While trying to find a job during his online freshman year at the University of Maryland, Reid Xu found work as a Starbucks barista. There, he discovered the worlds of commercial and specialty coffee.
This love inspired the senior economics major to found the university’s Dream of Coffee club, born out of a belief that coffee was the perfect medium to meet other students.
“Students come in from basically every background possible because we see coffee as a global language,” Xu said.
Xu said his goal is to introduce specialty coffee to students as it’s more sustainable, and the club doesn’t charge students to try the brews.
A typical club meeting features a drip coffee and espresso station manned by a barista who explains the brewing process, according to sophomore international business major Jwi Brown, the club’s vice president.
Having gained many new members since its founding, the club is able to now host bigger events and has also partnered with Vigilante Coffee to use their coffee beans, Brown said.
Dream of Coffee creates a unique environment similar to a coffeehouse that connects students from different backgrounds on campus, whether or not they enjoy coffee.
While coffee is the central theme, students have the space to connect with people they wouldn’t meet otherwise.
“It’s just a place to socialize and get to know everyone, and talk about coffee,” Brown said.
Sophomore information science major Farida Adedoyin said seeing her friends and learning about making coffee is what she appreciates most about Dream of Coffee. She said she met most of her friends in freshman year, many of whom were outside her major, through the club.
Xu said the club will host various coffee making workshops starting in November to give attendees the opportunity to learn about the coffee-making process.
The chance to practice these skills enticed members like Brown to join the club.
Brown said she got her barista certification one summer when she used to live in Korea because she thought it would be an interesting skill to have. When she got to the university, she joined Dream of Coffee to further hone her barista skills, she said.
Brown agrees that the club is a place for students to connect despite potentially having different majors or year levels.
“DOC is a social club where we connect students from any background with each other,” Xu said. “More importantly, we’re also educating them on the coffee industry.”