Princeton Coffee Club: Brewing A Community

Princeton University

A few weeks ago, I had an inspiring conversation with Sara Miller, one of the directors of the Princeton Coffee Club

“Oh, what’s that?” You might ask

Well, it’s a cute coffee nook located on Princeton University’s campus. If passing through, either for a college tour or just through the town itself, the Coffee Club is the ideal place for a delicious pick-me-up. 

Princeton’s Coffee Club not only brews delectable coffee but also houses a supportive and hardworking group of Princeton students, AKA Tigers. The shop’s mission to bring students together is what initially drew me to have a conversation with Sara and discuss the Club’s history and significance to the student body.

She told me a little bit about the coffee club’s history, about how it all started with the founder, Alex Kaplan, and how Sara got involved. Alex is the coffee expert and Sara had the barista experience. With their friends Caitlin, Emily, and Josh and equipped with these skills and willing to pour their blood, sweat, and tears into this shop, they created something they are proud of that also created a cultural hub: bringing the Princeton community together.

In the beginning, the founding team wanted to create a new space where students could study, chat with friends, hold events, and serve quality coffee at a decent price. They believed that many of the surrounding cafés were WAY too expensive, and as many college students know, money’s tight. Princeton was instrumental in helping them get off the ground as the university provided them with a rent-free space.

Now, of course, every coffee-lover wants to make sure that they are consistently purchasing the perfect cup of coffee–these people know they have to look no further as soon as they take their first sip of Princeton Coffee Club’s coffee. All of their roasts, which are rich and smooth in taste, are direct-trade as opposed to what most coffee-houses offer: fair-trade. Direct-trade helps the farmers that grow the coffee beans. The partner gets the coffee directly from them and ensures a bigger profit for the farmers. 

“Hear that cafes? Make the switch to direct-trade coffee!” Do a favor for your tastebuds while also helping out small businesses at the same time.

The coffee club is a hub for Princeton students as the shop encourages them to host their events inside the shop. Over the past year, they have supported and rented out their space to many different types of students: karaoke victims, open-mic lovers, and Princeton’s LGBT community. 

Sara even shared a fun experience they had in the shop once. Before Princeton’s campus closed due to COVID-19, the Princeton Student Government announced that they would pay for all of the drinks of the Class of 2020! It was a madhouse. Orders flooded in, and students waited hours for their coffee. It was stressful, but Sara assured it was loads of fun, describing it as “Completely and totally unreal,” and could not believe that, “I had a hand in creating this.” 

Princeton University Coffee Club

The Princeton Coffee Club’s team of baristas and managers.

The Princeton Coffee Club is more than just a place where people buy their daily joe. It’s a place where students feel that they can belong. Their shop not only sells cheaper and top-of-the-line coffee, but it brings the surrounding community together and provides a space where students can help each other succeed. The Coffee Club is a shining example of what every student-run coffee shop sho12uld aspire to emulate: a shop that strengthens its community by crafting a heavenly cup of coffee.