Z Beans and Mercer Dining hosted a grand opening Monday in the Fresh Food Company, also known as the caf, to celebrate National Gourmet Coffee Day and to acknowledge their new partnership, which includes a brewing machine offering Z Beans coffee to students.
Mercer Dining began offering Z Beans coffee in the caf about a week and a half before the grand opening. Dark roast, medium roast and honey-processed coffee are currently offered.
“Obviously, Mercer has had a huge impact on the growth of Z Beans,” Mary Kathryn Stewart, the Chief Marketing Officer of Z Beans, said. “We started out with a Mercer on Mission trip, so we just feel like it's a really good way to give more back to the students and the Mercer community as a whole.”
At the grand opening, Shane Buerster, a Mercer alum and the founder of Z Beans, spoke to the crowd alongside professor Craig McMahon, who accompanied Buerster on the Mercer on Mission trip to Ecuador that inspired him to start Z Beans.
“What we have is really an ode to Mercer on Mission and all that it's been able to do, not only for myself, but for Z Beans as well, and all the students at Mercer,” Buerster said at the event.
The state-of-the-art brewer located in the caf features a screen that shows videos of Z Beans’s history.
“While people brew their coffee, they can watch a little bit about how Z Beans came to be,” Stewart said.
Two representatives from Mercer Dining also spoke at the event, General Manager Ed Robertson and Food Services Director Jarvis Napier.
“We would really like to thank Shane and Z Beans for this partnership and for bringing a great cup of coffee to you guys,” Robertson said at the event. “I think it helps support all of us and the things that we want to do.”
The four individuals participated in a ribbon-cutting to commemorate their partnership.
The first 15 students to arrive at the event were given a Z Beans Gold Card, which offers cardholders 10% off all purchases for life. These cards are distributed during events, giveaways and promotions.
Stewart said that the coffee will be offered in the caf indefinitely.
“We don’t really have a cutoff date for it,” Stewart said. “It’s kind of our way of reaching out to the community and showing our commitment to the partnership with Mercer Dining.”
Z Beans has two local stores — one in Mercer Village and one in downtown Macon.
Samantha Homcy ‘23 is a junior at Mercer majoring in journalism and criminal justice. She has been working at The Cluster since her freshman year and served as Social Media Co-Manager during the spring 2021 semester. She is currently a practicum intern with WMAZ-TV. In her free time she enjoys music, community service, watching TV and finding new ways to get involved on Mercer’s campus.