The Coffee Club at New York University

By Arnold Byun, Founder of The Coffee Club at NYU

What initially started as my first part-time job in the city has blossomed into a community now known as the Coffee Club at New York University (NYU).

Prior to moving to NYC in pursuit of a college degree, I’d never taken interest in coffee. I would often overhear people proclaim their so-called love and addiction for coffee — many announcing they could not begin or proceed their day without some.

The first experience with coffee came in the form of an itty-bitty white ceramic demitasse cup — undeniably bitter, acidic and greatly unpleasant. I thought $3 for this? What the hell is espresso?

Undeterred and not one to easily surrender, I propped open my laptop in my dorm and google’d “coffee”. With a rudimentary understanding, I found myself yet another coffee shop the very next day, determined to demystify the various coffee offerings. Utterly milky, barely reeking of bitter espresso and a decent-size, the latte became a go-to option as I scoured the city for the best coffee.

Not long after, I came across the forefront leaders in the Third-Wave, specialty coffee scene: Intelligentsia Coffee, Stumptown Coffee Roasters & Blue Bottle Coffee. With such serious commitment to quality control and deliciousness, the staff’s passion about coffee naturally rubbed off on me.

Thereafter my time as a barista, my obsession over coffee never truly subsided. I spent the summer traveling to Portland and San Francisco (two great cities known for superb coffee) and to my surprise, planning visits around neighborhoods that hosted coffee shops that I had been dying to try.

Within months, I had become one of those — a proclaimer of coffee. If I could undergo this transformation and foster a respect and appreciation for coffee, its processes and history; I wanted to help students better understand coffee as well.

In a sense, I wanted to give back to coffee. And the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. In days’ time per the new club submission’s requirement, I secured 200+ signups for members of the college community that had expressed potential interest in a Coffee Club on campus.

Now with 10 Executive Members, 200+ General Members and the largest annual Club Fest due in early-September, we’re anticipating to make a big splash this year as an official club at NYU.
When Arnold Byun took a part-time job as a barista in New York, he never expected to be swept up in the city's coffee culture.

In this guest post, he explains how he became a proclaimer of coffee and set up the Coffee Club at NYU.
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