-Written by Jamie Mosher
Pam Kindred is one of the ladies who works at the Kutztown Perk in South Dining Hall. I wanted to interview her because as a busy college student I visit the coffee shops every day and I am grateful for the people who work hard to make it a wonderful experience. Pam is one of those dedicated people and she makes it her job to keep the students happy because it’s the students that make her love her job. She has been serving the KU population for seven years so far and one of the first questions that I was dying to know was whether or not she enjoyed coffee. She had this to say:
“I do, I try to limit myself because I can get migraines, but I do enjoy it.”
She is definitely not alone in that respect. I am a fellow coffee lover and I am not sure I could limit myself if I was working there! There is so much variety to choose from and if you want to go just before your 8 am class, leave a few minutes early because it gets pretty busy in the mornings. It takes some prep work to make the coffee shop ready to open every morning and Pam usually gets an early start around 6am each morning. After coming in she brews the iced coffees and teas, the hot beverages, wraps the pastries, organizes the bagels after delivery, and prepares to open. This has to happen every morning or the students would be left sleepy-eyed and sluggish. Pam said that she likes to have a variety of hot coffees available, at least one of every category. I could really tell that she thinks about the students each and every morning to be sure that there will be something for everyone to enjoy. I took the few pamphlets that are available at the coffee shops that describe Java City coffees and they said that the four categories of coffees are smooth, full, bold and flavored. She likes to pick at least one of each category if she can.
I was curious to hear what Pam thinks are the popular drinks on campus. She would be the one to ask since she is there interacting with so many students every day.
“Caramel Macchiato, definitely the most popular.” The cookies and cream Javalanche and the strawberry and banana smoothie come after. The hot coffees are more popular in the mornings while cool drinks and smoothies become the popular order after 11 am. Like any other place, the weather can influence the popularity of a certain item. I’m sure that in the middle of winter more hot coffee is ordered than smoothies.
Along with the most popular beverages, I asked Pam if there was anything on the menu that people seem to never order. Are there any “unknown” items of sorts? She believes that the least ordered item is the acai smoothie, which with the fruit blend Pam said “mixed together reminds me of prune juice.” That made me laugh and I debated with myself about ordering one to try it. Perhaps one day I will, but her comment made me put it off for a warmer day. She also mentioned the Hawaiian muffins that I did not even know they carried sometimes. I will put that on my list of things to try in the future.
A college campus is a diverse setting and you are able to learn about so many different cultures by spending time with diverse people. I asked Pam how she felt about being able to work with a diverse group. She was sure to express her enjoyment of everyone she encounters.
“I just love people and cultures. I have been to 3 different countries… and I love different accents.”
She then described meeting a student’s father from South Africa. She got the chance to speak with him shortly and had asked him what he thought of our food here in the US. He had told her that we eat a lot of potatoes. I wish I could of experienced that conversation! Pam is definitely a great pick for working in the coffee shop because her love of diversity goes well with the environment. She described how being a coffee shop on a college campus does make for a slightly different experience, but it might not be unlike a busy shop in a city. Students tend to be in a hurry making the shop run at a fast pace and there is a small age group, for the most part.
Due to the small age range of most customers being on average 18-23 years old, decaf coffee is not very popular. With the caffeine flying and students always in a rush to get off to class, I asked Pam if her job is stressful at times.
“It can be stressful… especially if the espresso machine acts up. It has a mind of it’s own”
To me that machine seems like a mysterious monster that spits out the fuel of my life. I am definitely not awake until I have had my coffee and I am thankful for the coffee shops on campus that help provide it.
As I looked at all of the syrups available, I asked her that if she could invent a drink that would entice the college aged customers what would it be? Her response was this:
“Well I put the Shamrock Shake together.” She described how she came up with that popular drink and a student had named it. I know so many people that love those shakes and flock to get them while they are available for a limited time each year. If you are one of those people then remember to thank Pam each time you order one this semester!
I, like many, always get a bagel with my morning coffee to complete my usual breakfast. The coffee shops on campus have a variety of pastries and goodies to choose from. There are: danishes, cookies, bearclaws, scones, muffins, donuts, cupcakes, bagels and more from time to time. Don’t forget to try that Hawaiian muffin if you ever see it available! I wanted to end the interview by simply asking if Pam enjoyed her job here on campus.
“I really do enjoy it here because of the students. I did not pick the coffee shop I was just placed there, but I am glad I was because of the variety of things that we offer. It’s not just the same thing over and over.”
Pam is only one of the many lovely staff members that keep our students fueled up and ready for their classes. The coffee shops are always an enjoyable environment and a cup of hot fresh brewed coffee is a great way to start the day! Be sure to say a friendly hello because staff members like Pam, who work to make the students happy every day, will always gladly return it.
I would like to send a special thanks to Pam Kindred for allowing me to interview her.