Student-run coffee shop on campus, Cultivate Coffee, bridges the gap between cultures by purchasing fair and direct trade coffee and teas and being missions-driven.
Cultivate Coffee purchases their coffee from Coffee Labs Roasters, a roasting company in Tarrytown. The family-based company sources their coffee from fair and direct trade, which means it buys directly from the growers and seeks equity in international trade.
Co-founder, business major Benjamin Tse says that purchasing fair and direct trade coffee not only benefits the student body but creates a global impact for farmers.
Tse says: “It’s a sustainable business and missions. We want to provide quality coffee to the student body and at the same time engage in a market where the farmers will benefit.”
While Cultivate Coffee is based in New York and not directly involved with the international farmers, it impacts the farmers’ lives by supporting a transparent market.
“By buying fair trade, we are improving lives from West Africa and South Africa,” says co-founder, business major Wiktor Lasota.
The money Cultivate Coffee earns buys coffee and teas and equipment, and whenever there is a surplus, it is donated to missions.
Co-founder, intercultural studies major Peter Nehlsen says that studying other religions has helped him understand the diverse cultures and backgrounds of people groups, and it has inspired him to create a missions-driven coffee shop.
Nehlsen says: “Having the chance to grow up in Africa, I know there are families at the poverty line and those just above. There is a difference between a few dollars. We knew it was okay to sacrifice a few dollars for profit to help out the farmers.”
Though the owners do not earn money for themselves, their reward is serving the campus community, international farmers and mission organizations.
“It’s a cool way to bless someone,” says co-founder, intercultural studies major Joseph Girard.
Lasota says that their mission fulfills their ultimate goal to develop a community on campus.
Lasota says: “[We want to] create a place where people can share their testimonies and even for international students to share where they’re from. It’s all about growing the community and seeing each other grow.”
In valuing missions and supporting fair and direct trade, Cultivate Coffee creates a community beyond the college campus. The coffee shop connects the small campus community to a larger, global community.
“[By] building a community, serving people, we discover the meaning of serving,” says Lasota.