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Planet Bean and the University of Guelph brew up a perfect blend

Planet Bean to open outlet on campus and supply a new food truck called Caffeine Canteen beginning next month

Planet Bean, the wily veteran of Guelph's bursting-at-the-seams coffee shop scene, has teamed up with the University of Guelph.

The locally-owned coffee shop, which has three locations in the city, will be opening a location on the U of G campus this fall, will supply coffee for a new food truck on campus and will create a special Gryphon Blend coffee for sale at all its locations.

"I think it's the beginning of a lovely affair," said Planet Bean co-founder Bill Barrett.

"Folks should be slurping Gryphon blend by the second week of September I suspect," he said.

Planet Bean kiosk will be located in the new College of Business and Economics building on College Avenue, the remodelled former MacDonald Hall residence. The U of G will operate the kiosk, Planet Bean will supply it.

Planet Bean has had a presence on campus for years. Their product is sold at the Bullring and their business model has been used in several case studies by professors at the school. Planet Bean reps have spoken to many classes over the years.

"It's really great to have an official business relationship now," Barrett said.

He said creating a Gryphon blend helps with the business's presence on campus as well as strengthening "that U of G link."

"We have a lot of friends and colleagues up there and students use our place as study nooks all over the place," Barrett said.

Dr. Julia Christensen Hughes, the Dean of the College of Business and Economics at the U of G, said a relationship with Planet Bean is a natural fit: they're local, they're a quality product and service and they espouse the values and virtues of the school when it comes to their business practices.

"What intrigues us about Planet Bean is that its a local business, it's in the food space and all of that speaks to the values of the college and the university," Christensen Hughes said.

"But they embrace a lot of the United Nations Sustainable Development goal principals that we are also aligned with as a business school," she said.

Those include the concept of "share trade" and understanding how the global food supply chain operates and making sure the original producers are being fairly compensated," she said.

"On top of that it's a cooperative business model," Christensen Hughes said.

"There's just a lot of elements to them that align with the principals we're trying to teach."

Planet Bean, a co-operative ownership model that specializes in fair trade coffee, got its start in downtown Guelph in 1997. It now has locations downtown, in the south end on Gordon Street and on Grange Road, where it also does its roasting.

Barrett said it was a matter of waiting for the right opportunity to emerge.

"We've been courting the university for many years and this just seemed like the perfect opportunity," Barrett said. "They just said 'this is the kind of business we want to highlight in that space.'"

The new campus truck, Caffeine Canteen, will sell coffee and baked goods around campus, complementing the Gryph N' Grille lunch truck that started operating at the U of G last year.

The U of G said that a percentage of the special U of G coffee Planet Bean will sell will go to support women’s varsity scholarships.