Confessions of a Kenyon Barista: A Guide to Wiggin Street Coffee

            I love Wiggin Street Coffee – both as a customer, and as a barista. My co-workers rock, the drinks are delicious, and I love getting to know Kenyon students  I wouldn’t otherwise get to know. Maybe you’re a total pro looking for something new to try at Wiggle Ground, or maybe the idea of ordering coffee terrifies you, but here are a few of my best Wiggin Street insider secrets. Consider this a ‘secret menu,’ of sorts!

If you want to get your food and drink as quickly as possible

Least Busy Times:

•  Before 8:15

•  12-1:30

•  5:30 to 10 (except on weekends , when we close at 7 PM!).

Most Busy Times:

•  Right after class

•  Sundays

Fastest Food/Drinks:

•  Iced americano

•  Any cookie

•  Pastries

•  Drip coffee

•  Iced (not frozen) drinks

Slowest Food/Drinks:

•  Bagels

•  Espresso drinks

•  Frozen lattes

If you’ve waited more than 5 minutes, let us know! We probably just forgot to take your food out of the oven. Whoops!

When to Tip:

This information goes for pretty much every coffee shop in the United States, so pay attention!

If you ask for something simple, such as a drip coffee, or if you’re just grabbing a pastry, then you don’t need to tip – but if you still want to, go for it! However, if what you’re ordering costs more than $5, is more complicated to make, or is a food item, please tip. Also, if you come in ten minutes before closing and order something, it’s nice to leave a little something extra. By the way, our tips don’t have to be huge (we get plenty of 25 cent tips)!

Also, shout-out to the girl who gave us $5 right before Saturday closing time: you made our night.

Some Awesome Semi-Secret Drinks:

  1. We have pumpkin spice as of last week. Start rejoicing. Try it with spiced brown sugar. Rejoice again.
  2. If you feel particularly poetic, try a London Fog. It’s an Earl Grey latte with vanilla, and is sure to make you feel particularly sophisticated.
  3. If you want something basic but delicious, try an iced mocha or a dirty chai. Some awesome drink pairings from my coworkers: an iced mocha with a chocolate chip cookie, and a dirty chai with an oatmeal cookie.
  4. Want to feel like a European princess? Get an Italian Soda. They’re fizzy, sweet and delicious, and you can get them with any flavor syrup (raspberry is a favorite).
  5. Cold weather? Get a mocha, a caramel latte, or just a good ol’ fashioned regular latte. We also have soy and almond milk for your lattes.
  6. Want something new? Try mixing flavors! We have a lot of options up on the wall, but we can also customize drinks for you (within reason). I’m into mixing chocolate with other things like coconut, and lots of people like the spiced brown sugar in the chai.
  7. My drink? I usually get a regular latte, but when it’s too late at night for espresso, I get an Earl Grey Tea Latte with 1 pump of coconut and 1 pump of chocolate. To give credit where credit is due, the recipe comes from Fido, Taylor Swift’s favorite café in Nashville. It’s called “Grey Skies” there, which I think is pretty romantic.
  8. If you still don’t know what to order, I would recommend asking whoever is taking your order what they like. We’ve all made plenty of drink experiments!

Tips for Getting Awesome Food:

  1. We can warm up all the pastries, which includes the chocolate chip cookies! Somehow, warming up a cookie feels like Christmas is in your mouth.
  2. Try the focaccia bread. It’s amazing. Also, we have new soup every week that almost always goes very well with it.
  3. Best muffin: this is widely contested amongst us baristas, but the lemon poppy seed muffin has a special place in my heart.
  4. My favorite food combination: a sun-dried tomato bagel with red pepper cream cheese.

How to Gain a Barista Best Friend:

Dont order a “frappucino,” or anything else relating to Starbucks lingo. I will definitely pretend I don’t know what you’re talking about (even though I have worked for Starbucks!). Instead, ask “what’s your version of a [Starbucks drink]?”

Dont leave stuff all over your table when you leave. Scary fact: I generally recognize which drinks I gave to which people, so I know exactly who you are – and then it’s a bit awkward to see you around campus.  

Dont pronounce it “expresso.” It’s espresso. You don’t say “expionage” or “expadrilles.”

But most importantly, do talk to me about your life! I love getting to know customers. Making coffee is one of the coolest ways to comfort and help people; it’s such a great form of simple hospitality, and has the power to turn someone’s day around. I chose to work at a coffee shop because I like people. If it’s quiet in the shop and you want someone to talk to, I’m your girl.

And there you have it: my confessional, a comprehensive guide to our very own Wiggin Street Coffee shop. I hope it helps you out next time you stop by to grab your drink of choice!