There’s new coffee on the Morningside campus, described by its roaster as sweet, clean in the cup – with dark chocolate and spice notes.
But it’s also organic, fair trade certified, and locally roasted by the Brooklyn Roasting Company in Maspeth, Queens -- descriptions pointing to Columbia’s ongoing relationship between coffee and a commitment to environmental sustainability and development of local markets. Brooklyn Roasting Company, incorporated in 2009, believes their coffee “must not only taste great, but do good,” says Jim Munson, the Company’s president and founder.
Fair trade coffee isn’t new to Morningside. Nor is organic and locally roasted coffee. For the past 10 years, dining services and coffee bars have served fair trade brews, as they have organic and locally roasted coffee for the past three years.
The new brew has come to campus because of the buyout of previous vendor Dallis Coffee, and because “my experience on colleges campuses is that there needs to be a change in coffees every two to three years,” says Vicki Dunn, Director, Dining Operations. “The population changes dramatically in that period, so the profile of coffee drinkers changes with it.” Munson says coffee variety is underappreciated. “Too often people think of it as a ‘commodity black beverage.’ Over time we need to encourage them to cup new coffee, to satisfy changing tastes.”
The new campus blend, described by Munson as “single-origin from a select farm in Peru,” is roasted to order exclusively for Columbia, and arrives on campus within 24 to 48 hours after roasting.
“I’ve been actively involved in promoting fair trade certified coffees longer than almost anyone else in New York,” Munson says, first with Dallis and now with Brooklyn Roasting. In 2007 Munson was instrumental in helping Columbia become the only university in New York City at that time to serve 100 percent fair trade and organic coffee.
Fair trade certification by TransFair USA means that coffee farmers receive equitable compensation for their crop. Roasters and distributors such as Brooklyn Roasting buy direct from the famers rather than through a commodity exchange. This gives the famers greater income and aids socioeconomic development in their communities.
According to their website, TransFair USA audits “transactions between U.S. companies offering fair trade certified products and the international suppliers from whom they source, in order to guarantee that the farmers and farm workers behind fair trade certified goods were paid a fair, above-market price.”
Dunn says that besides the new Peruvian blend, flavored and espresso coffees served on campus are also from Brooklyn Roasting Company.