The Daily Illini

Editorial: Same drink, different noise

By The Daily Illini Editorial Board

When the University announced that a new Starbucks would be opened in the Illini Union Courtyard Cafe, some caffeine-addicted members of The Daily Illini’s editorial board rejoiced. We figured it would be convenient — even though there was already a Starbucks 0.2 miles away from the new location. And another just 0.3 miles down the road.

The contract promising this new Starbucks was, in actuality, for three Starbucks locations to be opened and owned by the University. The first was installed in the Illini Union Bookstore, the Courtyard Cafe was the second location and the third has yet to be revealed.

However, the Courtyard Cafe location’s opening meant the closing of the quaint Espresso Royale, which had occupied the same spot up until last year.

But, now that the Illini Union Starbucks has been open for almost 10 weeks, our beloved $5-a-cup coffee stop has posed some issues to usual Courtyard Cafe dwellers.

When the University finally does announce the location of the third University-owned Starbucks, they need to take into consideration the problems that the Courtyard Cafe spot has presented.

The Courtyard Cafe has long been a place for students to study, meet with friends, conduct interviews and even listen to performances put on by fellow University students — but this is a lot harder now.

When Espresso Royale inhabited the space, the coffee shop was tucked into the south wall and had soundproofing surrounding the interior in order to quiet their work. This created a large seating space within the Courtyard Cafe that allowed for studying, watching news on the televisions and paying attention to performers simultaneously — whether or not any given student in the Cafe intended to purchase coffee.

The University’s Union Starbucks is far more intrusive and creates a more distracting environment. It has taken away roughly a fourth of the space of the Courtyard Cafe with both the space of the shop and its seating. The previous Espresso Royale effectively took up none.

Further, it creates a more hectic climate, with baristas frequently shouting orders and running obnoxious blenders to make drinks. While we appreciate the supply of caffeine and recognize that these negatives are necessary elements to make the business function, they’re issues that weren’t present with the previous, similar regime.

Had the location followed the same style of Espresso Royale — taking into consideration the restrictions and functions of the space and the needs of students who frequently use it — perhaps we wouldn’t be faced with the many problems the Courtyard Cafe exhibits today.

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