New coffees, menu changes at Underground Cafe

New coffees, menu changes at Underground Cafe

Inside BBC&S' Underground Cafe, the atmosphere is what would be expected from a coffee house on a college campus. Comfortable furniture, ambient lighting, and laptops abound. A familiar aroma of freshly brewed coffee quickly lulls visitors to check their stress at the door and embrace the laid-back environment.

BBC&SLook up from a coffee cup or laptop, though, and it's easy to notice some changes have taken place over the summer.

Leah Talarico, a two-year veteran Underground barista and senior Literature major from Lake Ariel, PA, took on the role of cafe manager in June. With her new role came exciting new opportunities in the popular campus stop.

"I began thinking, there are some things we are doing really well," Talarico said. "But are there some areas where we can keep pushing for development?"

Fair Trade Matters
Her passion for people and human justice led her to make one of the Underground's biggest additions, the use of Fair Trade coffee.

"How could something like a small, insignificant cafe have anything to do with this big picture of human justice?" she asked. After doing some research, Talarico learned about the plight of small coffee farmers and others who are trafficked into the slavery of the coffee industry.

Fair Trade certified coffee is produced and traded under a set of standards which ensure farmers in Third-World countries, where much of the world's coffee is produced, are paid fairly for their product, helping release them from a cycle of low wages, debt, and poverty.

"We have a tendency to see big problems and assume what we need is a big solution," said Talarico. "But it's everyday choices we make that affect justice and injustice."

The new coffee varieties have been well accepted, with only a minimal increase in price, she said.

New Menu Items
In addition to new coffee are new menu changes, such as all-organic smoothies and juices. These are joined by a selection of trail mixes for snacking.

The drink menu itself has been slimmed down with a focus on quality rather than quantity.

Behind the counter, a new register system has streamlined multiple processes - from order taking to restocking. A digital screen makes posting and reading the cafe menu easier and an updated Pandora Internet Radio account helps with the overall atmosphere.

"I like the changes," said Eddie Gauthier, a junior Missions major from Buffalo, NY. "The coffee is good, and I feel a little more responsible drinking it, since I come here so much."

Rising From Underground
It has been more than a dozen years since a dark underground storage space was transformed into the trendy coffee shop.

Looking ahead, Talarico would like to see students and others educated on the use of Fair Trade products and the multi-faceted impact its use can have at home and globally. She would also like to see more of the community visiting the cafe.

"I would ultimately like to see more involvement with the community," she said. "I would love to have the cafe be a bridge to Scranton and Clarks Summit."

Learn more about the Underground Cafe and see pictures of staff members online here.

Baptist Bible College & Seminary offers outstanding Christian higher education through on-campus, online, and other distance learning options. Students go beyond the ordinary, learning to think biblically, grow spiritually, and serve faithfully as they gain critical leadership and life skills.

To learn more, go to or call 570.586.2400.

Posted on: 9/19/2013 1:18:36 PM

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