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Wide variety of coffee choices provide customers with much-needed caffeine fix

Between having 7:30 a.m. classes and packed schedules, groggy students are constantly in search of a caffeinated pick-me-up. Though Uptown establishments can offer the boost, underclassmen need not empty their wallets when they can simply turn to campus establishments.

Although West 82 used to serve up Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, the company announced earlier this week that it would discontinue its program with universities. The Baker University Center eatery will now instead be serving Caribou Coffee, said Daniel Pittman, assistant director of auxiliary sales for Culinary Services, in an email Thursday.

However, Caribou Coffee will not be available in dining halls, where Seven Hills Coffee is the main supplier.

“We use Sivetz roasters. ... It’s a unique roasting process where the beans are roasted on a stream of hot air and it’s exhausted up through our stacks,” said Andy Timmerman, co-founder of Seven Hills Coffee. “It’s a more expensive way to roast, but we feel it creates a cleaner, more developed coffee bean.”

Those still on a meal plan can turn to the dining hall for Highlander Grog, a dark roast, or a special blend made specifically for Ohio University called Bobcat Blend.

Bobcat Blend has a secret roasting mixture, but Timmerman said it is made from three different beans from South and Central America with a dark-roast flavor. Timmerman and his partner Joe Morris are both OU alumni and said they have enjoyed serving coffee to their alma mater.

Pittman said that after students and faculty demanded more coffee choices several years ago, the university began adopting brand-name coffee such as Seattle’s Best in Café Bibliotech, Starbucks in The Front Room, and Dunkin’ Donuts — which has now been replaced by Caribou Coffee — in West 82.

“They brought in Dunkin’ Donuts, which is frankly not as good (as our product),” Timmerman said. “(Dunkin’ Donuts) also has no affiliation with the university like myself or my daughter, who also attended OU.”

Tuesday, Tim Hortons Inc. announced a sponsorship agreement with the Mid-American Conference to sell its coffee at all football games.

Upperclassmen living off campus, however, don’t have the dining halls to turn to for a caffeine fix; they often turn to Uptown coffeehouses, the most decorated of which is Donkey Coffee and Espresso, 17 1/2 W. Washington St., where owner Chris Pyle believes in coffee with a conscience. 

“We get our coffee from Dean’s Beans, who is more of an activist than a roaster,” Pyle said. “We sell all Fair Trade. It costs more, but I find people are willing to pay more for the experience and also for the idea of doing justice while buying a cup of coffee.”

Fair Trade refers to good financial compensation for farmers who grow the crops and in this case, coffee beans on which students rely so heavily.

Seven Hills Coffee sells a great amount of Fair Trade coffee as well, but Timmerman said that the university did not request any of their Fair Trade products.

“The quality in the dining halls is so much better than when we were there. … We’re very pleased to be working with the university,” Timmerman said. “The students are really getting a great cup of coffee. I hope they appreciate it.”


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