Blue Donkey baristas espresso their feelings

Baristas work at Blue Donkey Coffee Co. in the ground floor of Crosland Tower. Blue Donkey is a campus favorite for coffee. // Photo by Caitlin Aycock, Student Publications

Blue Donkey Coffee Co., a campus favorite, never fails to put a smile on students’ faces.

But it is not just the iced coffees or paninis that brighten moods, it is also the kindhearted individuals who work tirelessly behind the counter every day.

Nia Cosby, first-year ME, and Melody Simmons share a glimpse of their lives as Blue Donkey baristas, highlighting the best parts about working on a college campus.

“I actually just graduated from Agnes Scott College in May and wanted to have a bit of a break before jumping into the process of finding a full-time job in my field.

“After losing my senior year to the pandemic, working at a coffee shop at Tech and being on a full college campus again sounded really great,” Simmons said.

The ongoing pandemic has created feelings of uncertainty for many, but Simmons found stability and comfort when she decided to apply to Blue Donkey.

With prior experience working at Panera Bread, working in the food service industry was not new for Simmons.

One of Simmons’ favorite parts about working at Blue Donkey is the variety of people that she meets on her shifts.

“I’ve gotten to know a lot of really nice Tech staff members and students, and seeing them in line when we’ve been busy all day is always a highlight,” Simmons said. “I’ve also loved making friends with some of the Tech students who work with me and getting to hear more about the school’s culture that I didn’t know about. It’s really nice to be surrounded by people my age, talk to professors and staff members and just hear bits of conversation about what people are studying or working on — and college students are way nicer than Panera customers.”

While countless students have formed meaningful friendships with Simmons, unfortunately she is moving on from Blue Donkey this week.

“Working at Blue Donkey has been great, but I’m ready to try something else and start figuring out what I want to do with my degree and my future. Maybe I’ll even go to grad school and be back at Tech one day,” Simmons said.

Simmons has a bright future ahead of her, and many members of the Tech community will miss her warm smiles and latte hearts.

One of her co-baristas however, is just now starting her journey with Blue Donkey.

Nia Cosby started working at Blue Donkey just a few weeks after arriving at Tech as a first-year.

When she is not studying for her own classes in the library, Cosby tries new drinks and enjoys when her friends visit.

“Since I go to Tech, it’s really nice working in the library. I get to see my friends stop by and see all the students.

“I also love how right after work, I can go somewhere else in the library to study,” Cosby said. Like most Tech students, Cosby is excited about her future. Blue Donkey challenges her to balance her school, social and work life, which has helped her to grow as an individual.

“My plans for the future are to get my B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Tech. My biggest aspiration is to get a job where I can live comfortably with the people I love and to be able to provide for them. I’m looking forward to co-oping to see what jobs are out there before I graduate,” Cosby said.

The Blue Donkey baristas at Tech are inspiring and encouraging for many members of the community.