Coffee culture is embedded in the Ames and Iowa State community, as there is a local shop within a mile of every corner. For a group of students, talking about the drink and comparing different roasts has become an essential part of their campus learning experience.
The Coffee Club is a student organization that started three years ago as a way to bring coffee culture to Iowa State. Kayla Kielkucki, a senior in event management and advertising and the president for Coffee Club, said she was part of the original group who created the club.
“I started the club three years ago with my really good friends — there were about 10 of us and we all really just loved coffee; we really wanted to get a club started and try to organize something together and we started Coffee Club,” Kielkucki said.
Kielkucki was a barista — a person who prepares and makes espresso based coffees — for three years in her hometown.
The meetings can consist of a combination of informational meetings and trying various coffees. For example, Kielkucki said there was a meeting about the different ways to roast coffee beans — a method of preparing coffee beans to be ground and brewed to be made into a drink. The club also tries various types of coffee, such as the most caffeinated roast.
“We drank the most caffeinated coffee at one of our meetings last year; that was one thing I would probably not have done unless I was trying with a group of people, and I wouldn’t have tried it on my own,” Kielkucki said. “It was actually good — I mean it tasted pretty average honestly. It was called ‘Death Wish Coffee,’ so it sounded and just looked really aggressive, but I feel like it was basically just an average cup of coffee.”
There are about 20 to 30 students who regularly attend Coffee Club’s meetings.
“A lot of people are [coffee lovers or baristas] but also a lot of people come to the club to hang out and go for the social aspect, which is what we want. We want it to be a networking opportunity for kids; you don’t have to like coffee if you just want to learn about it — that’s okay too,” Kielkucki said.
The club works with local organizations such as Cafe El Zapote, a partnership between St. Thomas Aquinas and coffee planters in El Zapote, located in the Copán region of Honduras.
The club brings in local coffee businesses, such as Cabin Coffee Co., to teach the club members about creating a coffee shop.
Coffee Club has meetings every other Monday.