Enjoyment with more sustainability – coffee roasting at the Uellendahl-Katernberg municipal comprehensive school in Wuppertal

An aromatic scent wafts through the corridors of our municipal comprehensive school in Uellendahl-Katernberg. If you get closer to the source of this scent, it thickens, becomes visible and ends in a plume of smoke curling out of a small chimney along the outside wall of the refectory kitchen.

An extraordinary coffee culture has developed at our school, which certainly has a lot to do with my devotion to coffee, which crosses the line into coffee madness at regular intervals. I am the headmaster of our school and was lucky enough to help found and shape it. Anyone who has ever seen the inside of the mysterious teacher’s room knows that coffee plays a significant role here. Some may also know the frustrating feeling of having put the coffee on at the beginning of the 15-minute break, wanting to get back to class by the end of the run, and the pot being empty again at the next break. At our school, of course, this had to change. So the association of our school canteen bought a portafilter machine to enjoy coffee when it is needed and in a different quality that is more inline with the effort and work that people have put into this bean than the famously cheap teacher’s room filter machine can.

It has always been important to me that our school offers high-quality coffee that not only tastes better, but also meets our school’s standards of sustainability and fairness. Our cafeteria has then also become a place for exchange of ideas and communication. Just as coffee houses have always been places of free, sometimes revolutionary, thinking, I like the idea that many of the special educational ideas implemented at our school originated in this cafeteria.

It may have been one of the fits I mentioned earlier, where the desire for coffee led me to ask our cafeteria management if the finances would allow for a small roasting machine. And once again it was the right time and the right place and in the end our little roasting machine.

When choosing the coffee, I was guided by the blends that I liked from my roasters. The only important thing was that the beans had both a Fairtrade certificate and an organic seal. In order to raise awareness that coffee is of course a wonderful luxury food, but also a product of post-colonial exploitation, we decided together to donate 20 cents per cup of coffee to the organisation “Rettet den Regenwald e.V.”.

And then I heard about the “Orang Utan Coffee” project! A coffee that unites all our demands. The idea of sustainability, enjoyment and taking responsibility for the workers in the country of production are reflected in every cup we serve since we became cooperation partners of “Orang Utan Coffee”. I roast the coffee in a rather Italian way and so it has become the standard coffee in our cafeteria. Of course, I don’t want to do without the other wonderful coffees, and neither do the students in our upper school. That’s why we have a coffee of the week every week. Of course, it doesn’t stop there: there are now barista courses, brewing courses and roasting courses for both students and teachers. The courses always focus on the speciality of the bean and the special responsibility associated with the enjoyment of coffee. Our Orang Utan Coffee is the essence of this claim.