Friday, March 31, 2023

Smith Hall’s new coffee shop promises to “lead coffee to a more sustainable future”

NewsCampus NewsSmith Hall’s new coffee shop promises to “lead coffee to a more sustainable future”

Staff Reporter

There is a new spot to grab coffee on campus — but here, every cup is “responsibly brewed,” according to the new spot’s storefront.

At the beginning of the fall semester, the university announced the opening of Ecogrounds, a small coffee shop located in the lobby of Smith Hall. The new coffee joint adds to the roster of cafés at the university, including Stomping Grounds, The Nest at Morris, Einstein Bros. Bagels and Dunkin’.

Ecogrounds fills the space that was formerly occupied by Starbucks, which permanently closed at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, after serving the university since 2012.

Differing from other coffee shops on campus, Ecogrounds’s mission is to serve its products with sustainability in mind.

“Ecogrounds features fair trade & certified organic coffee, espresso, specialty drinks, teas, blended drinks and more,” university Dining Services wrote in a Facebook post on Aug. 25.

According to Ecogrounds’s website, the company does not use high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors or food dyes in its products. All cups and lids are made from “compostable and rapidly renewable fibers.”

The sustainability goal extends beyond just food and beverage. The facade of the coffee shop is built from recyclable or renewable materials in an effort to make the business “greener, cleaner, and fairer,” as stated on its website.

However, one of the main drawing points for students is Ecogrounds’ convenience, as it is located steps away from some of the university’s largest classrooms at a crossroads between The Green and academic buildings within the Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics.

“It’s on my way. I was at a class on the North Green and I’m walking through, passing to go to Purnell … I ordered on my phone before I even left class,” Paolo Pesce, a senior finance major said.

The wait time for Ecogrounds typically hovers under 10 minutes throughout the day, ideal for students who need a pick-me-up in the midst of their busy schedules.

“Because I’m a business major, these are where all the classes are,” Lauren Pala, a junior finance major, said. “I would go in between my classes.”

The menu highlights signature drinks that correspond with the time of year. Currently, pumpkin spice is the featured flavor on the menu.

Everyday staples including hot and iced coffee, lattes, hot chocolate, macchiatos and teas are also offered in addition to grab-and-go style subs and wraps. A small selection of breakfast sandwiches are available; however, options are limited compared to other locations in the area.

“If they added sandwiches like Dunkin’ or Starbucks, I would definitely be coming back for that,” Mutasim Mim, a third year PhD student, said. “[The available sandwiches] are not really as heavy.”

As Ecogrounds only offers mobile pick-up, there are few options nearby for the university community to sit down and enjoy its order, with the exception of benches scattered throughout Smith Hall’s lobby.

“Tables would be smart because I would think that if there were tables, I would sit here and do my schoolwork,” Pala said.




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