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The Antelope

The Antelope

Barista’s excels with customer love

“So I don’t have a car, I just walk or bike around town. There’s been probably a dozen times when I’ve been walking to work on like the other side of town and someone will pull up and be like ‘hey do you need a ride? Are you going to work?’ and I’ll be like yeah,” barista Moi Castill says about the customers at Barista’s. “They’ll be like ‘cool, cool, cool.’ And I’m like, I’ll buy your coffee, don’t you worry. Those things happen to me. It’s nice, it’s a good place and it brings people together.”

At Barista’s Daily Grind, they work hard to make atmosphere welcoming

BY Jessica Moser

As soon as you walk through the door at Barista’s Daily Grind the smell of coffee engulfs you. Like when you come home to the smell of the apple pie your mom just baked or the roast you’ve left simmering in the crock pot all day. You can barely get three steps in before every barista has said “hi” or “welcome back”, each of them raising their voices to be heard over the sounds of friendly conversation, blenders and the expresso machine. 

The baristas know their customers and if they don’t know you, they want to.  

“We have a wide range of customers. You have the very habitual customers who always come in at the same time and get the same drink,” said barista Jared Polter, a senior advertising and public relations major from Kearney. “It’s really fun to kind of get to know their schedules and have their drink ready for them. I definitely notice when customers don’t come in one day or if they mix it up. And then we have customers who aren’t as traditional and who come in rarely or we have travelers. It’s really interesting to meet that variety.”

Many of the barista’s are students at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. According to Polter, Barista’s tries to hire younger college students. That way they’ll be there for three or four years so they can really get to know the customers and the customers can really get to know them. Polter also thinks having a lot of college kids working there helps to cater toward all ages.

“I feel like that college age is kind of a good age range to accommodate to both sides of it,” Polter said. “So, you know you’re interacting with your peers over here but you’re also kind of a young adult so you’re interacting, and you know how to interact, with more of the older generations.”

Barista’s tries to accommodate people from all walks of life, not just college students. “Every customer is a different person. They come from a different background,” said barista Edgar Cruz. “That’s something that Barista’s does well, is that they’re able to accommodate to people’s background and to people’s day even.”

The motto at Barista’s is “pure customer love”, and the baristas there try their best to live up to that. “It’s great. It’s unique. It’s different. It’s genuine,” said Cruz. “Genuine love for people, love for the art of making coffee and love for growing as a person. That’s what I find here that I didn’t find other places. It’s something that I see every day here, no complacency.”

Barista’s customers notice the baristas dedication to their customers and that’s part of what keeps them coming back.

“They’re all really great people who work here,” said River Mefferd, a freshman undecided major from Kearney. “That’s a really big part of why I come here as often as I do, is because I get along with them. I can talk to them. I’ve been coming to Barista’s for years, so I’ve gotten to know a lot of the people who work here.”

Another thing that keeps customers coming back to Barista’s is the friendly environment and welcoming atmosphere. “Everyone here is friendly and welcoming. They’re Nebraska nice, so I guess that’s another benefit to being a café in Nebraska,” said barista Moi Castill, a senior education major from Gibbon.

The beige walls, light wooden tables and chairs add a charming small town feel to Barista’s. Dark brown couches and chairs invite customers to relax and enjoy the smell of coffee beans that permeates the room. Accents like a chessboard, bookshelves, mirrors and paintings give Barista’s a homey atmosphere. But it’s really the customers and baristas that make Barista’s atmosphere so welcoming. 

“I really do like the atmosphere that Barista’s has,” said Cruz. “An atmosphere can invite so many different things. So, there’s a certain level of energy that the place has with customers and coworkers and with the job. Making coffee drinks is really, really awesome. But, if we didn’t have that atmosphere, it wouldn’t be as fun.”

The atmosphere at Barista’s caters 

to both people who come to study or socialize. There are numerous outlets to charge laptops and the baristas know their customers well enough to know when to chat and when to leave them alone. The booths along the wall make it easy to get in the study zone, or if you really want to chat with the baristas you can sit at the counter next to the muffins and coffee mugs. 

“The atmosphere is calming, but as lively as possible. It’s kind of that good dichotomy that you need for anyone who’s here to try to find a quiet place to study or here to socialize,” said Polter. “We respect that too. If we see a customer who’s a regular and they need to get a test done for example, we’ll let them do their thing and save the chatting for later or something like that. It’s definitely interesting to see the differences in how people interact.”

Barista’s isn’t just a good place to socialize and study, it’s also a great place to get a cup of coffee. Barista’s is Gold Cup certified, which according to Castill means that a cappuccino here is the same cappuccino that you would get in Milan. “The World Barista Association says that this is how many shots, this is how much milk, that’s a latte. This is how many ounces of expresso dosed and weighed out and put into a drink. They’re the one’s who set the standards and we adhere to those standards.”

Barista’s and its baristas have won numerous awards, including the Lost Angeles Ultimate Barista Challenge and the Miami Ultimate Barista Challenge. They have also competed in many other barista competitions. 

According to Polter, communication is key when trying to move quickly and efficiently. That way they can get their customers their coffee fast and the customers can get wherever they need to be.

“We’re always shouting across to each other and getting everything figured out,” said Polter. “We usually develop close enough relationships with each other that we kind of understand how each other works, and kind of play off that.”

Not to mention close enough to joke around and feed Barista’s mascots, squirrels who live right outside the drive through window. The big girl squirrel is named Gretchen, the big boy squirrel is named Charlie and a little guy they call Nacho. The baristas are excited because the squirrels have just started letting them feed them by hand. Nacho will even hold onto their hands while eating. 

The most important thing to Barista’s is making sure their customers get exactly what they want in a cup of coffee. 

“Sometimes you get those really particular customers who want their coffee a certain way. Which is awesome, because we want to make it that way for them, so they get the perfect cup of coffee,” said Polter. “One time, this customer came in and he wanted like a super dry cappuccino and long story short, I ended up making it three or four times before I got it. It was really frustrating for me because I wasn’t able to satisfy that need, but it helped me to grow and be a better barista. Because now I have tried to perfect that skill.”

Cruz said he believes that’s what keeps people coming back. “Just having that connection, that friendship, that relationship that you’ve built with that other person. That helps them to find comfort in coming here”.

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