Coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee...
Sean R. Montera
While many coffee drinkers don’t know the difference between dark or light coffee, or French press and espresso, most, if not all can appreciate a
good cup of coffee in their favorite coffee shop.
Local coffee shops, long since dependent upon a social atmosphere, have prospered in the greater Kalamazoo area. Coffee Works, Ravenwood, and
Waterstreet to name a few have become popular hangouts of students seeking a quiet place during their scant minutes of free time.
Coffee works, located above Videohits Plus just off of campus, and is typically busy during the school year, filling up around 7-8 pm. The coffee
shop is a popular stop for students in between classes or attempting to study. According to Christine Lanchor, Manager at Coffee Works, there is a nice
mix of college-age and nontraditional college age students, many of whom are regulars. People usually common Coffee works because of its location,
convenience, and environment.
“I think that’s the bottom line,” she said. “People become comfortable here; it’s like a second home.”
Lanchor enjoys working at Coffee works and feels it’s a very friendly and supportive family type environment. Generally, the students who work
there work hard and are good students. She commented on how it took years for Coffee Works to find a supplier of organic coffee with a microbrewery
and quality product, assuring this is typical of the care the shops takes in its products. The shop hosts its own Wi-Fi zone, many tables and outlets for
students wishing to study or use their laptops, and of course a video store right underneath it.
Bobby Bruno, a regular of Coffee Works, comes because of its convenient location, just across the street from his home. Every few days, he can be
found studying, working on the computer, or eating a panini sandwich or drinking hot tea at one of their many tables.
“The help here is really good,” said Bruno. “The people are really nice.”
Ravenwood, just off stadium, is a quieter shop with the feel of a log cabin living room. This father-and-son owned shop has been open just over two
years. The single large room provides space for people to sit and drink, work, listen to music, or talk, as well as its own free Wi-Fi zone. Busiest during
the early morning and after 7pm, the store services a variety of business and student customers.
“You just kind of gota roll with what is out there,” said Cullen Kurzmann, co-owner of Ravenwood. “We try and provide a place for everybody, open
space, for people to come and study.”
Kurzmann can recount the many regulars whom he believes frequent his shop because of the comfortable open spaces, fireplace, warm colors, and
non-smoking atmosphere. Ravenwood has just recently begun serving more food, along with their steady business of latte’s, mocha’s and coffee. Little
perks include live music shows on Friday and Saturday nights and open mike poetry every Sunday.
“And hopefully they come because we have good drinks,” he adds with a grin.
Joe Esquibel, a regular at Ravenwood, comes because of its good atmosphere. Every few days for a couple of hours, Joe visits the shop, working on
his homework, reading or otherwise studying.
“If you have to study,” said Esquibel. “Its better then the windowless dungeon of the library.”
Waterstreet was a little difficult to get into, the parking lot in front of the store is smaller then the others. However, at its location off Kalamazoo
Ave., just past downtown, it serves a more pedestrian crowd of students and business people. Waterstreet has hosted a fairly steady stream of regulars for
their espresso drinks and homemade food since 1993. Dark, light, and decaffeinated varieties, including organic coffee, are served. This store also boasts
its own free Wi-Fi zone for customer’s convenience.
Codi Thompson, a barista at Waterstreet, talks of the crowds in the morning and afternoon before mellowing out at night.
“It’s a cute place,” she said. “It’s comfortable.”
Waterstreets’ philosophy is consistency of product and trains their employees accordingly. When asked if she enjoyed working there, Thompson
replied, “It’s really good, a lot of hard work. We have to train a lot, and have a different knowledge of coffee,” before adding “Pretty hard core training.”
Zackary Thayer and Alex Unwin customers at Waterstreet came for the convenience, and nonsmoking atmosphere. They frequent coffee shops as
meeting places, to hang out, or go online and do homework instead of any love for coffee. Thayer commented there should be more parking at shops like
Despite these differences or the historical relevance, people the world over enjoy coffee. After all, nothing begins a day or helps you study like a mug
of fresh hot Java, in a relaxed friendly atmosphere.
Small – $1.55
Medium – $1.80
Large – $2.05
Small – $1.49
Medium – $1.79
Large – $1.99
Small – $1.75
Medium – $2.01
Large – $2.23