An Open Letter to the New Uncommon Grounds

Dear New Uncommon Grounds (which, as you may have heard, has been ~officially~ dubbed “NUG”),

Congratulations on your recent move from the cozy bubble within the well-trafficked Sellinger Lounge to the prime real estate spot in an obscure corner of the bookstore. Thank you for making it less tempting for us to spend precious flex dollars out of our late-night-quesadilla budget on strangely-named caffeinated beverages. Thank you for recognizing that among the exorcist steps, the Regents stairs, the VCW steps, the stairs to Yates, the White-Gravenor stairs and the Walsh staircase, Georgetown is truly deprived of opportunities for excessive stair-climbing. Thank you for moving to a location that allows us to ~seek the magis~ up an additional two flights. We have to thank you, New Uncommon Grounds. Without your grand reopening, we would not have the pleasure of experiencing the following awkward moments thus far, in your short tenure of just a few days:

1 . Going to NUG at 9pm on a Wednesday, and finding it completely empty with the exception of the baristas. We thought you were closed and retreated down the stairs, but you shouted after us, “we’re open!”, and so we had to awkwardly walk back inside.

Actual footage of a NUG employee trying to make us walk back up the stairs, 2017, colorized. 

2. A woman asked our blogger Caroline if her name was “Eleanor Rigby” upon her receiving the caramel hazelnut latte by the same name. This drink is now cancelled.

3. With the loss of the beloved UG couches, we experienced the strange and utter horror of not having anywhere to sit. And when we finally did find a spot, it turned out it was already someone else’s spinny chair. Sad!

But despite the loss of our dear old friend, we’ve come up with a list of suggestions to make the NUG experience the best it can be for all students:

1. Build retail therapy into your customer experience. As a Georgetown student, you can sleep when you’re dead (and therefore must caffeinate whilst living). Additionally, you must not let anyone forget that you are walking the same hallowed grounds that Bradley Cooper, John Mullaney, Patrick Ewing and Bill Clinton once roamed. Therefore, you’re going to need some gear: Why not sell some in the store? While they’re at it, your customer may even buy some for his or her third cousin twice-removed, and the entirety of his or her high school graduating class.

You if you don’t buy a new Georgetown sweatshirt every time you go to NUG.

2. Sell the stairs as “aggressive stair workout.”

Training Plan: Begin on M street and walk up the exorcist steps, then take a left on N Street to walk up the Lau steps. Walk down past the HFSC, up past Cooper field, and then up the Regents stairs. Lastly – take your pick between the ~official NUG stairs~ (currently incorrectly labeled as the “UG stairs”) or the bookstore escalator. To balance out your customers counting calories, have them subtract those it took to get upstairs! Pro-tip: make sure that every article of clothing on your body was purchased at  lululemon because otherwise it doesn’t count as exercise at Georgetown.

3. Tell your customers they have the perfect excuse to borrow their parents’ private helicopter. We are all well aware that our enormous campus already warranted travel by Vespas, but now it’s time to inform your parents that you will be needing to borrow ~one~ of their helicopters to fly you from your dorm to the Leavey Esplanade to pick up your NUG Love latte. Your customers have been waiting all this time for the right excuse.

4. Relive the good old days. If your customers are still missing the old Kanye UG, tell them to purchase some blackout shades to recreate that familiar sense of total darkness. This way, their fellow NUG customers will still be completely unrecognizable from a short distance and they can still feel like they’re writing a paper in the middle of the night ALL THE TIME. As we all know, the “This is due at 8 a.m. and I haven’t started” paper-writing aesthetic is even more popular among the Georgetown community than ~cura personals~, and it would be a shame to let some “sunlight” ruin it.

This can still be you at NUG!

New Uncommon Grounds: Much like freshmen year roommates and mandatory group projects, you are unfamiliar and slightly awkward. But we’re willing to try and make this thing work if you are.

With (NUG) Love,

Sarah and Caroline

Photos/Gifs: giphy.com, tumblr.com

Corp Coffee Improved, But New Smoothies Shine

Corp Taste Test

After receiving student feedback about their coffee, The Corp recently replaced all their coffee and espresso beans, chai mixes and smoothie bases with ones from new vendors. During this time, UG, MUG, and Midnight MUG will also all replace their coffee makers, coffee grinders and espresso grinders with higher quality Curtis brand ones, made in California. Espresso machines have also been updated.

UG employee Nick Pavlovic believes that the new equipment will help improve customer service at all the coffee shops.

“The new machines really change the game,” he said. “They run faster, the grinders especially, which run twice as fast as the old ones. The coffee will be fresher and quicker, and everything will be more consistent. It takes the human error out of making drinks.”

DC-based Compass Coffee’s beans replaced the old coffee and espresso beans, from Mayorga coffee. Not only does Compass Coffee roast their beans right in DC, but co-founder Harrison Suarez has even traveled to Colombia to visit different farms and processing facilities. The coffee is called the Cardinal Blend, made up of Brazilian and Guatemalan coffee. The new espresso beans are a blend of Brazil, Guatemalan and Sumatran coffee. This blend gives the coffee “this really great chocolate nutty flavor,” Suarez said.

Moving toward a local coffee brand has furthered the idea of quality with Corp products.

“Our coffee overhaul is really the final step in solidifying our mission to really champion both good quality products as well as local entrepreneurial ideas,” outgoing COO Patrick Moore said.

The Coffee

4E pitted the old coffee, bought at Midnight Mug, against the new coffee at Uncommon Grounds. The aroma of the new coffee was cleaner, brighter and less pungent than older roast, which seemed acidic and harsh. The old coffee tasted earthly and almost burnt, while the new is fresh and fruity. The Corp’s switch to Compass Coffee is definitely the right choice.

The new espresso beans also worked very well in a latte. The latte tasted less sharp than the old one, and the espresso gave the latte a nearly caramel-like aroma and a deep, rich flavor.

Ratings—Old coffee: 2/5 New coffee: 4/5

The Chai

UG was also nice enough to give us a taste of the new chai and old chai. The new formula is actually a concentrate, as compared to the old powder. The new chai is produced by Maya Chai, located in Arizona, and comes in two flavors, vanilla and spice. No-sugar chai will be added to the collection in March.

The new concentrate is “a lot more natural,” according to Moore, and half the calories of the old powder. Although new the chai is thinner and paler than the old mix, the new one focuses more on the chai spices than the old chai. The new chai is not quite as sweet as the old one, but still enough to satisfy any sweet tooth.

The dirty chai and iced chai drinks will also be easier to make with the new concentrate because the concentrate’s liquid form won’t form clumps in drinks like the old powder did.

Even though the new chai is definitely delicious, taste-wise, it’s not hugely different from the old one. However, health-wise, this chai has a lot fewer calories and is much more natural coming from a concentrate rather than a powder.

Ratings—Old Chai: 3.5/5 New Chai: 4/5 

The Smoothies

Finally, the Corp also changed their smoothie vendors, from using a mix by syrup maker Monin to a company called Doctor Smoothie.

The difference between the old smoothie and the new smoothie was by far the greatest in all three drinks. Doctor Smoothie’s mix is 100 percent crushed fruit, and baristas mix in yogurt, milk, ice, and etc. to make a much more natural smoothie than the previous one. The new smoothie is much healthier with fewer chemicals and less sugar than the old one, which contained dyes and chemicals.

4E compared the old mango smoothie with the new one, and yes, the new one was much better. Although the old smoothie smelled more like mango, the new one tasted so much more like mango, almost as if someone really did just crush up a fresh mango into a drink. The new smoothie was thicker, less sweet and fruitier than the old one, and was a delicious icy blend, perfect for an upcoming hot summer day. The smoothies are now offered in six flavors as well.

Ratings—Old Smoothie: 2/5 New Smoothie: 5/5

Photo: wikipedia.org

Today in Hoya History: Leavey Center Suggestions

Screen Shot 2013-01-30 at 1.42.24 AMOn this chilly 31st of January, you’ve probably been thinking about the upcoming weekend, the bipolar weather we’ve been having, whether Georgetown is going to crush St. John’s on Saturday (answer: yes) and whether you’ll be attending the upcoming Cherry Tree Massacre extravaganza (answer again: yes). But you might be interested to know that on January 31st, 1995, the students of Georgetown were thinking about something far, far different: the Leavey Center! Just as we’re in the process of taking student suggestions for the new student center in New South, the students of 1995 were doing the same.

According to the January 1995 archives of The Hoya, the GU administration had just received student input for plans to remodel the main floor of the Leavey Center. (Renovations, which were funded by a $2 million grant from MBNA Bank of America, occurred in the Summer of 1995.)

According to Dean James A. Donahue, “The [Leavey Center] is cold [and] the building is uninviting,” echoing the thoughts of many students and faculty at the time. (I personally thought he was talking about Lau.)

Plans from students aimed to move the Office of Student Affairs to the 5th floor (where it is currently located) and expand the career center (which also occurred). Other suggestions included adding more space for student groups such as WGTB, Uncommon Grounds, the office of performing arts and the Women’s Center. Georgetown University Student Association Vice President Ned Segal even proposed adding “pool tables and televisions” to the Center while still keeping “areas to study.”

The 1995 renovations ultimately shaped the Leavey Center into the space we know and love today. Unfortunately, the revamping also required the removal of the building’s video arcade. (That’s right. Leavey had a video arcade. And yes, we’re disappointed it’s gone, too.)

Looking for further suggestions, The 1995 Hoya also decided to ask students for input on what should be placed into the remodeled Leavey. Some Hoyas’ ideas were spot on and others were … well … take a look for yourself:

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