It all started when three students joined together with three common interests: exploring the great outdoors, serving their community and a love of all things coffee. The result? The Adventure, Service, Coffee Club.
Last spring, Don Cox, owner of local coffee shop Bald Guy Brew, taught a class all about coffee, including topics such as different tasting methods and the social implications of the coffee trade. This class inspired senior management major Baylen Burleson, sophomore interdisciplinary studies major Sean Allen and junior global studies and sustainable development double major Brenna Martin to spend their summer helping Cox improve his business and get an inside look into the coffee industry.
“There’s so much to learn and understand about coffee, from the industry to the plant itself,” Allen said. “I’ve always enjoyed coffee, but the class opened up many new elements of coffee that I had never even thought about.”
Their original goal was to try to get Bald Guy Brew coffee in the on-campus coffee shops. Soon after, the idea transformed into a club, according to the founders, Burleson, Allen and Martin.
The trio said they saw a need to serve the community while connecting back to the coffee industry. The goal is to show that big change starts in our own communities.
“Not only does the club focus on doing good for our community, being caffeinated, and having fun,” Allen said. “It also hopes to inform members of the corruption within the coffee industry.
“There’s an imbalance in the supply chain of coffee,” Burleson said. “Distributors buy the coffee from the coffee farmers for a very small price, and then go and sell the coffee to consumers at a greatly inflated price.”
The group hopes to inform people about what is actually in their cup, where it came from and the people involved in the process.
“We want for each individual to choose ethically where they want to get their coffee,” Allen said.
However, this is not primarily a coffee club. The founders said the club will be equal parts adventure, service and coffee. They encourage anyone interested in any of these to consider joining.
“My biggest hope is that this club can raise awareness of the importance of specialty coffee and supporting local businesses, as well as caring for our environment,” Martin said. “I’m excited to meet people who are just as passionate about these topics and can’t wait to continue learning.”
The club has planned a Roan Mountain trash pickup, an on-campus farmer’s market and a roasting session, during which members will be able to roast their own coffee beans at the Bald Guy Brew roaster warehouse. The club will also have study sessions in the warehouse, during which members can drink coffee while they study and do homework.
Burleson said there is a lack of responsibility in both the treatment of the environment and within the coffee trade, and this club aims to combat both issues. The members believe that change starts small, but that every small action towards creating change is necessary to make change happen.
For anyone interested in being part of the Adventure, Service, Coffee Club, the group will hold an interest meeting on Oct. 3 in the Great Hall of the Living Learning Center at 5:30 p.m.
Story by: Daisy Tucker, A&E Reporter
Feature photo courtesy of ASC
Feature Photo Caption: Coffee beans roasting at the Bald Guy Brew warehouse.