College Coffee Fix: 5 affordable fair trade coffee brands

If students are the heart of college, then caffeine is the life blood. And while many will jump at the chance to score a cheap cup of joe, cost isn’t the only factor. College students rank sustainable business practices as an important factor in where they buy their coffee. A 2016 study conducted by S&D Coffee & Tea Inc. found 40 percent of millennials “ think more positively of places that offer coffee with features like local, sustainable, fair-trade certified, single origin, etc.”

While some millennials are willing to pay extra to get fair trade products, that’s not realistic for everyone. Here’s five fair trade coffee brands that won’t break the bank:

Silver Bridge
  • Specifications: Fair trade, organic
  • Roasts: Variety, all made from Arabica beans
  • Prices:  $11.99 for a 12 oz. bag

Lorraine Walker founded Silver Bridge Coffee Company in 2008 after experimenting with making specialty blends in a popcorn popper. Not only is this Ohio-based business a member of the Specialty Coffee Association of American and Fair Trade USA, Walker also is a strong supporter of women in business. Silver Bridge sells Cafe Feminino blends, a foundation that “provides grants for women and their families in coffee-producing countries such as Peru, Columbia and Guatemala.”

If that’s not enough to sell you on Silver Bridge, consider this: It is the only Ohio company to offer 100 percent recyclable disposable coffee pods.

Find Silver Bridge Coffee online or in Ohio supermarkets. For a price break, find the coffee blends at the Athens Farmers Market during the summer and fall.

Equal Exchange
  • Specifications: Fair trade, organic,
  • Roasts: Variety
  • Prices: starting at $9.95 for a 10 oz. bag

Equal Exchange co-op prioritizes small business owners. In promoting fair trade practices, it connects consumers in North America with South American growers. Their coffee is made from organic beans and comes in a variety of blends, from dark to light roasts.

All products are available at the website, and can be purchased in a variety of forms, from 10 oz. bags to environmentally-friendly pods. There’s even a wholesale option for those looking to buy in bulk. Now: Get 10 percent off and free shipping when you sign up for the mailing list.

Grounds for Change
  • Specifications: Fair Trade, organic, shade grown, carbon free
  • Roasts: Variety, including specialty and seasonal
  • Prices: $10.95 for a 12 oz. bag

Grounds for Change is a certified organic and fair trade coffee company in the Pacific Northwest. Its mission: “To support social equity and environmental sustainability through fair trade, organic, shade grown coffee.”

Shade grown coffee beans grow under a tree canopy and are not exposed to chemical fertilizers. Grounds for Change says this helps its coffee — brewed only in small batches — be as fresh as possible. The coffee is available in dark, medium and light roasts, with limited availability for seasonal flavors. You can also join the Coffee of the Month club and receive a different blend every month for up to a year. A three-month subscription starts at $69. 96 and ships free!

Buy Grounds for Change online here. 

Archer Farms
  • Specifications: Fair trade, direct trade
  • Roasts: Variety, as well as seasonal
  • Prices: $8.99 for 18 pods, or $6.69 for a 12 oz. bag

You already purchase many of your college essentials at Target, so why not add fair trade coffee to the list? In August 2016 Target’s Archer Farms brand launched its fair trade coffee line. Amanda Irish, VP of Target Owned Brands, said in an AOL article the company overhauled its coffee production to give customers not only better options, but more sustainable ones.

Both the beans and 95 percent recyclable pods are available at Target stores and online. Don’t miss their specialty brews as well, like hot buttered rum and apple cider donut.

Pura Vida Create Good
  • Specifications: Fair trade, organic, shade grown
  • Roasts: Variety, from bold to mild (also decaf)
  • Prices: $10.95 for a 12 oz. bag

Available both for individual and wholesale purchase, Pura Vida Create Good coffee is locally roasted in small batches to guarantee freshness. The company is also doing its part to educate consumers about the fair trade process. Its Create Good Foundation is a public charity that funds projects for at-risk children in coffee-producing countries.

Pura Vida’s unique coffee blends range from spicy and full-bodied to delicate and sweet. With flavors and names from all around the world, these roasts are sure to please.


College Coffee Fix is a weekly newsletter that seeks to educate and connect college students about fair trade products.

7 cats who are totally over President Trump’s executive orders

You’ve probably heard by now that there’s a new president in town, and he’s not afraid to use the power of the pen. As of Jan. 31, President Donald Trump has signed 17 executive orders, some more controversial than others. While many Americans and international figures have taken to social media to denounce and debate the consequences of the acts, some have opted to just pretend none of this is happening. Fear not; you’re not alone. These seven cuddly cats, cute as they are, have no clue what’s going on either.

  1. The Kitty Congress

    As official as they look in their frilled collars, these senapurrs were powerless when Trump ordered federal agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement” of the Affordable Care Act that imposes a “fiscal burden” on states, individuals and health care providers. Rest assured, the Kitty Congress is working diligently to purrsuade our human Congress to approve replacement legislation that will keep both Medicare and MediCat intact.

  1. Creamsicle

Creamsicle is a very good cat who just finished reading the president’s executive order regarding regulations:

“If there’s a new regulation, they have to knock out two. But it goes far beyond that, we’re cutting regulations massively for small business and for large business,” Trump said.

As a cat, Creamsicle isn’t very fond of rules himself, but he is very confused. It seems to Creamsicle as though this order will make an arbitrary distinction between necessary regulations and frivolous ones.

  1. Smokey Mittens

Smokey Mittens has worked for the National Parks Department for 20 years, so he was one of the first to learn of Trump’s order that both froze the hiring of federal employees and halted all pay raises. Smokey understood because the national debt is substantial. Then he learned the hiring/pay freeze didn’t apply to the U.S. Armed Forces. He didn’t like that one bit.

P.S. Wondering which National Parks employee went rogue on the Twitter account last week? Look no further.

  1. Jasper

This is Jasper. As one of the biggest environmental advocates in the cat community, Jasper was thrilled to hear construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline was halted. When the president reinstated construction of DAPL and the Keystone XL pipelines with a Jan. 24 executive order, this was Jasper’s face.

  1. Orange Kitty precious feline asked to remain anonymous, and wants to make it very clear that just because he is the same color as Trump, he in no way endorses the funding of the U.S.-Mexico border wall. The projected costs, which range from $12-$15 billion, are enough to make him close his eyes in shame (but also open one again because he really can’t look away from this train wreck).

  1. Sofia

Sofia is an American-born Iranian cat. Many of her relatives went back to Iran for the holidays. When Trump passed the “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” executive order suspending immigration from Iran, Iraq and five other Muslim-majority countries for 90 days, Sofia’s family members could not return, as the order bars green card holders from these countries from entering the United States. Sofia is very sad.


  1. Midnight

Like many Americans, Midnight is an active voter and concerned citizen. He reads the news every morning, even if he doesn’t always like what he learns. (He is a very good boy.) Today, Midnight learned the president is restructuring his National Security Council to promote his chief strategist, Steve Bannon. Midnight is aghast, knowing that Bannon is a former chief executive of Breitbart News and a very controversial figure. (And he hasn’t even gotten on Twitter yet to see the #StopPresidentBannon posts.)

Happiness is an egg chair

Heaven is both green and egg-shaped, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.


Everyone talks about Athens’ rolling hills, or Ohio University’s beautiful architecture, but no one ever talks about the egg chairs on the fourth floor of Alden Library. They’re the real hidden gems.

Students burrow deep inside Alden Library’s egg chairs for the comfort of have their own special place. Photo courtesy of Olivia Miltner

Early spring always brings two things — the rain and a quest to find the perfect spot to sit between classes. You arrive at Alden Library, a solid choice because hey, with seven floors you’d think there’d be an abundance of chairs. There is, but that doesn’t stop students from forming a queue that begins on the second floor and winds up the staircase all the way to the fourth floor, leading up to — you guessed it — the egg chairs.

Repeat this just about every day, and you get the idea that these chairs are a big deal. But every once in a while, you’ll find an open one. That, my friends, is a magical day. First comes the split second of disbelief because you know how popular these chairs are. The fact that one’s actually empty must be a mistake. That disbelief will quickly fade to excitement and then determination, and gosh dang it you’re going to sit in that chair.

Me on the day I found true bliss. Photo by Cat Hofacker

You’ve sat down in lots of chairs before, but this is something else. You don’t just sit down in an egg chair. You sink into it until you’re cradled by a cushion of soft green felt, and you feel safe. Heck, you practically disappear, and here’s where I suspect the real draw of these chairs lie: It’s like you’re in your own little world.

Let’s face it, OU has a beautiful campus, and the students are a large part of what gives the school its unique personality. The Bobcat family is great, but here’s the thing about families, even the ones you choose: Sometimes you don’t want to see them. That’s the beauty of the egg chair. When you sit in one, you’re on your personal island, free to work or nap or watch Netflix in your own little cocoon of happiness.

The one true downside of the egg chair is that once you’re in, you never want to get out. I don’t need to go to class, you think because what is class when you’re so comfortable? A missed class here and there is no real cause for concern, but eventually your friends might start to wonder where you are after three days. And your mom will worry because you don’t answer her calls but keep posting Twitter pics with a weird, green backdrop. The real problem is you’ll eventually run out of food.

The ultimate dilemma: You’re hungry, and low blood sugar really shouldn’t be ignored. However, you know the second you get up, that chair is lost to you forever. So you wait, and you wait, but by now it’s been a week and you really must go. So you tearfully gather your things and reluctantly emerge into the real world. As you leave, you turn back for one last look at your beloved chair, but someone’s already in it.

Well, I guess heaven isn’t made for mere mortals to grasp.