Tuesday, March 23, 2010


By Kerri Yost

Statistics verify that Americans love and need their coffee. The United States is the leading consumer of coffee in the world. That’s why a group of students and professors at Monmouth College have been working together to create a good tasting organic coffee. Coffee beans grown in Bolivia are being shipped here monthly where they are then roasted in the Haldeman-Thiessen Science Building on campus. Roasting it locally allows for a fresher coffee that lasts longer.

Brad Sturgeon, professor of chemistry, is heading this coffee project which also includes several students as well as Professor Brian Baugh, Professor Keith Williams, and Professor Logan Mayfield. This group has conducted many experiments with the goal to create the best tasting coffee they can. They believe, along with others who have tasted it, they have achieved that.

Meaghan Gritzenbach, senior education major at Monmouth College, feels that this group’s coffee is superior to others. “This coffee has a fresher taste than others I have tried and I like that it’s made right here on campus.”

Sturgeon plans to start selling the coffee in Scots Market in the Stockdale building on the Monmouth campus as soon as the group gets approval from a health inspector for their standard operating procedures as well as for their product labeling and packaging. “If we can start selling it three weeks from today, that’d be good.” Sturgeon also plans to expand throughout campus by partnering with Aramark to sell coffee in other campus locations such as the Underground, the cafeteria, as well as the library.

Bringing the coffee to the community is another goal of the coffee project. “The business students involved will start to solicit for community businesses. We hope to go to them with samples of our coffee to get their interest in purchasing it for their business,” explains Sturgeon.

Sturgeon has plans for the future of the project as well. “In 2-3 years, I would like to take students on an alternative spring break to Bolivia to learn about coffee, free trade and the quality of the worker’s lifestyle.” Because it is a science project, he would also like to study the nature of coffee and how people choose what they do by experimenting with different types.

Although profits are expected from this project, Sturgeon explains that they‘re not in this for the money, but for the social concept. “Coffee just brings people together.”

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