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Living the Barista Life at Cafe Opus

So I’m not sure if anyone knows, but I got a job.

Thrilling, I know.

BUT. I am not lying when I say that I work at the coolest place on campus. It is literally, the best job a student can get at Hamilton.

Not that I’m showing off, or anything :D

For the past month, I’ve been working at Cafe Opus. More specifically, O2.

Cafe Opus started 16 years ago when Larry and Sarah (2 of my bosses who are both married to Hamilton professors) decided to bring REAL coffee to the sad coffee scene that was central New York a decade and a half ago. They opened the original Opus (located on the dark side of campus) with a simple menu of coffee and baked goods to cater to college students desperate for quality caffeine.

pulling an espresso shot

Over the years, the menu has expanded to include full-on vegetarian lunches, with student employees sometimes adding their own creations (apparently, the incredibly popular mango-brie panini was made by a student).

the espresso machine. vrrm, vrrm, vrrm..

All these pictures are from O1, the original Opus. O1 offers a more limited food menu (one soup and one sandwich per day), although it still sells the famous Opus cookies, along with candy, biscotti, and muffins. They also sell Italian cream sodas (which O2 doesn’t offer), and the vibe is completely different.

decorations hanging above the cashier

Maybe it’s because O1 is older and on the dark side of campus, but it’s quirkier and more “hipster,” with an unmistakable, artsy flair.

the lounging/studying/eating area by O1

tips are always welcome. always.

O2, on the other hand, feels TOTALLY different. This Opus is newer and in the Science Center, so it makes sense that it’s cleaner and more streamlined, with a vertical feel. This is the Opus where I work, and although it’s all the way across campus (and a 10 minute walk from my dorm), I love working here – maybe because there’s more food?

the customer's view

The drink menu is pretty much the same here – we offer all the usual espresso drinks like Americanos, lattes, cappucinos, mochas, etc. as well as regular drip coffee.

the O2 'presso machine, espresso grinder, and flavored syrups

zoom-in on the single shotter

We’ve also got a huge wall of teas, from herbal to green to black to white. Take your pick!

tea tins, backstock teas, the coffee grinder, and the drip machine

Like I hinted before, Opus 2 is more food-based; there will always be 2 types of soups (one vegetarian chili and the another that will vary from day to day), at least one salad, and a sandwich, wrap or quesadilla.

a more food-centric menu at O2

black bean burritos and hummus wraps, ready to be sold

In the mornings when it gets slow, Nancy (our O2 boss/chef) will usually have us do some prep work or portioning out of some kind:

peelin' away at sweet potatoes

peeled taters

I can say with confidence that after these first few weeks, I’ve become pretty good at bagging trail mixes :D. Hey, don’t laugh! It requires a patient mind and a steady hand.

We also sell the signature Opus cookies and muffins, although there’s always other snack-able stuff around. You know, just in case you’re ever in the Science Center and hit with the dreaded midnight munchies.

opus cookies, available in chocolate chip, peanut butter, and oatmeal raisin

pillowy muffins in a variety of rotating flavors (corn, chocolate chip, cinnamon chip, blueberry, cranberry-orange, pumpkin, etc.)

trail mix, granola, and choco-covered espresso beans; these are DANGEROUSLY addicting

oh yes. they're tempting. and they're right under my nose everytime I work the register.

Delicious looking, aren’t they?

Well, this wraps up my virtual tour of the Opuses on campus; I hope you guys enjoyed it. Maybe this will convince some of you guys to visit me…? I’ll buy you a coffee and a cookie! :)

Haha, but all jokes aside, I’m actually super-stoked to be working here; as you can imagine, there’s a lot of competition for a job at Opus, so I’m really lucky to have gotten hired as a freshman. Plus, all the other employees are really chill and nice (I kind of look up to them… lol) and there’s none of the pretentiousness you get with some cafes. Not to mention that the coffee and food is AMAZING; when I drink the dining hall coffee now, it tastes like ditch water. Seriously, Opus has forever spoiled me…

But yeah, I just wanted to share my workplace with you guys because it’s actually SO COOL. And there’s so many things to photograph – practice, ya know? I hope you guys enjoyed!



3 thoughts on “Living the Barista Life at Cafe Opus

  1. Congratulations!!!!!

    Posted by Euna | March 16, 2011, 5:10 pm
  2. congrats love! miss youuuu <3

    Posted by Ji-Sun | March 16, 2011, 6:25 pm


  1. Pingback: Providence Eats Part 4: The Coffee Exchange « you eatin' nice - March 26, 2011

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