Stirling’s Coffee House

Stirling’s is a unique home to the locally invested and community oriented coffee house known and loved by alums and community members alike. Owned by Sewanee: the University of the South, Stirling’s Coffee House is run by Julia Stubblebine, our manager, and Amber Smith and Lee Steenhuis, our assistant managers. Students of the University, trained in each aspect of how we operate, staff our shop and are eager to serve all who cross the threshold of our quirky yellow Victorian home. Currently we have 46 students in our employ, who take seriously their tasks of creating delectable drinks and food items, both fresh and baked. The clientele of Stirling’s ranges from our band of employees, who seem to be fixtures around the grounds, professors and staff of the University, community members, and those from afar.

Speaking of our grounds, in a basic description, when you have turned onto Georgia Avenue from University Avenue, we are located just down from the Library and Bishops Commons, right across the street from the University Cemetery and just before the Georgia Avenue Townhouses. The front lawn of our space holds picnic tables and chairs that are perfect for any day without precipitation. Our porch now extends around the left side of the building, adding to outdoor seating options. Inside our home we have a Gallery with revolving exhibits of artwork from local and distant members of our community, and shows by students. The room is also home to music events, readings, lectures, receptions, and games. For a more cozy environment, we have a Back Room space that can be reserved. Our back room is often used for classes, meetings, receptions, and study groups.

Aside from working with campus organizations to realize their events at our location, we are committed to recycling and composting, contemplating and debating, laughing and joking, and having fun. From our picnic tables to our rocking chairs, and lounging on our comfy sofas to squeezing into available floor space when events are well received, come hang out at the perfect place to sit quietly, laugh heartily, study, or attend events at Stirling’s Coffee House! We look forward to seeing you!

Our History
Stirling’s Coffee House was born on a sunny day in the middle of March of 1996, christened a couple weeks later on April Fool's Day, and named in honor of a beloved English professor, Ted Stirling. Prior to 1996 there had been a large social gap on the campus of the University of the South for students, faculty, and community members to meet together.

As luck would have it, there was a former Boulder resident with extensive coffeehouse experience living in Sewanee in the mid 90s. Jenny Blanchard was hired to work with students and faculty to come up with the concept and mechanics of the new venture. Jenny insisted on using the finest coffee and equipment in the business. Student volunteers along with the University’s physical plant services transformed a Victorian era house that had been used as a rental into what remains one of the finest coffeehouses this side of the West Coast. From Jenny to Katherine Alverez, the magic continued to flow out of our doors and into the community through events, conversations, run-ins with old classmates on random weekends, and a bonding love and necessity of coffee that burns within students, faculty and staff. Our whimsical yellow building is the best home for which we could wish. Various changes of late have carried on their legacy of bringing together different members of our community through the extension of our porch and addition of our new grab and go areas to facilitate growing interest in our services.

Priding ourselves on serving the finest coffee and espresso drinks as well as working locally and ethically, Stirling’s has adopted a new supplier: H.C. Valentine. Being part of the Royal Cup family,  H.C. Valentine views all of their farmers, employees, and customers as part of their community and values treating all fairly through establishing sustainable relationships. At Stirling’s, we take our espresso and coffee very seriously. Although employees are students working an average of nine hours a week, they are trained to extract the perfect espresso shot and steam milk into a velvety smooth texture occasionally producing the ultimate goal: latte art.

We have a delicious, inventive sandwich and salad menu which is available from opening until thirty minutes before we close at night. We are known for famous curried chicken salad and our hearty quiches that are prepared daily. A lot of our student employees also love to bake--from our chocolate peanut butter oat bars to our fresh fruit pies, muffins and cookies!! Our food is, as often as possible, sourced locally using organic ingredients to make as much of what we can from scratch. Healthy foods are what we strive for and we try our best to keep a balance of meat, vegetarian, and vegan options.

Our student staff come from all over the nation, and the world. Roughly a third are in the work-study program, and all tend to be very active on campus. Our staff write for the student paper, volunteer in the Outreach program, perform in theater productions, compete in sports, play music, study abroad, work as tutors, DJ at the radio station, dance, promote conscientious social and environmental programs, and then volunteer some more… We are beyond lucky to have such an incredible staff.

Our manager, Julia Stubblebine, has been a part of the Sewanee community since 1992. She has been working around and with food her whole life. Julia began working at Stirling’s in April of 2016 and seeks to uphold the legacy carved into this mountain by her predecessors. As a lover of food and a keen appreciator of all things sustainable, Julia continues to improve upon the relationship established between our food and those who can provide it for us locally.

Amber Smith, our assistant manager, is a graduate of the University of the South belonging to the class of 2015. Having graduated with a major in International and Global Studies and an Art major, Amber spent most of her undergraduate experience escaping the library or Nabit in favor of the cozy haven of Stirling’s.