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Cafe Siena: Coffee and Cappuccinos for High Schoolers

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8-Dec-2014 (HCS) - For a while now, it's been a trend for some high school students in Hoover to arrive in the mornings with a coffee beverage in hand. Students stopped en route to school to grab lattes, cappuccinos or maybe just a regular cup of coffee. This trend caught the attention of Hoover City Schools' Child Nutrition Program (CNP) Director Mrs. Melinda Bonner, who recently led the effort to open coffee shops at both Hoover and Spain Park high schools.

"I felt each student would have access to a warm beverage including those who ride the bus and could not stop at a coffee shop on the way to school," Bonner said.

Bonner worked with an area coffee manufacturer to learn about how schools in other states have successfully jumped on the java bandwagon to increase CNP profits. After much study and planning, Hoover High School's "Cafe Siena" successfully opened in early November. Spain Park High School ushered in its new coffee shop in early December (also "Café Siena"). Both are housed within the schools' cafeteria spaces. State standards help regulate caffeine and caloric content. For example, cups of coffee sold in schools ($1.00) or lattes ($2.50) are all limited to sizes no larger than 12oz and no more than 60 calories/serving.

"Caffeine has always been allowed in beverages at the high school level (in the form of tea). As of July 1, 2014, the USDA implemented the Smart Snack Standards for food and beverages sold to students at the school site during the school day," Bonner said. "The state of Alabama already had in place Healthy Snack Standards which were very similar in requirements; however, no one was selling coffee."

Royal Cup serves as the sole provider of products necessary to run the coffee shops at both of the high schools. This past summer, Bonner and the high school employees tasked with running the new coffee shops toured Royal Cup's local facility to learn more about products and processes.

"It was a great experience to see the production and training on how to make the beverages," Bonner said.

As lunchroom managers and cafeteria workers continue to perfect the coffee shops' flow of services, it appears java sales will make other positive impacts. Milk and breakfast sales are up following the openings; a positive trend Bonner expects will continue to expose students not only to new products - but healthy choices.

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Hoover City Schools
2810 Metropolitan Way, Hoover, Ala. 35243

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