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Becky Sirc, a barista at Donkey Coffee, makes an order on October 12, 2016. 

Celebrate International Coffee Day and support fair trade in Athens

Over-caffeinated college students rejoice – today is International Coffee Day.

The International Coffee Organization celebrated the first International Coffee Day in Milan in 2015. The celebration starts on Friday and culminates on Sunday. In addition to celebrating the magic and beauty that is a cup of coffee, the holiday is also meant to raise awareness of fair trade coffee and the difficulties coffee growers often face.

When coffee is considered fair trade, the farmers that produce it are guaranteed a baseline price for their products. That assured living wage often equates with supporting local economic sustainability in areas where small farming operations are essential for the livelihood of many people.

Here are some of the best things about three of the most popular Uptown coffee shops, how the coffee they serve fits into fair trade standards and the drinks we recommend you get at each one to celebrate International Coffee Day.

Court Street Coffee — 67 S. Court St.

Court Street Coffee is the closest coffeehouse to campus, not accounting for Front Room. Court Street serves Crimson Cup coffee, a Columbus-based business that advertises itself as “beyond fair trade.” According to the company's website, Crimson Cup representatives travel personally to small-plot coffee farms and hand select the top-quality coffee beans they serve, strengthening relationships with farmers and promoting local improvement projects in their hometowns.

Court Street Coffee has been in operation since 2009, and is usually a good quiet place to study if you can manage to find a seat. It also features art from local artists on its walls, giving a colorful pop to its relaxed atmosphere.

We recommend: Court Street Mocha – a blend of espresso, milk and chocolate, served hot or frozen (Regular $4.05)

Donkey Coffee and Espresso — 17 W. Washington St.

Donkey Coffee and Espresso, just off Court Street, is the most spacious and arguably most popular Athens coffee shop. Since it’s opening in 2002, Donkey has served Dean’s Beans coffee, which is certified organic, fair trade and Kosher. The company sources its coffee from Asia, Africa and the Americas, and promotes ecological and social development in those areas by supporting small local farmers committed to shade-grown coffee.

Donkey has plenty of seating, both indoor and outdoor, and a great cozy atmosphere. Its reliable free Wi-Fi is also a plus. It also has regular music, comedy and open stage performances featuring local artists.

We recommend: Chai – cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, sugar and black tea mixed in steamed milk  (Small $4.05, Large $4.55)

Brenen’s Coffee Cafe — 38 S. Court St.

Brenen’s Coffee Cafe, also super close to campus, has been owned and operated by two OU alumni since 2000. They sell Caruso’s Coffee, a family-owned business located in the Cleveland area. According to its website, Caruso’s roasts some fair trade and organic blends, but not all of its coffee meets those requirements. It is certified Kosher.

In addition to its coffee, Brenen’s has lots of yummy pastries, soups and sandwiches. It has a fair amount of seating but can get crowded and is usually a little loud for studying. It’s probably a better place to grab lunch with friends and socialize than to do homework. Brenen’s also posts regularly on its Twitter account and gives its followers chances to win free meals.

We recommend: The Milky Way – espresso and caramel syrup mixed with steamed chocolate milk and topped with whipped cream  (Medium $4.30) 


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