LifestyleTommy's Two Cents

Saitsa coffee is about more than saving money

The Station Market has been selling $1 coffee since the beginning of the fall semester. (Photo by Lexa Chambers)

During the fall 2019 semester, Saitsa’s Station Market and Station Express presented students with the most competitive coffee prices on campus. For the fair price of four quarters, or 100 pennies, SAIT students have been buying coffees of any size, all semester long.

 

Saitsa’s dollar coffee promotion is continuing on through the rest of the year, but with a small catch. In order to take advantage of bean-brew on a budget, patrons need to provide their own mug. (For a recommendation on a good travel mug, see Tommy TwoCents’ breakdown here)

 

Sustainability is Everything

“We really value sustainability in our coffee,” said Jocelyn Colaiezzi, the senior manager of business operations at Saitsa.

 

“We value sustainability initiatives because we know that’s important to our customers,” she said.

 

For Station Market, the sustainability aspect of coffee goes beyond the environment. It also has to do with the way coffee farmers are treated, and the way the product is sold on the open market.

 

Specialty Coffee Association (SCA), who launched the Coffee Price Crisis Response Initiative, said on their website that volatile coffee prices on the C market have frequently dropped below the cost of production for farmers.

 

There are three ways of buying coffee beans from producers. The C market, or the coffee commodity market, is a place where people can buy large amounts of beans at a cheap price. It’s based on supply and demand, and the prices are decided daily by traders on the New York Stock Exchange.  Alternatively, you can buy beans through Fairtrade that guarantee farmers a livable wage. However, as a farmer, you need to pay a fee to become part of Fairtrade. Lastly, there is direct trade, where a group of individuals, or businesses, offer a fair wage, without charging the fee that comes with Fairtrade.

 

Coffee Oversupply Issues

Unfortunately for farmers around the world, Brazil has flooded the C market with an oversupply of beans. According to the Financial Times, Brazil had record production year in 2018, where they produced 62 million bags of coffee.

 

In a report published by the SCA in 2017, they said the production cost of coffee per pound is often around $2.50 U.S, while coffee is being sold on the C market for under $1.00 U.S, leaving many farmers no choice but to fold their farms.

 

Colaiezzi said that Station Market buys their coffee through direct trade. This involves a group of buyers who go directly to small farms and buy in small batches.

 

“The people we partner with are passionate about making sure farmers are getting at least $2.75 U.S per pound of green coffee beans,” said Colaiezzi.

 

Because many of the small farms only yield one to two crops a year, Station Market’s coffee rotates quite frequently.

 

In terms of the dollar promotion, Colaiezzi said, “We just wanted people to come in to have an opportunity to know what we’re about. We wanted them to come into the store and just know that we really value the students.”

 

Outside of the promotion, Station Market has lowered their prices, so that they’ve become four cents cheaper, per size, than Tim Hortons.

 

Energize a Student Budget

Mackenzie Drake, a SAIT student in Business Administration and Management, said that because Station Market ends up being cheaper by a couple dollars a week, she chooses it over Tim Hortons or Starbucks.

 

“I think I prefer Tim’s because I’m used to it, but Station Market is just cheaper,” said Drake.

 

Normally, Drake brings a java from home, but sometimes that’s not enough.

 

“I’m a one cup a day person, but on bad days, it’s two,” laughed Drake.

 

Another appeal of the Station Market for Drake is that they offer almond milk, as well as regular cream and milk.

 

“If I’m at Tim’s I’ll get something different, but at the Market I get a coffee with almond milk, just like I have at home.”

 

If you’re buying a coffee from the Station Market, make sure to grab a punch card. After seven, you can redeem a free one, as well as enter into a draw for monthly prizes.

 

Also, keep your eyes peeled for the new QR codes, printed on the cup sleeves. The code links to the Saitsa website, where people can learn more about the coffee price crisis, and about the coffees brought in by the buyers.

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