This time last year, students would have been sipping on warm espressos, nibbling cookies and reading at tables next to Green Library. Currently, however, the empty building that was once MoonBean’s Coffee is a locked-up eyesore, almost as dreary as the threatening grey winter sky above it. Almost a year ago, the Editorial Board came out on MoonBean’s behalf, arguing that the University was wrong to push out the longtime campus café in favor of a Coupa kiosk. But whether or not it was right for MoonBean’s to be pushed out and replaced, the Board believes Coupa’s ongoing failure to do something with the site amounts to rubbing salt in a wound.
First, the Coupa kiosk was set to open in the summer, then the fall and now March 3 at the earliest. In the meantime, the entire west campus remains bereft of a nearby source of quality coffee. Furthermore, MoonBean’s was a center of west campus activity, as its location by Green and Meyer Libraries made it the perfect place for students to meet and study. Now MoonBean’s is gone, with only its empty kiosk to serve as a dreary reminder of its service to the Stanford community.
The University and Coupa have offered explanations for the delay in getting the new café up and running. Problems have arisen in the construction and acquirement of permits. Meanwhile, the basic function of providing the student body with coffee seems to have been lost in the shuffle. While the full hot menu that Coupa promises would be a treat, it was clear that MoonBean’s made its clients happy with the basic smattering of baked goods, coffee drinks and blended beverages. The continued absence of any replacement for MoonBean’s has truly robbed students of a precious resource and a traditional space at Stanford. Coupa’s inability to provide any clear sense of progress or renovation of the building has disheartened students, and has only made the original removal of MoonBean’s all the more questionable.
Coupa is also losing in this prolonged opening. Not only has revenue been non-existent from the empty space, but the continual disappointment of the student body will only cement the hard feelings expressed when MoonBean’s was squeezed out last spring. MoonBean’s was a part of a Stanford tradition of unique, non-corporate centers for student dining and community. Coupa may not exactly be Starbucks, but the bureaucratic nightmare that now entangles it does nothing to combat its image as the corporate coffee factory that bumped off the quaint local café. If Coupa ever hopes to attract a fraction of the loyalty that MoonBean’s once had, it is going to have to get its act together, and soon.
The Editorial Board believes a coffee delayed is a coffee denied. The once proud campus hub of conversation and coffee is now an empty blot on the landscape outside of Green. The longer Coupa continues to prolong the absence of coffee and community on the west side of campus, the longer students will remember and long for the original café, MoonBean’s, that was pushed out.