Coffee lovers at Ohio State unite to form new student group
Published: Monday, February 18, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 18, 2013 23:02
Many students turn to coffee as a tool to get out of bed in the morning, but one group at Ohio State has taken its appreciation for the morning pick-me-up to another level.
The Student Coffee Association aims to “grow the community around coffee,” said Matt Forquer, president of the Student Coffee Association.
“(Coffee) is a bonding experience,” said Forquer, a third-year in mechanical engineering. With coffee, people are able to share their tastes while gaining a “caffeine buzz.”
The association strives to gather students with similar passions for coffee.
“Peoples’ entire fortunes and lifestyles are built around this one product, so that really drew me to want to learn more and to want to meet more people who had these sort of passions,” said Logan McClish, vice president and treasurer for the group and a third-year in ecological engineering.
McClish said the group wants to educate others about coffee.
“I’ve always drank coffee. It was something that you did every day, and there wasn’t a lot of personality with it,” McClish said. “We should educate ourselves on it. We should be aware of what goes on behind it culturally.”
Forquer’s love of coffee led him to get in contact with his friend McClish to create the group over winter break.
The organization met for the third time Saturday morning. It was the group’s first event open to the student body and was held at South Campus’ Boston Stoker, a Dayton-based coffee company, located at 1660 Neil Ave.
The meeting was largely dedicated to a presentation from Erik Fenstermacher, manager of Boston Stoker, who showed a slide show with photographs from the farms Boston Stoker sources for coffee including farms in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Indonesia.
The slide show was followed by a coffee brewing and tasting method, called coffee cupping, which Fenstermacher said is the “international, standardized method for tasting coffee.”
Fenstermacher provided eight coffees for the cupping: three African coffees, two Indonesian coffees and three Central American coffees.
The cupping process begins with observing the aroma of the dry, ground coffee. The coffee grounds are then steeped, or immersed, in hot water for about four minutes until a crust, or thick layer of grinds, forms at the top of the cup. Pushing down on the crust with a spoon and breaking it releases a strong aroma. Once the crust has been spooned off, the taster slurps the coffee, distributing it evenly across the tongue for optimal tasting.
The cupping process is “unfiltered and unchanged,” Fenstermacher said, which allows coffee growers and coffee roasters to point out defects in the product.
Events like the one at Boston Stoker, Forquer said, are what the association wants to keep doing.
“I like this right now,” Forquer said. “Just having a group of people hanging out, tasting coffee, chatting with baristas, just gathering information. I feel like we need to figure out a way to spread that information elsewhere.”
Even with the desire to spread information about coffee, Forquer said he likes the small groups of involved members. Only about a dozen people attended the meeting Saturday morning.
McClish has another goal for the Student Coffee Association.
“I would like to see more environmentally-friendly coffee drinking on campus,” McClish said. “I would like to see us have an impact and really advocate for travel mug usage (and) organic coffees.”
Forquer is interested in having the organization promote the basics of making a good cup of coffee.
“My focus is more on just making a good cup,” Forquer said. “You happen to make a good cup through having good relationships with the farmers, the growers, the sorters and having a good relationship throughout the whole production process and paying people a fair wage. Having a sustainable environment to grow coffee in makes better coffee.”
McClish intends to have more events for the Student Coffee Association around Columbus, as well as on campus, in the future. Voting members of the club pay $5.50 per semester to be involved.