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Student-run Hide and Seek Coffee Ready to be Found at University of Maine Orono

Graduate students Kris Mason, Sarah Hollows, and Rachel Nelson are baking fresh treats and steeping Tandem Coffee Roasters beans on campus.

Sarah Hollows (L) and Rachel Nelson of Hide and Seek Coffee.
Sarah Hollows (L) and Rachel Nelson of Hide and Seek Coffee.
Molly Mullen, FB

Caffeinating for a lecture and fighting off yawns during an intense study session just got a little more delicious at University of Maine in Orono. Hide and Seek Coffee, a new cafe run by graduate students Kris Mason, Sarah Hollows, and Rachel Nelson, soft opened last week in the IMRC Center.

The trio, currently the only staff, is making hot drinks to order from beans prepared by Portland's renowned Tandem Coffee Roasters, and baking goodies fresh each day. As the About Us section sums up, the three enterprising friends from Minneapolis "are interested in community spaces, killer coffee, the perfect chocolate chip cookie, and sustainable and transparent business practices."

Hide and seek menu

[Photo: Molly Mullen, FB]

After a successful soft launch, Hide and Seek is open for its regular hours Monday through Friday this week. Mason took a moment to chat via email about the cafe's first week, suggesting a grand opening party is in the works, putting the first word out about the hiring of new staff, and inviting everyone (students and non-students) in the Greater Bangor area to check out their "craft-style coffee."

The first couple of days have been really great. We were somewhat concerned that being cash only this week was going to be an issue for our customers, but it's actually been just fine. We are pioneering the use of Square (or any mobile credit card reader) at the University of Maine, which has involved the collaboration of folks from departments all over campus. We are planning to be able to start accepting all major credit cards next week and we'll be announcing this across our social media when it's ready.

In general, there is a lot of excitement about our opening right now. Those that work and have classes in our building (the IMRC Center is home to art and new media departments) are thrilled that we are finally open. It's been a long journey working with the University of Maine to get everything together and we are just really excited to finally be making and serving up our goods.

Overwhelmed? Yeah, maybe a little but it's tempered by our excitement that this little dream of ours is actually happening. Sarah, Rachel, and I started day-dreaming about opening a coffee shop/bakery years ago when we were young pups in Minneapolis. And now, with the support of the awesome folks at Tandem Coffee and many people within the University of Maine, we are here! It's really cool.

There's a lot of positive energy right now and we are meeting more and more students, staff, and faculty who are trekking across campus to come and check us out. We are looking forward to getting the word out and for folks from all over the Orono-Bangor (and beyond!) area to find out about us and come up. There's plenty of cafe seating, including a bar to sit at and chat with us while we're making your drinks - and we really want non-University members to feel welcome here. We're also the only coffee shop in this area making craft style coffee - small-batch roasted beans from Tandem, pour-overs on the Hario V-60 and Chemex, microfoaming our milk, and generally using high quality, local, fair-trade ingredients, etc.

In terms of what's next, we are definitely looking to have a grand opening party in the next few weeks. We are also hoping to hire more employees in the next month or so, as well, to be able to expand our hours. So, stay tuned!

IMRC Center, 5785 Stewart Commons, University of Maine, Orono, website. Open Monday 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., Tuesday 10 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Wednesday 4 - 6 p.m., Thursday 2:30 - 6 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.