A beautiful campus in northern New England may not be the first place you’d look for a local, custom roasted cup of coffee, but that’s what Plymouth State University is offering.
Café Monte Alto of Plymouth and Mad River Coffee Roasters of Campton produce high-quality blends of fresh roasted coffee, an increasingly popular beverage for PSU students, staff and faculty. Why local coffee on campus? When PSU officials first started discussing which kinds of coffee to offer in the new Langdon Woods residential housing and Lamson Learning Commons, they agreed the local popularity of Café Monte Alto and Mad River Coffee Roasters made them an easy choice.
Chris Mongeon, general manager of PSU’s food service vendor Sodexho, says students specifically asked for locally roasted coffee in a survey conducted earlier this year.
“The students strongly support sustainable agriculture in poorer countries, where the best coffee beans are grown. It was a clear message to us and the University administration that using local vendors for this product was a great idea, not only because it’s a good product, it’s also because of the economic impact we could make,” Mongeon said.
Mad River is available at the Mountainview Snack Bar in the Hartman Union Building, while Café Monte Alto is featured in the Prospect Dining Hall. Mongeon says each location uses up to 40 pounds of coffee per week. The two locations were chosen because they are open year-round, allowing more profit potential for the local businesses to capitalize on.
Mad River founder David Levin says there are two good reasons for having local coffee available on campus.
“The first aspect is that it helps build relations between local businesses and the University. The second is; the key to great coffee is freshness. Our coffee is no more than three days old when it is delivered. Larger corporate companies can’t compete with that,” said Levin.
Mickey Guinta of Café Monte Alto is very happy to be a part of the ‘local is better’ philosophy at PSU, saying, “It is important for Cafe Monte Alto to have an “on-campus” presence at PSU in order to hopefully create awareness of the impact that coffee has not only when it is in a cup but what it took to get there. The coffee beans Cafe Monte Alto buys are from farms that are 100% shade grown. These farmers have become leaders in finding ways to improve the environmental impact of coffee farming in Peru. The beans are consistently of the highest quality. All this makes the Cafe Monte Alto product more expensive. We are very grateful to PSU for buying our more expensive product. This is the first time a big operation has taken this initiative! The coffee is roasted daily directly in Plymouth, you cannot get fresher coffee!”
PSU residential life and dining services director Frank Cocchariella helped broker the agreement between the coffee vendors and the University.
“It was a win-win situation to provide their product on campus this year, because they did very well in our taste testing event, it enhances community relations, they fit the model of being socially conscious and it is a great product,” Cocchariella said.