by Elisabeth T, Concordia Applied Journalism
You may be wondering where the amazing coffee from the coffee bar outside of the counselors’ office is from. Upon close examination of the bespoke packaging, it’s clearly Third Culture Coffee, the social enterprise coffee company run by the students in the social entrepreneurship class.
This entity is unique as students roast, run and resolve problems for their company. Currently they are selling 250g bags of dark and medium coffee, plus supplying the much loved coffee brewer. All beans are specialty grade and come from a single group of farms the students personally visited over their TRiBES trip.
Students are currently working on new products such as cascara tea, a distinctive flavoring agent made from the coffee bean fruit, as well as single-serving coffee pour overs. You may even see some of their coffee at school events, like the college fair!
In class, the students learn about managing a business and ways to solve problems using a business model canvas. The class learns all this while roasting coffee for the days orders and while preparing coffee for the teachers’ coffee bar downstairs. TCC is a student lead social enterprise that wants to provide great tasting coffee but also provide education to students in Yunnan. In previous years they were able to support not
only the education of Yunnan students but also clef palette surgery and raised dry beds for the coffee farmers.
To support the Concordia students TCC and those in need in Yunnan one might consider visiting the TCC online store.
Thinking of getting involved? See this related article by Journalist Melissa T.
What has the lasting impact been on Concordia’s students? Here are their responses in their own words:
"In TCC, we are pushed to problem solve in creative ways."
"I think TCC is special in a way where it gives students a way to get seemingly real world experience by running their own business and solving any problems that arise with that. Not only this but since it is a social enterprise we are also creating a positive impact for those who need it."
"TCC is vital to me because I believe through running this student-led enterprise with all my other classmates, I have learned how to conduct market research, apply lean startup business tools to various real-world settings. At the same time, we were able to use our knowledge to improve the lives of farmers in Yunnan."
"Instead of reading textbooks and listening to lectures, everything is very hands on. As a result I often times make mistakes, but the environment TCC provides is forgiving and constructive. "
"TCC is important to me because it is a class that allows us to do meaningful work. I love being able to go to class knowing that time time we spend selling coffee is helping others."