A new addition to the Virginia Tech campus is pouring its way into the hearts of students this semester.
EspressOasis, the coffee shop located on the first floor of Newman Library, provides students with a mini-vacation and helps them stay awake to study for daunting midterms by providing coffee, smoothies and a selection of baked goods from the local Next Door Bake Shop.
Since its opening at the beginning of this semester, the shop has received mostly positive reviews and has surpassed its goals for its new location according to Kate Howell, a barista at EspressOasis.
“We are doing really well and getting a lot of good feedback,” Howell said.
This location is a new expenditure for the chain, which owns coffee shops that are primarily located in hospitals. However, their corporate executives are hoping to be at Tech for the long run, she said.
To try and differentiate themselves from other coffee shops on campus and Greenberry’s, which previously occupied the space, EspressOasis offers specialty drinks with tropical
“The fact that our slogan is ‘Tastes of Far Away Places’ proves that when you get one of our drinks, it’s like going on vacation,” Howell said. “You may be in the library, it may be cold outside and windy and snowy, but you’re on a little vacation in your head.”
Some of the baristas even make specialty cafe concoctions for customers.
“What they encourage us to do here is to make our own drinks,” Howell said. “One of my co-workers made the ‘Walter White’ drink, so it’s like blueberry and white chocolate. People are pretty into that.”
While students enjoy the tropical tastes of the specialty drinks, an excluded payment method has deterred some students from visiting the shop.
The biggest complaint the shop has received stems from confusion regarding how they are accepting dining plan and Hokie Passport money.
Since EspressOasis is an outside vendor in an university space, they can not accept meal plan money but do accept "Flex" money and money added to a Hokie Passport card.
“We love the students here, they are our main customers,” Howell said. “We would love to help them out and do the dining plan but we can’t because, profit-wise, it just wouldn’t work out.”
They try to warn students beforehand with a sign by the cash register saying they do not accept Hokie Passport meal plans.
According to a survey conducted in relation to this article, out of 82 responses, 79 percent of students said they were less likely to visit the shop because it did not accept meal plan money.
While this has deterred many, EspressOasis still maintains a steady customer flow.
Cindy Min, a senior biology major, said she likes that there are more options than a traditional coffee shop, and its location in the library is extremely convenient for students who are studying.
While Min doesn’t have a problem with the payment limitations, she understands why it’s a problem for some students.
“For me, I don’t have Flex so I carry around a credit card all the time,” Min said. “But for freshmen, I think it will affect people, because they just carry around their Hokie Passport all the time.”
Even with the payment complaints, EspressOasis is still moving onward and upward by introducing new products.
In response to demands by students, even though 52 percent of students said the cafe has a good variety, the shop will be offering more food choices such as paninis and fun food items such as Trix yogurts.
“We just started getting Trix yogurts, which I thought was funny and brought back childhood memories,” Howell said.
EspressOasis is located on the first floor of Newman Library and is open seven days a week. Check the library study cafe website for hours.