Backpack-clad students shuffle into a sunlit room on the first floor of the Allbritton Center, greeted by the scent of freshly brewed coffee and a menu brimming of specialty tea and espresso drinks. It’s Saturday morning, and as of earlier this month, Espwesso, Wesleyan’s only student-run café, has expanded its hours to cater to its Middletown customers.
“Our regulars, and people who before couldn’t be our regulars because of the late night hours, are very excited,” said manager Jasmine Masand ‘15.
Now, the hotspot for delicious fair trade coffee is open for business from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. These new hours are in addition to the former schedule: 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Sunday; and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
The movement to expand hours began last year and was spearheaded by former manager Jacob Eichengreen ‘13 and Wesleyan Student Assembly Vice President Andrew Trexler ‘14. The goal of the expansion, Masand says, was to respond to what the community wants: an accessible spot to drink quality coffee for those who aren’t keen on late night caffeine.
“And we also wanted to open up a space where faculty and staff can come in too,” said rising manager Emily Pfoutz ‘16. “There isn’t really a place where faculty and students can interact naturally.”
Already, Espwesso is beginning to see a different kind of crowd during their expanded hours, including many more non-students, both from the faculty and a few from the Middletown community.
“There’s no Starbucks in town; it’s hard to find good coffee, and even Pi isn’t open in the mornings on the weekend,” noted Masand, “So there’s been interest in walking over.”
And the coffee itself is a reason to make the trek. The café’s supply chain and coffee preparation supports economic and environmental sustainability in a number of industries. The ingredients are purchased from New Harvest Coffee Roasters in Pawtucket, R.I. — a food justice conscious coffee outfit that prides itself on connecting with the farms abroad from which it buys. Dairy is provided by Wildowsky’s Dairy in Lisbon, Conn. — a 45-minute drive from campus.
“The fresh roasts boast of excellence, both in the quality of the beans and the highly trained student staff that brews them,” Pfoutz said.
The sustainable-minded café also provides free drip coffee to customers who bring their own mugs. Additionally, the staff uses rags instead of disposable towels or napkins.
“We are as eco-friendly as we can be in the café,” added Masand. “That’s something unique to Wesleyan. It’s a really hard business model to do outside of a community like this.”
Espwesso can be found on Facebook. View more photos of Espwesso below: (Photos by Hannah Norman ’16)