Sip, Think, Love: Think Coffee’s Humanitarian Mission

Olivia Jane Roos
Think Coffee, a popular cafe around campus, is more than your average latte stop.

NYU students often frequent the various Think Coffee cafes located near campus. Sometimes it’s just to grab a jolt of caffeine before class, while other times it’s to meet with friends over cappuccinos. Whatever the reason for the visit, Think Coffee has become a close friend to many students at NYU. However, not every NYU student is aware that Think’s purpose goes beyond simply serving coffee.

Riley Cardoza, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, said that although she goes to Think Coffee often, she doesn’t know much about its history.

“I like to go there because they have really good coffee. As to the benefits they offer, I haven’t heard of them,” Cardoza said.

When Jason Scherr first opened Think Coffee in 2006, he wanted to do more than make good coffee, he wanted to create a business that benefitted both the environment and the community. Think Coffee achieves this by only stocking fair trade coffee. In addition to this, the company doesn’t hire any middle men to do their labor. Instead, Think Coffee develops real human relationships with the community that produces its coffee, making transactions based on the community’s needs.

These needs go beyond just making sure the workers are paid well. One of Think Coffee’s projects in Ocotal, Nicaragua works to increase the social opportunities available to its workers such as building schools, bringing in fresh produce and offering complementary medical care. In Gegarang, Indonesia, Think Coffee buys farm produce from Gegarang refugees who were forced to flee during the country’s civil war. The company also works to provide more buyers for the farm in order to make them a more sustainable establishment.

On a local scale, Think Coffee donates back 10 percent of its after-tax profits to select nonprofits located throughout New York City. On the East Side, donations are made to the Grand Street Settlement, while locations on the West Side make settlements to Hudson Guild.

Think also works to make an environmental impact by providing compostable lids, cups and packaging at all of its locations, as well as reducing some of the chemicals found in its coffee. In developing personal relationships with its farmers, Think is also able to monitor the water supply and fertilizers used on the farm to make sure the beans are as clean as possible. Students appreciate the company for more than just its coffee upon learning of some of these things that happen beyond this coffeehouse level.

Alex Reis, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences was even more motivated to buy drinks from Think Coffee after learning about their efforts.

“That’s really cool!” said Reis. Definitely makes me want to go there more.”

Mike Thompson, the night manager at Think Coffee on Fourth Ave. spoke of how impressed he was that a small business like Think Coffee is able to make such big efforts to give back to the community.

“It makes me proud to work here, knowing that the funds are going back into our community,” Thompson said.

Around campus, Think Coffee is located on 123 4th Avenue, 248 Mercer Street and 1 Bleecker Street.

Email Olivia Jane Roos at [email protected]

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