Arts & Culture / Mosaic / November 13, 2014

Vibrant coffee culture invigorates students

unnamed-4Coffee has long been associated with college students. Traditionally, college students have used coffee to cope with stress and their workloads. In a recent TKS survey, TKS asked 103 students about their coffee drinking habits. Of the 103 students surveyed, 54 percent of them reported being regular coffee drinkers, while 38 percent reported being daily or semi-daily coffee drinkers. With 42 percent of surveyed students reporting as occasional or irregular coffee drinkers, Knox’s coffee consumption will surely increase in the impending days as finals quickly approach.

To many students, coffee has transcended its basic function as an energy booster; many have grown to appreciate the aesthetic of drinking coffee.

“I’m not sleep deprived É so when I do want caffeine, I don’t just want the boost … Iwant an experience,” said sophomore Elena Lusk, an avid coffee drinker.

Coffee drinking in colleges has grown to become a social activity, especially at Knox where students have a prolific coffee culture available to them off-campus. Two of the most frequented coffee shops in Galesburg — The Beanhive and Innkeepers —  have continually attracted Knox students, many of whom have become regular customers.

“I frequent the Beanhive specifically because it’s local, because it’s cheaper and it’s really good. But I also like the atmosphere,” said junior Clare Vaughn, who started drinking coffee after visiting the Beanhive regularly her freshman year. Although the Beanhive is the closest coffee shop to campus, the small business operated by Mary Christianson has continually attracted students mainly for its atmosphere and relationship with Knox.

“I think it’s a really nice atmosphere. I like what they’ve been doing with it this year actually. It’s chill, it’s always very calm,” said sophomore Rheannon Lyons while reflecting on her experiences as being a regular at the Beanhive. “I like the people working there. I think a lot of them are Knox alum. So they’ve been really friendly.”

The Beanhive has traditionally been a hotspot for Knox students to work, study and socialize. But some students want an environment to temporarily escape the college atmosphere. For those students, Innkeepers has proven to be a good alternative.

“We [my boyfriend and I] kind of wanted to get away from the college environment, from everybody we knew, to have a space that was just for us,” said Lusk while reflecting on her preference for Innkeepers’ coffee. Galesburg’s local coffee scene has something to satisfy the needs or preferences of any coffee drinker (or tea drinker for that matter). Each coffee shop has its own atmosphere that adds a dimension of appeal beyond its coffee products.

Regardless of students’ preferences for coffee shops, Galesburg’s local coffee culture has continually fostered a sense of community, particularly among Knox students. Innkeepers’ manager Donna Riggs, who has been working in the coffee shop for almost 11 years, has noticed the shop’s impact on the Knox community.

“The great thing about Innkeepers and the Knox community is that [alumni always] come back  some of them are like friends, some of them are like family,” said Riggs.

To many Knox students and alumni, frequenting these local coffee shops has become part of the Knox experience. To some lucky few students who get the opportunity to work at these establishments, these coffeeshops allow them to see and connect with the community from a new perspective.

“I have no connection to Galesburg outside of Knox so this is another way for me to connect to Galesburg,” said sophomore Haley Richter, a part-time barista at the Beanhive.

The Knox community has definitely felt a deep kinship with Galesburg’s lively coffee scene, and the student body takes its coffee drinking seriously.

Stefan Torralba

Tags:  beanhive beans coffee Innkeepers stress

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