Galaxy Girl Coffee opened on Nov. 11 in the Manhattan Town Center mall — the only coffee shop on the premises. Christine Ball, the owner and roaster, originally started her business out of the Manhattan farmers market. After much consideration, Ball decided to move into the mall, where her business now resides across from Ulta.
The transition from market to brick-and-mortar was difficult, Ball said, because she couldn’t serve her customers while she was opening up shop.
“I’m a coffee roaster first, and I have a customer base that is used to getting coffee from me at the farmers market. They were then cut off for two weeks of not being able to get coffee from me,” Ball said. “My whole priority was getting back open so that my customers could come get coffee beans.”
Ball said she’s dreamed of owning a coffee business for many years because of her passion for the drink. She’s spent hours experimenting to get the perfect roasted coffee beans.
“I was in the Navy in 2005 and my grandfather had actually told me about how he roasted coffee beans in an air popper, like a popcorn popper,” Ball said. “I thought it was a crazy idea, but of course I had to try it because I love coffee.”
While Ball said she does not recommend this method to anyone, she learned a lot from that initial roast.
“But the coffee still tasted better than what I could get at Starbucks or pretty much any bean I could buy at the grocery store, because most coffee beans have been sitting on the shelf for months on end,” Ball said.
Kansas State students and Manhattan residents alike have purchased coffee beans from Galaxy Girl Coffee’s stand at the farmers market, Ball said.
“I have a K-State student who comes and gets coffee beans from me. She found me at a Wednesday market,” Ball said. “Her parents gave her a K-Cup machine for use in her dorm room.”
Ball said this student prefers her freshly-ground coffee, as K-Cups generate massive amounts of plastic waste, are extremely expensive and don’t taste fresh.
“She comes by and she gets a pound of my least expensive bean, which thank goodness she happens to like, and that bag of coffee will last her 4-6 weeks,” Ball said.
Krista Else, junior in human development and family sciences, said she was excited about a coffee shop opening in a new location.
“I know people want to try something new, want a different atmosphere,” Else said. “It’s cool that there is [a coffee shop] opening up in the mall because we haven’t had that before.”
Quality-tasting coffee is not the only thing of importance to Galaxy Girl Coffee — sustainability is, too.
“All of my bags are compostable, and eventually, once I am fully up and running, all of my cups, both plastic and paper cups, will be fully compostable,” Ball said.
Though Ball is still working on finishing the shop, the Galaxy Girl Coffee logo and mascot are polished and done. Both were created by Ball’s child, who is an avid artist.
“They did the logo when they were 15 — right before they turned 16 — and they did the mascot when they were barely 15. You’d never think that a teenager did them,” Ball said. “I’ve had professional graphic designers compliment that logo and I’m so proud of my kid.”
In the future, Ball said she hopes to have an artists’ wall where both local and student art can be displayed and sold.
“Because I’m a mom to an artist and I know a lot of artists, I also know how hard it is and how much gatekeeping there is in the art world,” Ball said.
Galaxy Girl Coffee is an LGBTQ community safe space, Ball said. She hopes people can come to grab a cup of coffee and feel completely comfortable at her shop.
“I love what I do, and I love roasting coffee for people,” Ball said. “I’m hoping I can improve everyone’s coffee experience and eventually help other people do what I do.”