Coffee: It’s often the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning. As college students, most of us usually get some type of caffeine-fix during the day. It seems as if upon receiving your UNH acceptance letter, coffee is officially a main food group in your diet. We have our favorites: from Aroma Joe’s to Dunks to any of the various coffee carts floating around. It may seem that the only negative side effects of coffee may be heart palpitations and mid-day jitters. But your pick-me-up has more of a global impact than you may think.
All coffee is not grown equally. Unfortunately, coffee farmers in faraway lands often do not get a fair share of the profit, and some of the laborers may be subjected to the harsh conditions associated with human trafficking. This fact is especially true in other sweet sectors, like the cocoa industry. Many large-scale chocolate companies cannot guarantee chocolate that is 100% slave free.
Don’t let this information scare you: there are still ways to get your caffeine fix, live sustainably, and become an informed citizen of the world all at the same time. Many of the coffee selections offered through UNH Dining (dining halls, Dairy Bar, etc.) can boast fair-trade status. Additionally, many food products are locally sourced. If you are looking for “name-brand coffee”, consider skipping Aroma Joe’s and opting for Breaking New Grounds instead. Breaking New Grounds has many fair-trade certified roasts to choose from. (Aroma Joe’s coffee is often not locally sourced or fair trade…and the fact that they still use Styrofoam cups is enough to make Jacques Cousteau roll over in his grave).
One coffee shop in town is serving with a specific cause in mind. Just a stone’s throw from campus, wildcats can enjoy ethically sourced coffee at the Freedom Café. The Freedom Café is a nonprofit café dedicated to ending human trafficking. All products are sold at a suggested donation price. Any donation above $1 goes directly to different organizations dedicated to ending human trafficking.
“The Freedom Café is a community hub educating local citizens about the complexities of human trafficking and its root causes, the actions necessary for preventing it, and ways to participate in and support reputable organizations working to bring about a world where all people are free”
The Freedom Café also hosts special arts events. Every Wednesday, you can enjoy live music at their “Preform for Freedom” open mic nights. There is no better way to polish off hump-day than listening to great live music over a piping hot cup of tea! Additionally, they have various concerts and other special events throughout the semester. Check out their website and Facebook page for details!
The Freedom Café is not only a coffee shop and entertainment hub, but an education center as well. One of its goals is to create an environment where individuals can engage in informative conversations about human trafficking. The café has an “outreach team” which gives informative presentations around campus. Topics range from the true nature of the chocolate industry, to information sessions about the internal workings of the Freedom Café.
I have seen firsthand the uniqueness of the Freedom Café. I began volunteering there as a barista in January 2015. Every customer I have served has been a different conversation about the hope that exists for a slave-free world. I also consider myself an avid “freedom-drinker”. I can say with confidence that the Freedom Café has the BEST coffee in town. The Freedom Café not only spreads awareness, but sustainability as well. All of their products are ethically sourced, and many are locally sourced.
So the next time you are jonesing for some great coffee, think globally and act locally. UNH Dining, the Dairy Bar, and Breaking New Grounds all offer sustainable options. Personally, I would recommend stopping by the Freedom Café. It is located on Mill Road, diagonally across from the DuMP. With such sustainable options so close, there is no reason to go anywhere else. Please drink responsibly Wildcats!