Lines for coffee now stretch from one side of the Bon Appétit kitchen to the other during peak times at lunch and dinner.

The increased demand for coffee comes from Bon Appétít’s switch at the beginning of the semester to Blue Hat Coffee, located in Cold­water, Michigan. Stu­dents said the cafeteria’s coffee is not just a source of energy — they look forward to it as a treat.

“It tastes a lot better,” sophomore Hannah Kwapisz said. “I can actually drink it instead of just gulping it down furi­ously before class to try to avoid the flavor that the old coffee had.”

Phillip Jewell
Madeline Fry | Col­legian

  Last winter, Phillip Jewell, the chief oper­ating officer of Blue Hat Coffee, tried Bon Appétít’s cafe­teria coffee, and  said he thought the stu­dents would appre­ciate a more palatable drink.

  Dave Apthorpe, Bon Appétít’s general manager, brought the idea of Blue Hat Coffee to a panel of stu­dents who review the cafe­teria menu and provide sug­ges­tions.

  All the stu­dents in the group liked the idea and sug­gested holding a contest to allow Hillsdale studens to pick their favorite coffee from Blue Hat, according to junior Paul Mit­ter­meier, who serves on the   panel.

  Last semester during finals week, Bon Appétít served Blue Hat Coffee in the Grewcock Student Union and polled stu­dents to decide which they pre­ferred.

  The Guatemalan hue­hue­te­nango, also a favorite at the Blue Hat store, won the contest.

  Apthorpe said he chose Blue Hat Coffee for the cafe­teria because the stu­dents enjoyed it and it qual­ified for Bon Appétít’s Farm to Fork program which encourages the use of locally pro­duced foods.

  Artisan coffee doesn’t come cheap, though. The Guatemalan and Kenyan coffees cost $14 per pound retail at Blue Hat and according to Jewell, Bon Appétít uses approx­i­mately 80 pounds per week.

  “It’s sig­nif­i­cantly more expensive, but there is value there for the stu­dents,” Apthorpe said.

  To offset the expense, Bon Appétít stopped brewing decaf coffee because much was thrown out each day. AJ’s Café will con­tinue to sell Zingerman’s Coffee, Apthorpe said.

  Some stu­dents said the new coffee is stronger.

  “Both of the new coffees, Kenyan and Guatemalan, are really great,” senior Ben Strickland said. “They’re actually brewed strong.”

Blue Hat will supply dif­ferent coffees to Bon Appétít each month. The Guatemalan hue­hue­te­nango will stay as the house coffee but Blue Hat has a Rwandan peaberry coming in next month that will go to Hillsdale, Jewell said.

Jewell selects his own beans through a highly selective process called “cupping.”

“We nor­mally test roast about 20 coffees for every three or four that we buy, so we’re pretty picky about what we select,” Jewell said.

In addition to the coffee’s pop­u­larity among stu­dents, Blue Hat Coffee’s con­nection to the abo­lition movement “was a good fit with Hillsdale,” Apthorpe said.

The original owner of the shop’s property used it to raise trotting horses for the Union during the Civil War.

“Branch County pro­vided more horses to the Union Army than any other county in the country during the Civil War, and a lot of those horses came from here, from this farm,” Jewell said.

The Union cavalry rode such horses, and they wore blue hats, which inspired the coffee shop’s name, Jewell said.

Today, Blue Hat Coffee is a popular place for many Hillsdale stu­dents.

“At exam time, if you come here on a Sat­urday or a Sunday, you’re going to see a lot of stu­dents,” Jewell said.