University Cup Baristas share stories of coffee creations
The University Cup coffee shop is humming with the sound of people talking and coffee cups clinking as two baristas behind the counter rush around making lattes and sandwiches for the Friday evening patrons.
In the back, slicing tomatoes and grilling up some bacon, is Stephanie Dalgliesh, who has been doing this for a while.
Beginning her fourth year as a barista at The University Cup, 1027 S. Franklin St., she knows her way around the coffee house.
Dalgliesh started during the summer of her freshman year, when she and her roommate decided they needed jobs.
“(We) went everywhere and applied to any place that was hiring all over town,” the Novi senior said. “And this is the only place that called me back.”
After three days of waiting, Dalgliesh got a call back and set up an interview right before the beginning of her sophomore year.
“(The owner) says that he always looks for availability first on applications, and I only had classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” she said. “I got the interview and started my job a few days later.”
Now that the job was hers, the training started.
“It took me about a month to feel 100-percent confident on how to make all the drinks,” Dalgliesh said as her and her co-worker laughed about their first days on the job.
Co-worker Jessica Kloeckner, an Okemos alum, said learning how to make drinks wasn’t the most difficult part.
“It’s remembering what is in each drink and what the difference is, say, between an Americano and a Breve,” Kloeckner said.
Learning how to master each drink helps Dalgliesh and Kloeckner when it comes to the rush of patrons throughout the day.
“In the mornings, we get a rush of students who just need caffeine,” Dalgliesh said. “Then there is the lunch rush and the night-time rush when all the students come in to study.”
When there is some down time from the daily rushes, the girls of U-Cup fill their time by making their own creations and trying new concoctions to see what tastes good and what could be a new treat on their menu.
“Actually, today we tried to make a copy of the Cinnanana from Doozies,” Dalgliesh said. “We had a lot of frozen bananas in the back and wanted to re-purpose them in a way. So we added frozen bananas, white chocolate, cinnamon and a few other things and blended them all together, and it was actually really good.”
Some creations that the coffee house girls make have actually made it onto their menu, like the NYC Mocha. The other brews are put into a book they keep in the back and are used on their promotional board each month.
“Our boss gives us a lot of freedom,” Dalgliesh said.
With the freedom to create new drinks and ideas for the shop, Dalgliesh said working there is very comforting.
“We are all like one big family here. All the girls here are like family, and our boss, well, he’s like a second dad,” she said.
She said even their regular customers add to the family feeling that the U-Cup creates.
“There are always the regular customers,” Dalgliesh said. “And it’s really great to interact and talk with them, to get to know their stories.”
Dalgliesh laughs and reminds herself of one customer that likes to “run the place.”
“We have a regular named John, and he comes in the back, and is here sometimes even before the shop is open,” Dalgliesh said, chuckling.
The life of being a barista surrounds you with people and coffee, and Dalgliesh said she has had her share of coffee.
“We all drink coffee here,” Dalgliesh said. “I stopped for a year from stomach issues (unrelated to coffee), but now I am back to drinking it.”
Since Dalgliesh has been a barista for four years, some would think that it would become a wearing task, but for Dalgliesh, it is the opposite.
“I absolutely love it here,” Dalgliesh said. “I majored in food service and entrepreneurship, and I just love it.”
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