Bean there, done that: In a world of Starbucks, UK needs more local coffee options


People study at Chocolate Holler coffee shop on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Jennifer Sadler, Reporter

Coffee is my favorite way to treat myself.

It gives me something to do, tastes amazing, is (usually) cheap and provides instant gratification. What’s even better is how readily available it is. If I need a pick-me-up after class, I can easily go to the library, student center or business building to get my fix. Though we are blessed to have these resources, the options presented to us leave something to be desired.

I’m sure we’ve all enjoyed Starbucks – either on campus or off. Though perhaps a slightly pricier option than other chains, Starbucks is a reliable option for coffee, tea and other food and drink items. Even though Starbucks and other coffee chains offer a comfortable set of menu items familiar to many, sometimes I wonder if replacing these familiar franchises with locally sourced coffee shops may be more beneficial.

Lexington has so many different and unique places to get coffee. Anywhere from Third Street Stuff and Coffee to Old School to Chocolate Holler, local businesses have been fueling local consumers for years. Though many of these places are independently successful, many of them have a large student-based clientele and may benefit from a partnership with the university.

It’s not that Starbucks or any other chain is necessarily bad – I still enjoy a strawberry acai refresher or vanilla sweet cream cold brew as much as the next girl. But, at the same time, I find that a lot of their drinks are overrated and overpriced, especially in comparison to many of the other local places I’ve been.

Having local coffee shops on campus would add character to a campus that, to me, seems to be overly commercialized. Even though I love UK’s campus and the spaces available to students, I think it could definitely benefit from partnerships with local businesses in order to create more “homey” places for studying, meeting and socializing.

Not to mention, students would appreciate the diversity of coffees offered by these small businesses. Because they do not have the same resources and reach as places like Starbucks, they are constantly changing and updating menu items in order to attract customers, creating new and unique drinks as a result. A change like this would excite students while also benefiting local Lexington businesses.

Though it may be difficult for the university to make this switch, I believe it would be extremely beneficial to make the change from Starbucks to a local business. Getting students excited while also helping Lexington businesses helps the university and the city. Creating a closer relationship between the city and the UK campus will help students and workers alike become more connected with one another, and allow for greater opportunities for everyone.