Dining Services: Low demand spurs cut in Fair Trade coffee cut in Fair Trade coffee

Whether it’s on ice or steaming hot, caffeinated or decaf, mixed with cream and sugar or made into a latte, coffee drinkers know it’s all about options. For the past five semesters, they’ve have had the choice of ordering a fresh cup of Cafe Estima Blend, Starbucks’ newest Fair Trade certified coffee, but this semester, the Fair Trade blend has disappeared from Frog Bytes and Bistro Burnett Cafe, giving coffee drinkers one options less.

Frogs for Fair Trade, a student activist organization, is responsible for bringing Fair Trade products to campus. Susan Harz, co-coordinator for the organization, said it’s important that Cafe Estima Blend be sold on campus again because Fair Trade products raise awareness.

“There are many people who simply aren’t informed about the products they purchase,” said Harz, a sophomore social work major. “We want the students and our community to understand that the products they buy do affect the people who make them.”

Harz said coffee is just one of the Fair Trade products taken off the shelves this semester at Frog Bytes and Bistro Burnett. Also formally sold were Fair Trade certified Divine Chocolate and Honest Tea.

Legia Abato, marketing manager for TCU Dining Services, said Fair Trade products have not been permanently discontinued, but they are not in high demand.

Abato said that although Fair Trade coffee is out of stock and unavailable for purchase, TCU’s Dining Services is awaiting a new order.

“We have very little movement on the product and our employees are trained to prevent waste,” Abato said. “This is something that we are addressing and will maintain the Fair Trade offering at Starbucks in Frog Bytes.”

She said Frog Bytes will eventually stop offering Fair Trade coffee.

“This fall, we have ordered a Keurig machine for The Main,” said Abato. “Our plan is to move the Fair Trade coffee from Frog Bytes to The Main and, in doing that, offer a wider variety of products.”

She said the Keurig machine allows the user to brew one cup at time of coffee, tea or hot chocolate, thus avoiding the waste of unused coffee. The single servings are packaged in a single-use cup called a K-cup.

Abato said use of the Keurig machine will allow The Main to offer several flavors of coffee that can be purchased individually.

Harz said students can become advocates for Fair Trade by telling TCU’s Dining Services they would like to see Fair Trade products back on the shelves, writing the Chancellor, putting comments in the comment boxes in The Main and attending meetings for Frogs for Fair Trade.

In the meantime, Frogs for Fair Trade has teamed up with Senseless Acts of Comedy, the student improvisational comedy troupe, to raise awareness and promote Fair Trade products. Frogs for Fair Trade serves Fair Trade coffee once a month while SAC takes center stage. SAC performs every Thursday at 9 p.m. in Palko Hall room 130.

Michael Flusche, president of SAC, said the two groups have teamed up since the fall 2005 semester.

“SAC wants to be affiliated with amazing organizations that are making a difference on this campus,” said Flusche, a senior Ad/PR major. “Our goal is for our audience to relax, laugh and enjoy our show but know they’re also making a difference when they chose Fair Trade products.