Anyone passing through the Fine and Performing Arts building recently is sure to have noticed the new espresso kiosk in the lobby outside the Forum.
The kiosk opened just after the start of the new semester and is run by Aramark, HCC's food service vendor. It features the same Java City coffee found at the POD by the student lounge and in the cafeteria, as well as a selection of baked goods, bottled water and juices.
"We wanted another point of sale on campus, but higher end, with fresh ground coffee beans," said Mark Pronovost, head of Aramark Dining Services.
Besides the fresh ground beans, the new kiosk also features nearly two dozen hot and iced beverage options, from café mocha and caramel macchiato to iced café latte and hot chai tea latte.
"The coffee is awesome and they have so much variety so they can accommodate so many different people," said Melissa Branton a student worker from West Springfield, who has previously worked as a server selling coffee at Dunkin Donuts. "We have soy milk, fat free, whole milk. They even have light espresso, in case you want a jolt but not too much, and we have awesome pastries."
While the new kiosk doesn't have a name yet, it will soon. Pronovost solicited suggestions through campus email that elicited 75 names that have been narrowed down to a short list of six: Community Café, Espresso Express, Hot Coffee Cup--HCC, Thanks a Latte, The Forum Café, and The Percolating Arts Café. Once a name is picked there will be a formal dedication ceremony unveiling a new sign.
As a special promotion, the espresso kiosk will be giving out free 12 ounce cups of coffee on Monday, Feb. 27, until supplies last.
The kiosk hours are Monday through Friday, 7:30 to 2 p.m. Pronovost said it's possible hours could be extended to 4 p.m. for those who need an afternoon boost of coffee. Another idea is to have it open during theater performances.
Photos: (Left) Manager Patti Cavanaugh serves a customer. (Right) Worker Melissa Branton holds up a cup of coffee.