Stacey Kaliabakos ‘23
One of the major differences in our lives on campus this semester is dining. Our beloved dining hall, Kimball, is open, but with a limit on the amount of people who can come in and eat indoors. Crossroads and the Science Cafe also are open for online orders via GrubHub, but students typically opt to order from these two places if they want a filling meal. The holy grail for students who need a nice coffee before class or a light snack is Cool Beans. I often am so blown away by the hard work of the Cool Beans baristas, who toil endlessly to provide all Crusaders with correct, quick, and tasty orders. I am especially impressed by my own good friend, Aidan Formisano ‘23, who is a barista at Cool Beans and a Hogan Dining Services Captain. Aidan is a sophomore, an English major and Education minor, and one of the kindest people I know. Below, I’ve asked him for a little insight on what it’s like to work at Cool Beans.
How would you describe a typical Cool Beans shift?
A typical Cool Beans shift begins at the timeclock next to the Campus Store, where I swipe in. I immediately go to the sink to wash my hands and then place sanitary food handling gloves on, which are to be replaced after every order. During my shift, I will assume one of three assigned positions designed to maximize workplace productivity while obeying social distancing guidelines. When handing customers orders, we must first confirm their ID before any order is given out. Shifts for Captains last between 2 to 3 and a half hours, allowing for an interchanging of Captains throughout the day.
How have COVID restrictions contributed to your job?
COVID restrictions have contributed to my job in many ways. The importance of keeping both the workers and the students safe is paramount in my job and social distancing is a key part of keeping our team safe. We wash our hands regularly and use food and drink handling gloves so as to decrease the chances of spreading or catching infection. COVID has also increased our awareness in handling food allergies, as cross contamination is especially avoided due to the chance of spreading infection as well as allergens. As a first-time Captain, some of the changes seemed overwhelming at first, but the staff and older Captains have all been incredibly helpful and are always there to aid in the adjustment.
What has been the most challenging part of your work? What have you found most rewarding?
The most challenging part of work, in my opinion, was learning how to faithfully produce a wide variety of drinks as well as the various customization options that Cool Beans offers. This was overwhelming at first but, due to the kind nature and patience of the staff, I was able to get my feet under me rather quickly. The most rewarding thing about my job has been the people I have met while working. I adore the staff that I have worked with, as they have been the best mentors and guides I could have ever asked for. I also truly enjoy meeting both old and new faces when handing out orders. I think we all missed having regular human connection over the course of the pandemic, and this job has shown me how happy I am to be here with all of you.
What would you recommend people order the next time they visit Cool Beans?
I would recommend people try our pastries and other baked goods. In previous years, we used to be stocked in baked goods by the Kimball kitchens. Now we have a bakery in Hogan that provides us with fresh baked goods made in house. Our Belgian Hot Chocolate is also amazing and has become a personal favorite of mine.
Be sure to stop by Cool Beans soon– but don’t forget to order on GrubHub!