Coffeehouse: A Cozy South Campus Tradition


Photo courtesy of Coffeehouse staff.

On Wednesday nights, there is an atmosphere of relaxing music escaping from Main Hall’s basement. From 9 p.m. to 12 a.m., four student baristas man the bar, providing coffee and tea for all patrons. 

Coffeehouse has been a tradition for at least 100 years, with records of it occurring in the 1930s and even some documentation of 1917 and earlier. It is an event open to the entire public, not only Moravian students. Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many Northhampton Community College students used to attend, and the baristas encourage this crossover of school cultures. 

Although the student baristas do not receive wages, they receive free coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and sometimes snacks if they are available. There are traditionally four baristas who continue the Coffeehouse tradition, and when these baristas graduate, they choose a successor (usually a freshman) to continue their work. 

Clubs have the ability to sponsor Coffeehouse for $20, which provides free drinks and snacks to all visitors that night. Organizations often sponsor to gain attention and improve student engagement at their events. Individual students can also sponsor, as many have done so to advertise for their music recitals and other events. 

Those who sponsor also have the ability to choose a surprise “drink of the night,” which could be anything from a specialized coffee, Gatorade, or every single drink mixed together. You never know what you are going to get, which is only half of the fun. The drink of the night can be named anything, and usually, it is a hilarious reference to some inside joke. 

“[Coffeehouse] is a really fun experience. It’s great to keep the old tradition going, a great way to connect with the past, and a great way to talk with students. It also introduces them to other clubs and organizations they might be interested in,” said barista Sam Lingen ‘25, music performance major in classical baritone voice. 

“I came here as a freshman, and I love working here,” he added. 

The environment of Coffeehouse has been described as an underground speakeasy for late-night tea and coffee drinkers or those just going to hear some music and hang out. The ambient lighting accentuates an already calming atmosphere with great music. There are multiple different card games to play, and usually, you can hear pianists and other musicians playing from outside the door. 

Most of the decorations, mugs, coffee machines, and lights are donated by patrons of Coffeehouse.  

For every poster, artwork, or mug in the basement of Main Hall, there is a lengthy backstory. There are countless traditions, such as the annual Winter Gala, where all visitors get dressed up and have a Christmas-themed party. The baristas find someone to take pictures of everyone, and they celebrate one of the last Coffeehouse events of the semester. 

“The money we make is what we spend. We don’t get money from USG unless it’s for a refurbishment, but besides that, 50 cents goes a long way,” said barista Grace Young ‘23, music composition major. 

Coffeehouse is also known for hosting concerts during the week. The event is welcoming to all community members. If you want coffee, tea, or a late-night snack, you can just come by and say hi. Even once in a while, professors and faculty stop by. 

“It’s been nice to see the changes and USG supporting us right now. Recently, having USG replace our floors for us has been great, and we’re excited to make more new changes and paint more.” Said Rei West ‘24, music education major. 

“We absolutely accept decoration donations all the time. Lights and decorations are always needed,” they added.