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The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

Hot tea, coffee, and college: What it’s like working for Murphy’s Mug and the on-campus Starbucks

Stryker at Murphys Mug. Image retrieved from
Stryker at Murphy’s Mug. Image retrieved from

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is home to Murphy’s Mug, a coffee shop located in Murphy Library, and Starbucks located in Centennial Hall. These two coffee shops not only serve coffee, but on-campus jobs to students at UWL. 

The Racquet Press sat down with some staff members to learn more about what happens behind the scenes of the only two coffee shops on UWL’s campus.  

Recent estimates show that 43% of full-time students and 81% of part-time students work while enrolled in college. Madelyn Kostka is a part of that statistic. Kostka is a second-year student who started working at Starbucks in Centennial Hall during the second semester of her first year. 

Kostka said there was a learning curve at the beginning. “There’s a lot that goes into it and if you’ve never worked in a job like that it takes a while to learn.”

Third-year student Mai-Linh Morgan who has been working at Murphy’s Mug for a little over a year had a different comment to share regarding learning curves. “It’s not really a hard job to get a hang of cause once you learn it, it will be pretty straightforward.” She continued, “A lot of the drinks are similar to one another so the learning curve isn’t really that bad.” 

Morgan explained she usually works on Tuesdays and Thursdays this semester. I just do homework until someone comes and usually it’s a little busier around like 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and then it starts getting a little slower and so I just do more homework in between around 5 p.m. or 5:15 p.m. I start cleaning up and getting ready to go when we close at 5:30,” she said. 

“Just being able to do homework during work is nice. I just need to make sure that I don’t assume that I’ll have time at work because sometimes there won’t be,” said Morgan. 

Third-year student Elias Schuetz who also works at Murphys Mug describes a similar workday that starts at 9:15 a.m. and goes on to about noon. “It typically speeds up towards noon so if you get there in the morning it’s gonna be fairly slower. For early shifts, I can see up to five to ten people and once you hit 12 pm you might be pushing fifteen,” Schuetz said. 

When asked about what a workday at Starbucks looks like Kostka said she clocks in and then goes straight into taking people’s orders or making drinks. “We’re flexible; if you’re good at making drinks or you’re good at working the register you can do that.” She continued, “I tend to make drinks. Working the register I think is easier but making drinks is a lot of fun.”  

Kostka said her favorite part about working at Starbucks is learning all the coffee drinks. “I’m kinda replicating them at home so that has been really fun … and also just trying the new flavors, the new drinks we bring in for the different seasons.” She identified her least favorite part was how stressful it could get when there’s a long line 

At Murphy’s Mug, Morgan said she enjoys when she has time to do homework while at work. Kostka said Starbucks is often too busy to do homework while working.

Both Morgan and Schuetz said their least favorite part about working at Murphy’s Mug was how slow it could get. Morgan said, “My least favorite would probably be just the amount of downtime we have sometimes cause sometimes it’s really not that busy from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm it’s usually not that busy.” 

With the seasons changing Murphy’s Mug employees were asked if there has been a change in the temperature of drinks being ordered. Schuetz said, “… you think they would switch to hot once it gets colder but in reality people just seem to stick with the same thing. Hot drinks are starting to pick up a little bit but ice is still certainly the big one, it’s really interesting.”

Kostka also confirmed that cold drinks were still more popular at Starbucks. “There’s definitely an increase in the hot drinks right now and then the seasonal drinks,” she said. Kostka identified the pumpkin spice latte as the most popular item at the moment while at other times the white chocolate mocha and the strawberry refresher are frequent orders. 

Schuetz and Morgan both think that it’s been getting busier at Murphy’s Mug because more people are now aware that there’s a coffee shop in the Murphy Library. “They’re like oh! There was a coffee shop here?” said Schuetz.  

Schuetz’s advice for students who want to work at Murphy’s Mug in the future was about customer service. “Try your best to keep an upbeat, customer-friendly attitude. That and also make sure you’re ready to learn how to make drinks!” he said. 

Kostka had different advice for those interested in working at Starbucks. “My advice would be to not get too overwhelmed at first,” she said. 

“Working as a student means that they [employers] are very flexible,” said Madelyn. “They know you’re a student which is part of the reason I wanted to work there [Starbucks].”  

Murphy’s Mug is open in the Murphy Library from 8:00 a.m.- 5:30 p.m. Monday – Thursday and 8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. on Friday

Starbucks in Centennial Hall is open from 7:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monday – Friday




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About the Contributor
Hephzibah Ohihoin
Hephzibah Ohihoin, General Assignment Reporter
Year at UWL:  First PGPs: She/Her Hometown: Sabongida-Ora, Edo State, Nigeria. Major: English Minor: Legal Studies and Creative Writing Other Campus Involvement: Xi Alpha Ministry, Cru, ALANA, Pre-Law Organization and BSU Future Plans after Graduation: Law School Favorite activity in La Crosse: Playing badminton and pickleball
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  • I

    IkayOct 31, 2023 at 3:33 am

    Great Read

  • G

    GraceOct 30, 2023 at 3:02 pm

    Students taking up part-time jobs is another level.of education.

  • L

    LewisOct 30, 2023 at 2:42 pm

    Hats off to Hepzibah Ohihion for an outstanding report on UWL’s coffee scene! The article was fantastic, capturing the essence of student dedication and campus life. Brilliantly written and thoroughly engaging – a true masterpiece!

  • J

    JayOct 30, 2023 at 11:41 am