The Tea Room
Thinking outside the cup
When students first conceptualized the Tea Room – a coffee and tea shop located on campus – they vowed it would be student-led, environmentally responsible, fiscally sustainable and educational. Even in the planning phase, the Tea Room proved to be an educational opportunity: It was developed in part by 4th year students as an interdisciplinary design project.
Since it opened in September 2006 in Beamish Munro Hall, the Tea Room has more than lived up to its promises. It was the first facility on campus to use on-site composting systems and biodegradable packaging, and it continues to develop its environmental objectives; in 2011, it became the first café/restaurant in North America to produce zero consumer waste.
A fiscally sustainable business, the Tea Room was profitable by the end of its first year and it retains its ambition to be an educational business. From balancing statements to investigating the social implications of fair trade coffee and use of biodegradable products, students are able to learn by doing.
The Tea Room is run by a management team of four undergraduate students from various disciplines and employs 50 baristas. They serve an average of 400 customers a day between September and April.