An ode to the Cap Bar

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Barista Grace Leijten makes espresso at the Cap Bar. Photo by Annabelle Nicholas

If you are a frequent visitor to the Cap Bar, you may have noticed that there is a brand new espresso machine in use. 

This new machine is sleeker, the espresso smoother and the line shorter because this one, unlike the old one, has two functioning sides. The days of cold brew only and weak espresso are over; the new espresso machine has none of its predecessor’s problems. 

Now that we have sufficiently rejoiced in the joy of this, let us turn our attention to a more important issue: where is the old, original espresso machine? 

The Cap Bar has been around since 1982, when it was originally started as a temporary installment to honor that year’s Charity Week theme: “The Godfather.” Allegedly, the machine was brought over by two UD students after their semester in Rome, which, now that I have transported it across campus, would not have been an easy feat. 

While the rumor of how it actually got to UD remains to be determined, we can undeniably say that from 1982 to 2021, that espresso machine has been incalculably influential on the students of UD. 

When I discovered that we would be getting a new espresso machine, I sprang into action, asking my boss if at all possible, I could have the old one. To be honest, this impulse was not well thought out, mostly because I assumed the answer would be no. Surprisingly she said yes, and with the help of three friends and one car I was able to bring it to my third floor Student Apartment.

This journey is what prompted my incredulity that two students could have actually brought this thing over from Italy. But back to the point: the espresso machine has been sitting on my floor for over a month now, and after realizing that the student apps don’t come equipped with their own espresso machine plumbing, I have been contemplating the machine in a non-utilitarian light. 

As we all know, UD is full of smart people. And what, other than the great classical works, are these smart people driven by? 

The answer is simple and much easier to read: two shots on ice. A UD classic, this drink has likely serviced thousands of Lit Trad papers, all-nighters spent on Braniff’s third floor, intellectual chats at the Cap Bar, and early mornings finishing homework after TGIT. Not only espresso, but imagine all the first dates that have transpired over hot chocolate. 

Wonder at all the sore throats post midterm week that have been soothed by a hot tea. And where would our beloved faculty be without those cappuccinos? I found myself lost in thought the other Sunday as I sat on my floor, wondering at all this lowly machine has done for the life of UD. 

The future of it is still undetermined, because, though broken, it cannot be cast aside without proper respect paid for its service. So, for now, until we can think of a fitting resting place, let us pay it service in thought. 

I encourage you, next time you enjoy a Cap Bar drink, think fondly of the espresso machine that started the whole tradition, for where can we say the world of UD would be without it?

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