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Penn State’s Coffee Club Is Bringing The Buzz

coffee club

When you think of the stereotypical college student, you’d probably think of a young person with a school sweatshirt and bags under their eyes with a backpack, books in one hand, and coffee in another.

Coffee is one of the life bloods of your typical college student. When you walk down College Ave. or across Old Main Lawn, the chances of you seeing a student enjoying an Irving’s cold brew or Starbucks latte are very, very high.

In fact, some students are so into coffee that they’ve joined a club that’s centered around that mighty brown bean.

Started in 2015, Penn State’s Coffee Club has a history of working with local coffee brewers and other food-related clubs to bring their love of coffee to college. The club is open to all, and members range from those who are intrigued by the science of coffee and those who simply like the coffee shop atmosphere.

“I joined Coffee Club because I wanted to make new friends, and someone I know said ‘Hey, you want to be friends with me? Come here. This is where I’m at,'” said Kristen Bryne, Coffee Club’s public relations representative. “Once I started going, I realized there was this really large community even outside of coffee. It was really nice to grow and meet people.”

The club has been working since its creation to establish its brand in the local specialty coffee scene.

Club members have worked with local roasters, such as Idou and Rothrock, to discuss coffee with the club, sell their products, and advertise their businesses on the club’s Instagram page.

Coffee may be something that you think of as a quick pick-me-up. For others, it’s something that is intricate and complex.

One thing Byrne learned during her time in the club is that coffee beans are a seed that comes from a fruit. Coffee beans come from cherry-like fruits that grow on trees. Once you take the pit from the coffee cherry and dry it out…Boom. Coffee bean.

While the Coffee Club may seem like a simple appreciation society at first, Byrne believes there’s more to it than just coffee. Coffee is an important crop in countries in the southern hemisphere and in Latin America, and the threat of climate change is greatly affecting the coffee industry. She hopes people can look at something as simple as coffee with a greater microscope and other things in a broader sense.

“People look at [coffee] as this drug source and not as someone’s life,” Byrne said. “There are people currently living in Latin America and South America, and this is their livelihood, this is what they know and this is what they do.

“People don’t really stop to think where their food comes from or where their drinks have been made. It’s really good that Coffee Club exists as this platform to start that trend with something as simple as coffee,” Byrne continued. “Then, you can apply that thought to everything like, ‘Hey, where was this shirt made? Where did this cotton come from?’ I think that’s something that people should be talking about a lot more often.”

If you’re interested in seeing the Coffee Club in action, the group is collaborating with the HUB-Robeson Art Galleries on Monday, November 1, to talk about how climate change and capitalism are affecting the coffee industry. The event will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. that evening.

Want to get in on the action? Sign up for the Coffee Club’s mailing list today to learn more about its meetings and opportunities.


Editor’s note: Onward State staff writer Mackenna Yount is the Coffee Club’s president. She was not, in any way, involved in the production of this post.

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About the Author

Charles Reinert

Charles Reinert is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. He hails from Norristown, Pennsylvania and is an avid Philadelphia sports fan. He loves playing his guitar, the color blue, and Tetris. If you feel the need to give him any positive or negative feedback, you can follow him on Twitter @charles_rein10 or email him at [email protected]

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