The inviting first floor of Mary Low is crowded with leather sofas and tables varying in style and size, so there is a workspace for everyone. Lingering over a latte and chatting with friends who walk in is an excellent use of time in between classes. Even in the hustle and bustle of to-go orders, especially in your reusable mug, a homemade, handcrafted drink makes a rushed walk to class well worth it.
Because it’s run by students, the baristas understand what their customers want to order, and the menu changes only slightly each season based on the most popular menu items. The espresso is functional and the optional additions are seasonally flavorful. The menu is also inclusive, featuring all forms of milk.
Lucy Harden `24 appreciates how much people love the coffee house, and said that Mary Low has had a groundbreaking and increasingly busy semester. The quality of the coffee itself is important to Harden as an employee, and she explained that the coffee beans come from Tandem Coffee Roasters in Portland, ME, which is a recent update and makes for rich espresso.
My regular order tends to be a simple latte with almond milk, and in the best way possible, the drink is different every time I order it.
“Being creative through coffee has been so much fun. I’ve come up with a few drinks: ‘The Cardamonster’ (a Halloween special that uses cardamom in lattes or hot chocolates) and ‘Lucy in the Chai’ (simply a glittery chai).”
The coffee house is a very creative space. Bakshi said, “I’ve also been able to try everyone else’s creative drinks. My favorites so far have been Gloria’s zombie hot chocolate (matcha in the hot chocolate) and whatever special drink Ari has concocted that day.”
In addition to clever drinks with an array of flavors, the music is always amazing, and the company is fun. People wander in all day to chat and work simultaneously, which draws crowds most days it is open.
“This coffee house has been getting more and more busy over the years which makes shifts more on our feet rather than sitting down, but getting to make drinks is definitely a fun job,” Bakshi said.
Rhea Bakshi `25 articulated how the coffeehouse has an entirely unique vibe.
“One of my favorite parts of being a barista is the fact that I get to spend so much time there,” Bakshi said. “ The coffeehouse is one of the only places on campus that doesn’t feel like a campus — the carpets, couches, smell of coffee beans and overall vibe make Mary Low feel more like a home or living room,” Bakshi said.
Downtown Waterville lacks a coffee shop as inviting as Mary Low, but this must be in part because Main Street is under construction. As soon as the dust settles and the street runs both ways, someone should seize the opportunity to open a cafe where people want one. If students could run one, they probably would. If any potential barista or cafe owner needs inspiration, look no further than Mary Low Coffee House.
~ Molly George `23