METZ & Crew Brew Healthier Blend

Courtney Garloff, Editor in Chief

The new Cultivation to Cup program is causing students to think before they drink their coffee.

Cultivation to Cup focuses on using only organic and shade grown coffee, and raising awareness about how coffee is grown.  C2C links students and staff with Golden Valley Farms, a coffee roasting company of West Chester, Pa. The program focuses on being “Coffee With a Conscience.”

“This is a collaborative effort between Golden Valley and the university. We want every one of the students to get involved because this goes where they take it,” said Golden Valley Farms owner John Sacharok.

C2C also focuses on student leadership and interaction. Students and faculty from different parts of the university, including marketing, communications and biology, are  helping to market the brand.

“We are excited to help raise awareness for Cultivation to Cup in any way,” said Alison Counterman, president of  the Public Relations Student Society of America.

PRSSA members are brainstorming names for a coffee blend that is specific to Misericordia. Students in professor Doug Martin’s Logo Design classes will help to create the label for the original roast, and marketing professor Paul Nardone’s branding class will help come up with a brand and marketing plan.

Golden Valley Farms is  the university’s coffee supplier, and it will soon distribute a trial run of its Misericordia signature blend. This mix will be available in whole bean, ground, ready to drink and K Cup varieties.

“It feels really great to know that we are getting involved in helping to come up with a solution for a major problem that most students don’t even know about,” said Counterman.

A portion of the profits from the signature blend will contribute to programs such as funding a service-learning trip in which students will visit the Las Lajas farm in Costa Rica to see exactly how the growing process works. Las Lajas is one of the few remaining  farms that produces coffee that is fully shade grown in Costa Rica.

“I think it would be a great experience to travel to see what exactly we are advocating for,” said junior Health Care Management major Jen Mathiesen.

Due to the ease and cost effectiveness of using sun grown farming, shade grown farms have become all but extinct. The process to replant coffee trees back into the rainforest is a long and slow moving process.

“This is a very slow-moving recovery.  It took us 40 years to knock down 99.2% of the coffee trees,” said Sacharock. “This could take 80 to 100 years to fix.”

Sacharock started this program at his alma mater, Widener University, after a trip to South America showed him how the coffee industry had changed. He is stunned that college educated people are unaware of the affects of using the sun grown method just to make a profit.

“I’m staggered to think that smart people like us did this for the sake of advancement,” said Sacharock.

C2C focuses on using only the traditional forms of organic coffee, grown in the shade. Golden Valley Farms sources the beans from the Las Lajas farm in Costa Rica, and can track exactly where each coffee bean comes from.

“It’s amazing to think that they can track the coffee to the bush it came from,” said assistant professor of biology Barbara McCraith.

McCraith had a hand in getting  Cultivation to Cup off the ground. McCraith and director of field work Susan McDonald met Sacharok at a service learning conference during the summer .

McCraith, McDonald and Sacharok all agree that they prefer their coffee the organic way.

“I want to eat food, not chemicals,” said McCraith.

Many major coffee suppliers use sun grown coffee trees that require more pesticides and other supplements that can produce a different taste and health factor in our favorite brews, all to save time.

“If Starbucks used only organic coffee in their stores, they would only be open for two days. That is how limited the supply is,” said Sacharock.

The purpose of C2C is to make students aware that the coffee they are drinking is not  naturally produced, thus harming the environment and giving drinkers a less natural form of coffee.

“The worst part of all of this is that no one knows that coffee isn’t supposed to be grown this way.  Before we met John I didn’t even know this,” said Mathiesen.

Organizers plan to release the university’s blend  on Earth Day, when the student-created name, logo and packaging can be seen for the first time.

The Cultivation to Cup program is also at Widener University, Lycoming College, Slippery Rock University and West Chester University.