North Central College Enactus coffee projects evolve with NCC’s Best

Jun 03, 2016

North Central College’s NCC’s Best—the branch of Enactus that works with Guatemalan coffee and imports—continues to create real change on campus, locally and globally. It’s partnering with a local coffee shop, selling sustainable single-serving coffee cups and investigating the purchase of a coffee roaster.

Mikaela Cleland ’17, Fabian Orozco ’17 and Emily Alaimo ’18 manage NCC’s Best Conscious Bean Coffee business. They recently partnered with a local Elmhurst coffee shop, Brewpoint Coffee Company, to create a mutually beneficial business alliance. Brewpoint will purchase the green bean coffee that NCC’s Best imports from Guatemala and help develop a logo design for the Guatemalan coffee. The North Central team also shared vital information they learned from attending the recent Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) conference in Atlanta.

“Our ultimate goal for partnering with Brewpoint is to create a network in which the Guatemalan coffee is distributed on a large scale. Brewpoint is the first step toward that goal,” a member of the student team explains.

In addition to partnering with Brewpoint, NCC’s Best is revolutionizing sustainable coffee use on campus. It now sells recyclable single-serving cups for Keurig coffee makers and will soon sell compostable cups. These cups will decrease waste and add to North Central’s many sustainability efforts.

Additionally, NCC’s Best is in the process of purchasing an environmentally friendly coffee roaster. At the SCAA conference, students spoke directly with manufacturers to select a roaster with the fewest possible greenhouse gas emissions. In roasting the beans themselves, students will decrease expenses, which will allow them to purchase more product from their Guatemalan partners and ultimately increase profits for both parties.

The coffee team traveled as part of a larger group of students Matthew Krystal, associate professor of anthropology, takes annually to Guatemala during December Term (D-Term) to work alongside Maya weavers, potters and farmers. Krystal explains that while the travel experience is important, most of the work takes place after the trip is completed. Students continue to work with Guatemalan partners remotely and import their products, like coffee.

“With this collaboration, the partners we work with can improve their lives through their own effort,” says Krystal. “And because of these long-term relationships we build, we understand the partners’ goals and can give them advice that resonates with these goals.”

To continue to maintain the high quality of the coffee they import, students regularly hold free coffee tastings on campus. In a recent student tasting, the Guatemalan coffee was preferred to various coffee brands, even large vendors like Dunkin Donuts.

North Central’s Enactus chapter (formerly Students In Free Enterprise, or SIFE) educates its members on the free enterprise system and social justice while helping local and global entrepreneurs become financially stable. Students of any major can participate in Enactus. Cleland is majoring in both accounting: CPA and finance, Orozco is majoring in accounting: CPA and Alaimo is majoring in political science.

Students, faculty and staff can purchase Conscious Bean Coffee and single-serving cups at the Rolland Center Boilerhouse Café, school-sponsored events or independent venues, like local churches. Look for other Enactus products throughout the year at the sociology and anthropology house at 116 S. Brainard St.

By Lauren Baltas ’16