Daisy’s Café, New Coffee Debut in January

| December 22, 2008

Sweet Briar College’s Book Shop Café will undergo a renovation during the winter break, emerging when students return to campus in mid-January as Daisy’s Café, an upscale coffee shop named for the daughter of College founder Indiana Fletcher Williams.

The “rebranding,” as Steve Edwards, director of auxiliary services at the College calls it, will include more than a name change. Gone will be “convenience store-type items,” like candy bars, chips and bottled drinks, he said, along with the microwave hotdogs and hamburgers and pre-ground espresso pods.


The Sweet Briar Roast, in regular and decaf, will soon be available exclusively at Sweet Briar.

In their place, students and visitors to Daisy’s will find Boar’s Head deli sandwiches, a new coffee-hued color scheme, “significantly better” espresso-based drinks and a new house coffee that Edwards describes as “equal to or greater than any coffee shop around here.”

“The only place you’ll be able to buy this coffee is at Sweet Briar College,” he said, adding that it also will be served at catering functions and will be available for purchase at the café in whole bean, 12-ounce bags.

When he started searching for what would eventually be dubbed the “Sweet Briar Roast,” Edwards didn’t know the coffee and its grower would be a perfect match for the College.

Working with Rosetta Coffee Company in Lynchburg, Va., Edwards found Unnamalai Thiagarajan, the woman who owns Balmaadi Estate, a coffee plantation in the Blue Mountains of Southern India.

Although he wasn’t necessarily seeking a female grower – just a good cup of coffee – the connection between a woman coffee grower from the Blue Mountains of India and an all-women’s college in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia wasn’t lost on Edwards.

“I think that the fact we were able to find a female plantation owner, that’s just like icing on the cake, or cream in the coffee,” he said.

The decaf Sweet Briar Roast is an Arabica grown by Peru San Juan del Oro, a Peruvian co-op that, according to Rosetta, is “pushing hard to advance women’s issues within their community.”

Bottled drinks, candy bars and chips will still be available at the Book Shop, and the freshly baked muffins, scones and cookies that were previously served at the café will be on the menu at Daisy’s. French presses also will be available for use at the café.

Compared to the old Book Shop Café, Edwards foresees a slight increase in cost at Daisy’s, but says the “quality will more than make up for it.” He also hopes Daisy’s Café can be a place for people from the Amherst and surrounding communities to come for a good cup of coffee, in lieu of driving to Lynchburg.

The grand opening of Daisy’s Café is scheduled for 8 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 22. For more information, contact Edwards at [email protected] or (434) 381-6160.

– By Suzanne Ramsey, SBC staff writer

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