The Grinds to Switch from Zingerman’s to Starbucks Coffee, Students React

Albion College’s on campus coffee shop, “The Grinds” in the Stockwell Memorial Library. The sign will have to be updated come the spring semester as it reads “Featuring Zingerman’s Coffee” (Photo by Bella Bakeman).

On Friday the students of Albion College received an email from Student Development, signed by Vice President for Student Development Leroy Wright, which alerted the campus that students’ “go-to coffee destination” – The Grinds – will no longer serve Zingerman’s Coffee and will instead shift to We Proudly Serve Starbucks.

This change will come after many years of The Grinds serving Zingerman’s Coffee. We Proudly Serve Starbucks will be available at The Grinds on Jan.16, the start of the spring semester.

“But that’s not all! The Grinds will be available on Grubhub starting January 16. This means you can conveniently order your favorite drinks in advance, skipping the lines and ensuring your drink is ready for pickup when you arrive,” the email said.

General Manager of Metz Dining Services Jeff Davis said that the change was made in response to student input.  

“A lot of it was driven by the college, they wanted us to change things up because of the complaints we were getting from students,” Davis said. “Complaints that we had were the speed of service, so we’re adding some service personnel there, and several complaints about just not liking the coffee.”

Davis said that his role is to implement the shift, noting that he doesn’t make the “final call” about what is or isn’t brought to campus.

“For me, it’s just about offering good quality coffee for the students that they know and that they trust. I’m just the person that’s pushing the program out,” Davis said.

The decision for Starbucks to replace Zingerman’s coffee was made in less than 30 days. 

“It was a very quick turnaround. When Starbucks said ‘they would love to come here,’ we took advantage of the opportunity,” Davis said, adding that he has been working for Albion College for 60 days.

Some students, such as New Baltimore sophomore Grace Martin, can’t wait for Starbucks to join the Albion community.

“I’m very excited,” Martin said, adding that she thinks it’ll be “cool” to have Starbucks’ seasonal drinks.

Not all students are as excited as Martin, however. 

Columbus senior Orion Hower said they are a “firm believer” in buying local coffee over the products of big corporations.

“Local brewers are more likely to have ethically sourced beans and do their own brewing,” Hower said. “Bigger corporations – like Starbucks – their beans come from underpaid labor and worker abuse, plus their coffee sucks, it tastes like it’s burnt,” Hower said.

Hower is also a member of the Albion Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), an organization that seeks to “call forth attention to the genocide that’s happening to the Palestinian people and has been happening for the past 75 years,” Hower said.

“Our goal is to educate and bring awareness to and do what we can to stop the genocide of settler colonial violence against Palestinian people,” Hower said. 

According to a New York Post article, Starbucks is currently in litigation regarding the Israel-Hamas war. The litigation started with a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. In the post, the Starbucks Workers United page commented “Solidarity with Palestine!” on a post by another page that pictured a part of the Gaza Strip. The post has since been deleted. 

According to the same article, Starbucks said the original post on X has led to, “property damages, threats and calls for a boycott against Starbucks.” 

Now, there is a lawsuit against the Starbucks Workers United by Starbucks.

On Oct. 13 the company released a story on its website stating that Starbucks unequivocally condemns acts of terrorism, hate and violence, and we strongly disagree with the views expressed by Workers United.”

The email the student body received about bringing Starbucks to campus was sent out the day that the temporary cease-fire in Gaza ended.

Hower said the decision to put Starbucks in Albion is a controversial one. 

“It’s like an intersection of a lot of big political issues that are really impacting young people right now all in one decision to put Starbucks at our school,” Hower said.

About Lindsay Ratcliffe 5 Articles
Lindsay Ratcliffe is a sophomore from Flat Rock, MI. She is a Political Science and Creative Writing double major. Lindsay loves journalism because it gives her a chance to write about things she cares about in ways that can really affect people. When she's not writing, you can find her jamming out to music. Contact Lindsay via email at lr10@albion.edu.

2 Comments

  1. You must really be at the end of your tether when the brand of coffee served becomes a political statement.

  2. As an alumni, I am extremely disappointed in Albion’s decision to serve Starbucks coffee over the local Zingerman’s brand. Not only is it a slap in the face to not just this one, but all small local businesses, it is sending a statement that Albion is complicit in genocide and anti-union efforts. If Albion prepared me for anything, it would be how to stand up against injustices in our local communities and in a larger global context. I proudly display Albion gear in my office where I work and study in youth social work, but such a crass decision such as this has me debating whether to display any homage to my alma mater at all.

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