Something new is brewing in Aromas
For University of San Diego students who have sluggishly made their way over to Aromas to get their coffee fix in between morning classes, only to realize their beacon of hope is missing, the wait is almost over.
Aromas Cafe, a student favorite and central meeting spot on campus, is taking a momentary leave of absence for a facelift. Students should expect an improved system for waiting in line, a self-serve beverage option, air conditioning, seating options, and, of course, coffee and crepes.
Sophomore Leslie Gobel shared how the renovation is changing her daily routine.
“I’ve been extra tired, and there is nowhere quick to eat on campus anymore that is quite as good as Aromas,” Gobel said. “I loved Aromas and don’t really think they needed a renovation, but I’m excited to see what they’ve done once it’s open.”
André Mallié, the Associate Vice President of Auxiliary Services, explained that he is aware that Aromas is a central meeting spot for students and faculty alike. Mallié offered insight on how the overall ambiance will be changing.
“We want to create a very inviting environment for students so that people will want to stay there and have fun with their friends or study,” Mallié said. “We are doing this by creating seating zones, each offering different options and feelings. Some will have high tables to work on, and some will be relaxed and comfortable to stay and have a great cup of coffee or tea. Overall, we want the new seating arrangement to have more of a community focus.”
To add to the cozy and creative vibe coming to Aromas, creative students will have the opportunity to hang their art in the more relaxed corners of the cafe. These areas will also be garnished with comfortable couches and carpet to kick back and relax in between classes. If that is not the experience you are looking for, there will still be plenty of tables to buckle down at and get some work done. Aromas will now offer high community tables so groups of students may convene for various group projects or study sessions.
What many current students may not realize is that Aromas has historically taken on various personas. Starting as the central dining hall, Aromas transformed to a dining room for faculty, then a dining room for campus presidents, and eventually into the coffee hub we now know. The new decor will be a nice revamp from the previous accumulation of leftover furnishings from the past.
While ambiance is crucial to the success of a student hang out spot, the food and drinks being served are just as important. This is what keeps students coming back. Mallié shared a little about what to expect on the menu in the new and improved Aromas.
“It is going to have a change of product,” Mallié said. “We will still have the anchors of coffee and cold drinks, but we want to bring in a lot more breakfast items, some different products, and new lines of drinks.”
In addition to these new products, Aromas will offer a self-serve beverage option so students may avoid the line of students waiting for muffins and crepes. This self serve station will have iPads for students to select their drink of choice, pull down a lever, and wait for their drink to be dispensed. The iPads will also display information about the beverage for students to learn various information and facts about their coffee or tea and where it is coming from.
Mallié shared how the new innovative technology will alter students’ coffee experience.
“If we think about the new beverage concept, it will be based off of what people are serving themselves and their own desires,” Mallié said. “There will be a system at the iPads where our intent is for the consumer to go over there, get the drink, and pay for it without having to go to the cash register.”
Sophomore Goje Casey, a self-proclaimed coffee addict, shared her ideas on the concept of a self serve coffee machine.
“I like this idea because Aromas was just so crazy, especially in between classes, so I would usually just avoid it,” Casey said. “Aromas had the best coffee on campus, it was the only place it wasn’t burnt, and it was a good middle place to meet, so I think this new system will help things move along.”
Sophomore Faith Hale shared that the virtual coffee machine may change standard coffee shop behaviors.
“I don’t like the idea of this,” Hale said. “We need to keep the face-to-face interaction; I like talking to people in line and asking the baristas for their recommendations. If we are focusing on the iPad, we are not paying attention to the people around us, and we are no longer making connections with people.”
In an effort to help USD achieve its goal of being as sustainable as possible, Aromas’ redesign will allow students who choose to stay in-house the opportunity to sip on their coffee or tea from a reusable mug rather than waste another to-go cup. There is also a plan in the works to have a reusable cup system, similar to the new reusable Coca-Cola cup system on campus, for eventual discounts on coffee.
Along with improving comfort and efficiency, there are some general maintenance elements that will be taken care of, including the much needed addition of air conditioning. Mallié discussed the remodel needed on the old, traditional building connected to Maher Hall.
“The last significant remodel of Aromas was twenty-nine years ago, so it is time to address certain elements of the building, such as electricity, plumbing, and ventilation,” Mallié said. “We are redoing the building to bring it back to current code, add new ceilings, redo the electricity, and add air conditioning to Aromas.”
As the fall semester is officially in full swing, students will soon rely on their morning cup of coffee to get through the demands of the school day. Whether you are waiting for your favorite hangout or study spot to reopen, or just craving your daily crepe fix, have no fear because Aromas Cafe is anticipated to reopen this November.
Written by Abby Gentry, Asst. News Editor