I’m writing this entry from one of two perspectives that I occupy within The Coffee Closet: I am either a customer or a barista. Last year, I could be found in The Coffee Closet at least once a day, considering I practically run on coffee and lived in South Campus (where this shop is located). I was hired at Conn’s newest student-run coffee shop last spring and began working there this fall.
This year I live in South Campus once again and spend more time in The Coffee Closet than I did last year. This semester, however, I have gained a new outlook on the establishment as a whole. I have found that being a barista at The Coffee Closet is almost like being a member of another family. Each person on the staff is incredibly kind, caring and selfless: people constantly cover each other’s shifts, stay longer if someone is running late and take the time to help out the new staff members. For example, my friend and fellow barista Anna spent her Wednesday night hanging out with me during my shift. Afterwards, she offered to help me close without me even asking! This was especially kind because a closing shift consists of at least ten additional tasks—such as taking all the trash out, washing the dishes, sweeping, etc.—at the end of the night. Her assistance made this usually strenuous process a lot quicker, and more fun too.
Part of my new perspective at the Coffee Closet this semester has been revelatory in more ways than one. I stand behind the counter during my shifts, a place I had never been prior to this semester. I have gained a lot of knowledge already, including how to steam milk, pull espresso shots and craft specialty drinks. I have made new friends through this job position, especially while working at the Little Closet. The Little Closet is a smaller outpost of the Coffee Closet located across the green in Cummings Art Center. I don’t get too many customers there. But, when I do, our interactions are more intimate given the small window for transactions.
As I continue to work at the Coffee Closet, I hope to one day take on even more responsibility within this business. It is a place that already matters so much to me and I think it would be fun to be a manager down the line and chose the menu options and things. Each manager gets to put their own spin on things and I think I would take a lot of pride in decorating the shop and make it feel even more like home. For now, though, I’m all set being a barista...I still have a lot of learning to do.