Local shops celebrate National Coffee DayBy Christina Ausley | 09/28/2017 11:16pm
The demand for coffee, being a consistent staple of collegehood, has risen in Tuscaloosa in the last few years.
I recently walked into the Ferguson Center Starbucks to grab my usual order before heading out for class. After I approached the register, I was greeted by the barista with a warm “Sorry, but we can’t make anything with espresso.” After noting my shock, he further explained how the machine cannot keep up with the current demand for coffee and is therefore broken.
These machines that were built to supply shot upon shot of espresso cannot keep up with the endless requests for the latest latte and, literally, are cracking under the pressure. Have no fear, however, as the machines are once again up and running. It seems there’s no better way to celebrate the recovery than the upcoming National Coffee Day, today, Friday, Sept. 29.
“The demand for coffee has clearly skyrocketed over the last few years,” said Cam Carter, a junior majoring in finance. “In Tuscaloosa alone we have close to ten different coffee shops just that I know of.”
In support and celebration of National Coffee Day, Monarch espresso will kick off its love for coffee Thursday night, where a “barista throwdown” will return to the espresso bar after last year’s success. Employees have each worked on their own coffee recipe and will showcase their concoctions to the crowds. Afterwards, each individual who attends and samples the five different coffee drinks will vote on which drink makes the fall menu.
“I went last year and it was really cool to see how creative all of the baristas got with their drinks,” Carter said. “I think it’s funny how today coffee creativity has even turned into a competition.”
This Friday, UPerk will also celebrate National Coffee day with $1 cups of drip coffee and $3 flavored lattes.
“It’s cool to see local coffee shops actually celebrating National Coffee Day,” Carter said. “The discounts will definitely do them good business because students will already pay $5 for a decent latte, and if there’s a cup on sale, they’ll definitely show up for it.”
Former barista at Monarch and UA junior studying MIS, Ryan Truitt has similar hopes for National Coffee Day, as he has witnessed the extreme growth of coffee over the past few years.
“I’ve been involved with the coffee industry since I was in high school, and I’ve seen a steady incline in the number of people coming into coffee shops interested about the craft of coffee,” Truitt said. “More people are buying at-home coffee set ups and have begun to buy beans roasted close to home to recreate the perfect coffee shop experience in their own home.”
With tens to hundreds of different coffee combinations, it’s a mystery to many why and how the many coffee options are possible, when all it seems you need is some roasted coffee beans, milk and a variety of syrups. Truitt, however, seemed to think otherwise.
“Coffee can taste differently based on where it came from, or how acidic the soil was where the bean was grown,” Truitt said. “Washed beans have a different flavor vs. semi-washed beans, and there are so many variables to brewing the perfect cup after getting a great bean. Water quality, water temperature, grind setting and the ratio of water to coffee all play together to brew the right cup. Brewing a cup is honestly a science.”
After the brief panic within our campus’ own Starbucks, it’s tough to imagine what the world would look like without coffee, period. Students like Truitt tend to agree.
“Caffeine is a welcomed addition to some and a necessary evil to others,” Truitt said. “I’ve seen students who won’t speak until they’ve had their first cup, and others who refuse to try a sip out of fear of becoming reliant on the drug.”
Fear not, however, as businesses like UPerk and Monarch fully intend to keep coffee beans stocked pile by pile in celebration of National Coffee Day and many National Coffee Days to come.