Big Blue Brews Broad Benefits

The dreams of many a teacher came true at North Hardin High School, in Kentucky, when the Big Blue Brews coffee cart opened for business. The cart delivers fresh-brewed coffee to teachers’ classrooms each Friday morning and is operated by students with special needs who attend North Hardin.

Beyond giving the teachers a little extra caffeine boost, the cart is used as a way to teach students with special needs important life skills, including communication and money handling, and developing better relationships between faculty members and students throughout the campus. Before the baristas could start brewing, each student had to fill out an application and complete ServSafe training. Once approved, each student barista has to make sure they clock in and put on their uniform (a hat and apron) before starting their work.

Staff members place their drink orders throughout the week, with the option of customizing their coffee with syrups or cream. The menu has expanded to offer specialty drinks like apple cider, and will include hot chocolate and tea during the winter months. A 12-ounce cup of coffee is $1, and a 16-ounce cup is $1.50; all proceeds from the cart are put back into the special needs program to help pay for other activities. Funds have already payed for six students to join the pep club.