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Close encounters of a Starbucks kind

In the spirit of the daily understaffed chaos witnessed in the campus Starbucks’ this year, here’s a look back at the former Starbucks attached to Maple Dining Hall. Maybe we’re nostalgic, but fall 2017 felt like a simpler time.



A barista clunks another hot drink on the counter. His borrowed name tag reads a cursive “Jenny,” surrounded by hand-drawn pumpkins.


A line of people pile up in an “L” shape, starting at the register and ending at an empty leather armchair. The chair is meant to appear old and lived-in but hosts a cohesive aesthetic your living room back home lacks. From the view of this chair, the line trickles into a corral of people in various waiting positions: perched on a low railing sidled up against a shelf of pumpkin spice K-cups, claiming a coveted seat or collecting around the spot where “Jenny” or one of his coworkers delivers five-to-six dollars worth of coffee at a time.

“Jacob!”— grabs a nondescript steaming cup and leaves.

“Sydney!”— Her halo braid is flawlessly Instagram ready. She waits patiently for a cold brew with extra ice that takes longer than expected, then clicks away in her heeled suede boots.

“Spencer!”— His flannel Miami shirt billows when he walks. He opts for a tall black coffee but waits with his friends for their more complicated orders.

“What’d you get? The pumpkin chai?” Landon says to Ashley, gesturing to the chalk sign: Fall Back in Love with PSL — OR Try Our Pumpkin Chai. She laughs, nods.

It is over 75 degrees outside, but the American obsession with fall never sheds its flannel. It’s a rite of passage to get the pumpkin spice latte or some other form of liquid pumpkin to ring in autumn.

“Ashley!”— Miami University Vineyard Vines shirt, converse, grande iced pumpkin chai.

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“Katie!”— Miami hockey jersey, shorts, birkenstocks and an iced pumpkin chai.

“Katie!”— pumpkin spice chai. 

“Emily!”— pumpkin scone.

“Kaylee, you’re in the way!” a worker says. In the middle of a rush of orders, she reaches for a lower cabinet to restock while another barista pumps syrup into a drink.

“I’m able to get a free drink next time!” Dede exclaims, staring at the rewards app on her phone. She and her daughter are stopping for caffeine before they head home for fall break. Their platinum blonde heads huddle over Dede’s phone, as if to shield it from everyone else who will have to shell out another five dollars for their fix of fall.

The crowd disperses. For now. It’s a 15-20 minute break for “Jenny” and the rest of the staff, manned by a manager with a short blonde ponytail and the nametag “Mommy Spice.” 

Many of their stories start with “One time, there was this frappuccino I made ...” and ends with something like “... halfway through the iced coffee, I realized it was not almond milk.”

Small mistakes like this can deconstruct the entire flow of a rush. A few minutes later, work picks back up again.

“Uh, this isn’t what I ordered. You forgot the coconut milk.” Scarlett, with her flannel and booties combo, ordered a grande strawberry acai refresher with coconut milk. The drink is heavily hyped up on social media as a “secret menu” item, a Starbucks hack, a trendy shot for the ‘gram.

Three workers exchange a look and remake the drink. Even with fall approaching, Instagrammable summer drinks like the milky refresher are still in season.

Another sign reads More to Love — Maple Pecan. Just in case you’re tired of pumpkin or salted caramel, you can try this new autumn drink (hot, iced or in frappuccino form!) to convince your tastebuds the fall season is nigh.

Cassidy goes for the syrupy plunge. Grande, iced. She takes her straw, swirls the decorative bits at the top and sips. She frowns, swirls it again. Sips. It’s too sweet for her liking, but she leaves with the cup in hand. 

It’s fall, after all.