh beans is really good,” Duncan said. “I like to grind my beans fresh. I have a bean grinder at home. Those fresh coffee grounds make a little bit of a difference. And making sure you get the right ratio of water to coffee.”
Duncan said she isn’t surprised to see students lining up for a smile from her and their favorite coffee drink each day.
“It’s liquid sunshine!” Duncan said.
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