Photo by Sarah Vinci| The espresso machine in The 193 Coffee Shop broke suddenly last year, limiting the amount of drinks served by the cafe.
The 193 Coffeehouse, a student-run cafe in the Memorial Union, is raising money to buy a new espresso machine that broke last year.
On the second floor of the Union, the 193 Coffeehouse serves a variety of drinks at low cost. Last year, the espresso machine broke, and the Coffeehouse is raising money to purchase a new one. It is expected to cost $2,000 for a new machine, but they are hoping to find one used or sold at auction to help lower the cost.
“It is unfortunate because we have so much more than coffee and tea,” said employee Natalie Bernier. “We normally have really fun drinks. So it sucks because it’s a financial burden.”
There’s been some work towards fundraising money to replace the broken machine.
“We’re working towards a GoFundMe and considering some local options to get a donated or reduced price espresso machine,” said employee Rory Maynard-Dean. “We’re relying pretty heavily on people’s donations and generosities right now.”
Maynard-Dean said that business has not been as good due to not having an espresso machine.
“It’s really tough [telling people we no longer have the espresso machine],” said Maynard-Dean. “First you have to disappoint all the customers and that’s always a sad conversation to have. It’s like telling a child that Santa Claus isn’t real… It’s certainly detracted from our profits a bit. It’s been less busy since then, there are certain customers who used to come specifically for those drinks.”
Kevin Blewitt, a student who frequents the coffeehouse, says that the coffee has improved over the last few years but is disappointed that there aren’t any espresso drinks. “Any contributions [for the new espresso machine] I highly recommend,” he said.
In addition to raising money for a new machine, the Coffeehouse is working on spreading the word about their services.
“We always hear people say that they didn’t even know we were here,” Max Smith, an employee of the Coffeehouse said. “So we need to get more advertising done, especially to freshmen.” The crew is looking into potentially setting up a table in the Union and creating flyers to draw in more customers.
The 193 Coffeehouse started as a small beverage stand in the Memorial Union in 1994. It is now a cozy space where people can sit and enjoy the unique atmosphere without any fear of judgment. “It’s just a place where I can completely be myself and I feel others can be themselves,” said Emma McColl. “I was originally going to transfer, then I found this place.”
Customers who have become regulars at the Coffeehouse tend to view the establishment as a second home. A sort of oasis on campus. “I come here two times a day on average,” said Kyle Favreau. “I can come here and say whatever I want and have ears to listen. The coffee is great too.”
Students are not the only ones who visit the Coffeehouse. Professors are seen daily, reading, grading papers, meeting with students and drinking coffee.
In addition to selling low-cost beverages, the Coffeehouse also hosts open mics every two weeks at seven o’clock. A reminder for the events are posted on Instagram (@193coffeehouse) and Facebook so that everyone can remember to come and maybe perform. Just like the organization itself, the open mics are a place without judgment as everyone supports one another.
The Coffee House also books bands to perform and hosts other organizations to run open mics. In the future, the staff hopes to put its projector to use and add movie nights.
“If we had more money we could do a lot more,” said Isobel Mccullough, who has been working at the Coffee House for three years. “We could upgrade the sound system, get the piano tuned, and make the space even better for our community.” But with the espresso machine broken, it is unlikely that those updates will come anytime soon.
As the only student-run business on campus, the 193 Coffeehouse does well for itself. Even with Dunkin Donuts a short walk away in the Union, many people still choose the fair prices and relaxed environment everyday.
To visit the Coffeehouse, just walk all the way to the left after entering the main entrance of the Memorial Union. While you are there, order tea or coffee and perhaps donate money for a new espresso machine.