Coffee is the driving force behind many students and professors alike. Whether it be dark or light roast, pumpkin spice or mocha, latte or cappuccino, these drinks all have one thing in common and it is not the caffeine. What these all have in common is whom they come from; the friendly neighborhood barista.
While this may be just another part-time job to some, a barista provides the community with a valuable service that one cannot obtain from their Keurig at home. Baristas are there to greet the customer, brew a beverage specially made for said customer and brighten their day. As noted in the Starbucks mission statement, there is more to selling coffee than the dollars and cents.
“To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time,” states the Starbucks mission statement.
Starbucks cannot take all the credit for providing us with the caffeinated drinks we crave. For every dozen Starbucks, there is a hidden gem, mom and pop owned coffee shop that is doing the same things that Starbucks is doing. In the small town of Walker, Louisiana, there is a little coffee shop that has serving the people of Walker since 2009. Wholly Ground Coffee Shop brings together the great tasting beverages found at Starbucks or PJ’s Coffee and adds a locally owned vibe to make every customer feel at home.
Wholly Ground has hired several Southeastern students in the past and currently has multiple college students employed. Southeastern student Melanie Lane has been working as a barista at Wholly Ground for over a year now and has had her fair share of experiences which include coming up with new beverages for the customers.
“My favorite part of this job is definitely experimenting with the drinks,” said Lane. “I get to try new flavors all the time and make different types of lattes and cappuccinos.”
Liam Harrison, who is a barista for Wholly Ground and has worked for Starbucks in the past, commented on how the customer can influence the barista more than they may believe.
“Whenever there is good conversations and the customer is cool, it goes a long way to making me have a better day,” said Harrison. “But if they’re grouchy and grumpy, it kind of dampens our mood. You see a whole display of different types of people.”
Take this information into account next time at your favorite neighborhood café. Although the interactions between barista and customer may be brief, the interaction may have a lasting effect on both parties.