by: Julianna He
We’re a little late with the ‘welcome back’ as it’s the middle of the semester. However, welcome back from the break! I hope midterms aren’t crushing you but you’re crushing it.
Since the start of the new year there has been some changes to Caffiends behind the scenes. As you may have noticed if you follow us on social media, we’ve revamped our Instagram! Definitely check us out there and follow us if you aren’t to keep up with. Second, we have a newly designed website curtesy of our talented Web Director Grace Hu! As a result of our new changes, we’ve decided to incorporate a blog on this website as well! So here I am writing to you folks!
I’ll be posting about things happening at Caffiends, more information about what Caffiends do, and other fun stuff. It’s all very new to us so we’re excited to see where this goes.
To start off this new area of Caffiends’ website, we thought it’ll be good to talk about Caffiends’ sustainability mandate as it is something we care about deeply and is incorporated into the foundation of Caffiends’ existence.
If you’ve never been to Caffiends, here’s a little refresher: we are a student-based, volunteer-run café located in Old Vic (the big castle building in the middle of Victoria College) that is within the greater University of Toronto campus. This means we have over 100+ volunteers running the daily operations of the café on a weekly basis. We change our rosters of volunteers each semester so we welcome anyone across all the colleges at UofT to apply and join our Caffiends community! New volunteers especially welcome! (If you are interested, please follow us on Instagram or Facebook to be up to date as to when applications are live).
No Takeaway Cups!
Here at Caffiends we are conscious of climate change and our impact on it, that is why we actively aim to have sustainable practices implemented in our daily operations. One of the most unique features of our café is that we do not use single-use takeaway coffee cups. We encourage customers to bring their own reusable mug, but do not fret, we offer mugs for those who forget to bring their own mugs or don’t have one. Customers are welcome to take these mugs anywhere and return it when finished. And if you are interested in saving the planet while looking stylish, Caffiends has our own collapsible Stojo cups for sale in store! (Every Stojo cup purchase comes with a free specialty drink!)
Fair-trade and Direct-trade?
A crucial part of a café is coffee and tea. But the coffee industry and the tea industry can be not sustainable in farming practices or labour practices. Here at Caffiends, our coffee are organic and fair-trade, and our tea leaves are direct-trade. Fair-trade certification means the method of sourcing a product is done fairly and respectfully in terms of labour conditions (wages, prohibition of child/forced labour, safe working conditions, fostering employment and development) and environmental impact. Direct-trade is when the middleman is cut out, meaning we work directly with the growers. Both types of certification allows us to have great quality tea and coffee while supporting sustainable and environmentally friendly initiatives.
Finally, our baked goods is one of our main highlights of our café for its amazing deliciousness and its environmentally conscious ingredients. All of our baked goods are vegan and some of them are gluten-free (ask our volunteers for more detail if you have a nut or gluten allergy). We chose to have vegan baked goods because of the huge impact animal products and livestock farming has on our environment. Livestock farming is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gasses right alongside transportation. Which is why we felt it is important to minimize and reduce our carbon footprint on that aspect. On that same thread, we offer a variety of non-dairy milks to encourage these practices of reducing animal consumption; we offer almond, soy, and oat milk! (We also do have cream, skim milk, and 2% milk for your choice).
If you’ve read until the end, you’re a real one.