C^4: Coffee Conversations with Claire and Caitlin

Claire Weltz, General Editor

Two ex-baristas just trying to finish college through the power of caffeine. Follow along with Claire and Caitlin as they sip their way through Grand Forks coffee establishments! 

 Claire: Scooter’s Coffee is located at 1111 S. Washington, the perfect location for off-campus students heading north toward campus. It is the newest addition to the Grand Forks coffee scene, so Caitlin and I were ready to check it out. 

Website: https://www.restaurantji.com/nd/grand-forks/scooters-coffee-/

 First impressions are so important. Coffee shops need to be warm and inviting but also polished and sleek. The coffee industry also gets a bad rep for being “snobby.” The menu is often seen as intimidating, especially by first time customers.  

 In my barista days, I had many customers ask for my recommendations which can definitely ease that ordering-anxiety. Honestly, even I ask baristas for their recommendations when I visit a new place. My other go-to is black cold brew or an americano to get a feel for the business’s espresso notes. (And yes, I am aware that makes me sound like a coffee snob.) 

 In my opinion, Scooter’s menu had a good balance between classic staples and trendier drinks. They offer lots of sugary drinks, such as the Carameliscious and Turtle Latte, to keep the sweet tooth at bay.  

Caitlin Collins

 For holiday fare, the Gingerbread Caramelicious caught my eye, especially since a certain emerald-green chain opted out of gingerbread this year. Scooter’s gingerbread flavor fulfilled all of my holiday drink dreams! The sugar cookie latte with oat milk was also good and balanced creaminess and sweetness well.  

 The alternate milk selection was average, with almond, coconut, and oat milks present. Noticeably absent was soy milk.  

 For non-coffee drinks looking for an energy boost, Scooter’s also offers Red Bull Infusions for a refreshing pick-me-up.  

 I was super excited about their breakfast sandwiches. My unpopular opinion: I don’t like breakfast foods because they’re too sweet. Scooter’s Everything Bagel Sandwich was savory and immediately called my name. For under $5, it was delicious and cheap. In fact, most of their food items were between $3-4 which is relatively inexpensive compared to other coffee places.  

 Caitlin and I have lots of art background between the two of us. Graphic design and photography skills translate into interior design, and we loved the atmosphere at Scooter’s. Although red and yellow are often associated with fast food, Scooter’s utilized an orange-undertone to keep that unconscious red signal of speed but retained a warm and cozy feel.  

 The sit-down area is small, but with south-facing windows. With three booths, three tables, two couches facing each other, and plenty of outlets, it’s the perfect atmosphere for students to study, catch up on homework, and visit with friends.  

 Caitlin summed it up best. “You get the perks of a chain coffee franchise, but the warm, cozy atmosphere makes it feel less generic.” 

 With Starbucks in green, Caribou in teal, and Dunkin in orange, Scooter’s settled in with red for their merchandising and design. The best part of their graphics package? Stickers! Every drink has a smiley face sticker on the lid! Do I sound like a five-year-old getting excited about stickers? Yes. Am I okay with that? Also yes. You have to enjoy the little, joyful things in life, and stickers definitely fit the criteria.  

 We also noticed the store’s wall art. When we sat down with Director of Operations Addaleigh Dufault, she told us the stories behind the photos. “The pictures you see of farmers are where we get the beans from. They aren’t stock photos; they’re actual people that we work with.” 

 Scooter’s Coffee is a franchise chain that targets small market towns, such as Grand Forks. The business is centered in Nebraska, and their beans are roasted and packaged in Omaha, although they source directly from around the world. Dufault elaborated on their roasting process that sets the franchise apart. “Say we have five farmers in the Caribbean. We roast each of their beans separately, so we get the flavor that they’re wanting.” Scooter’s roasts each batch with unique time, temperature, and origin farmer specifications.  

 “Give it three tries. Come in, try this coffee three times. And if you can still drink other people’s coffee and not taste that difference, that bitterness in the roast, then to each their own,” Dufault said.  

 Caitlin and I have one visit completed towards that three mark, but we are certain to be back. 

COFFEE RANKINGS: 

 Location:  

CW: 8/10 (Close to campus, easy access on Washington) 

CC: 7/10 (Not on this side of town often, but will now) 

 

Service: 

CW: 9/10 (Super quick, friendly staff) 

CC: 10/10 (Staff went out of their way to be conversational and checked in on customers) 

 

Atmosphere: 

CW: 8/10 (Clean and cozy, but not much seating)
CC: 10/10 (Homey but retro vibe. Plant mom, plants = extra point) 

 

Drinks menu: 

CW: 7/10 (pretty standard, but the gingerbread latte was super good)
CC: 7/10 (same) 

 

Price: 

CW: 8/10 (Relatively inexpensive food and drinks) 

CC: 8/10 (cheaper than other chains but not a bargain)  

 

Espresso notes: 

CW: NA
CC: NA 

 

Playlist: 

CW: 8/10  

(I heard 2012 One Direction, and it wasn’t one of their common hits. That made my day. Up-beat but chill vibes with a mix of songs most people know.)
CC: 10/10 (good mix of mid-2000s and current, not the generic coffee house chill) 

 Barista’s Rec: Caramelicious  

 

Claire Weltz is a Dakota Student Editor. She can be reached at [email protected] Caitlin Collins is the Dakota Student Photographer. She can be reached at [email protected]