Good coffee, good company

As avid coffee drinkers, not to mention caffeine addicts, we were naturally curious about the new coffee bar in Goodrich Student Center.

So, one night we grabbed some of our friends and headed over for a post-dinner treat. We were excited by the prospect of a late-night locale with a variety of beverages and an atmosphere quite different from that of the snack bar.

We were greeted at Goodrich by a surprising variety of coffees, espresso drinks and caffeine alternatives. Freshly ground drip coffee from Speeder & Earl’s is available in many different flavors. The selections included a soon to be personal favorite, Speeder’s Choice, which boasts extra high caffeine content.

The flavors we tasted, including a decaf blend, were all very smooth and delicious. An assortment of spices, sweeteners, and creamers were available so that we could flavor the coffee to our personal tastes. The sugar was clumping, but we assume that with the passage of humid weather, the problem will resolve itself.

In addition to the coffee, we were confronted with an assortment of espresso drinks, from double shots to Cafe Mochas made with Ghirardelli hot chocolate.

We were disappointed to find no decaf espresso on the menu, but we have been assured that it is on its way. Torani syrups in multiple flavors can also be found, to add more variety to the menu.

We were quite impressed by the medley of Henry Patterson brand teas, especially since the list included Chai, a not so common delicacy. The list also included a Djarleeing and a strong citric blend, Lemon Sunburst C, which is rumored to be the cure to the common cold.

The coffee bar also offers other beverages, including Gatorade, sodas and bottled water. These choices will appeal to athletes dropping by after a workout in Lasell. We sadly noted the absence of any juice on the list of selections, but understand that Free Fall Smoothies and Mad River Sodas will soon be made available.

A wide array of gustatory delights is also available at Goodrich. We were tempted by a vast spectrum of mouth-watering baked goods from local favorites Clarksburg bakery and Lickety-Split. The almond biscotti was quite excellent, but since we had just returned from dinner, we decided to leave the attractive cookies, brownies, and pastries for another occasion.

The coffee bar also sells breakfast foods such as bagels, muffins and scones, for those who stop by on the way to class in the morning. The bagels, provided by Pittsfield-based Berkshire Bagels, are delivered throughout the week to ensure freshness.

Additionally, an assortment of flavored cream cheeses are available to the more venturous customer, with flavors alternating on a weekly basis. Overall, we were pleasantly surprised by the varied selection of baked goods and beverages.

The coffee bar also boasts a key location in the Great Hall of the Goodrich Student Center. Goodrich is a pleasant place for studying alone or chatting with a small group of friends, and both activities commonly involve coffee. The small copper tables on the ground floor encourage intimate clustering, while the comfortable chairs on the mezzanine level invite lounging.

Maywa Montenegro ’01 noted a distinctively different decorating scheme than that of the snack bar. “I really like the tarnished table tops,” she said. “I’m impressed by the decor. It really gives it a cafe-like feel.”

Verena Arnabal ’01 was also pleased after her first visit to the coffee bar. While she enjoyed the coffee, it was the atmosphere that she noticed most. “It’s the social place we’ve been missing,” Arnabal said.

The mood seems much more relaxed than that of the snack bar in Baxter or other common study spots and gathering places on campus.

So far, the noise level has remained far below the typical high volume chatter of the snack bar. Perhaps the hum of voices will increase as business takes off, but we expect it to remain relatively peaceful.

Those who want to study in a more pleasant environment than the library will be pleased with what Goodrich has to offer. With nourishing study foods and e-mail terminals just a few feet away, Goodrich offers an excellent study space.

It is an especially nice addition for students in the Berkshire quad, who previously had to make the trek to Baxter to find coffee or snacks. They will certainly be grateful when the winter weather sets in, discouraging unnecessar walks across campus.

The coffee bar offers a different experience from that of the snack bar. Some items are served in both places, but for the most part, the two cater to different campus needs.

While the snack bar has a much more extensive food menu including sandwiches and fries, Goodrich’s selection of beverages rivals that of a trendy coffee shop. The fresh baked goods make a tempting accompaniment to any drink.

Although meal equivalency (dinner points) cannot be redeemed at Goodrich, regular snack bar points are accepted. Furthermore, the coffee bar will be open until one a.m. on week nights and later over the weekend once the normal schedule starts up. The coffee bar will close at midnight this week, but will be functioning according to its regular, extended schedule by mid-October.

The hours are available at the coffee bar page of the Goodrich website: http://wso.williams.edu/orgs/goodrich/coffee.html, along with a menu and an electronic suggestion form.

All in all, we were quite excited by our first venture to the Goodrich coffee bar. Not only is it a welcome spot for students to meet and either study or socialize, but it also serves an outstanding range of drinks and treats.

Providing a welcome addition to the late night scene, the coffee bar will continue to attract our business.

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