Where there's coffee, there's community
May 18, 2012
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- Inside the new Java Café at Kleber Kaserne, earthy smells of ground espresso brewing and sweet smelling deserts entice customers as sounds of hot steam frothing milk compliments blenders crushing ice and juice into smoothies.
But the Java Cafés at U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern are more than just places for Soldiers, civilians and family members to sip coffee drinks and eat snacks. In the Kaiserslautern Military Community -- the largest overseas U.S. military area -- Java Cafés offers a place for the community to bond, said Kassi Piggee, spouse of the KMC's senior Army leader.
"This is a way to bring us all together, into one place, to be able to socialize in fellowship and get to know each other, so we don't lose those bonds that we normally have at home," Piggee said. "We develop own Army family here in the Kaiserslautern community."
Kleber's Java Café opened May 14, inside the recently renovated KMC Onstage -- Kaiserslautern's award winning community theater program -- which opened its production of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" with a free coffee drink of the same name.
Behind the counter on opening day, barista Dominique Coleman, 26, prepared frozen coffee lattes, finishing them with drizzled caramel over whipped cream. Already, customers expressed gladness over having a coffee shop at Kleber Kaserne, she said.
"They like the new renovations, they like that we have good coffee, they are impressed and amazed," Coleman said. "They are happy to not have to go very far for coffee."
Piggee, whose husband, Maj. Gen. Aundre Piggee commands the 21st Theater Sustainment
Command headquartered at nearby Panzer Kaserne, said family members hoped to have such a place on the east side of Kaiserslautern.
"I think this a good addition for the Kleber and Panzer community," Piggee said.
U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern is committed to improving the lives of service members and their families in the KMC, to include access to great coffee, said Lt. Col. Lars Zetterstrom, the garrison commander.
The garrison's Directorate of Families, Morale Welfare and Recreation already established Java Cafés at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and Rhine Ordnance Barracks. In the near future, wireless Internet will be available, he said.
"Now, we have one in Kaiserslautern East, as part of the multi-purpose theater that we have here," Zetterstrom said. "It's a great place to relax and enjoy a delicious cup a coffee and something to eat while socializing with some of your comrades."
Also, in the autumn, a new Java Café will open at Sembach Kaserne, said Steve Pelletier, the garrison's FMWR director.
Last year, at the Army Family Action Plan conference, community member raised the issue of limited on-post eateries at Army posts in the east end of Kaiserslautern. The new Java Café helps respond to that community need, Pelletier said.
Java Cafés sport a theme and setting not unfamiliar to Americans who frequent popular coffee chains like Starbucks, Pelletier said. Java Café staff members go through specialized customer service training. On the job, baristas then learn to know customers buy name and can start their orders without asking.
"It's your local coffee shop," Pelletier said. "It's a taste of home."