Coffee Outreach
Courses ~ Public Lectures ~ Media

James Hayes-Bohanan , Ph.D.
Coffee Maven and Geographer
Bridgewater State University
UPDATED December 19, 2012

My coffee obsession began when I started to understand the plight of many thousands of farmers who work very hard to produce fine coffees and earn very little for their efforts.
A geograher and
                his cafezinho
Thank the farmers!
I have expanded this site's information about coffee shops, coffee roasters, coffee tours, health effects,
and coffee preparation, and have moved that information to other pages. Please explore!

11:00 am to 3:00 pm


Students in
                Coffee harvest Studtent-led coffee tasting - Bridgewater State
                College"I would teach a whole course on coffee if they let me."

This started as a joke. My father asked how I could give a whole lecture on coffee, and I replied that I would teach a whole course on it if they would let me. With the support of colleagues at Bridgewater State College and the generosity of people in the coffee industry, that course became a reality, and in fact became two courses!

In my study tour (Geography of Coffee) I take students to coffeelands for a direct experience of farming and the preparation for export. So far, that course has been to Nicaragua six times, and I will take students again in January 2013. I am also hoping to organize a study tour to Brazil some day, which will include the coffeelands of Minas Gerais and the historic export zone of Santos. My field course in Cape Verde was not focused on coffee, but the next time I offer it, we will include a brief coffeeland visit -- in the caldera of a volcano!

                    outta Peru!In my second-year seminar (Secret Life of Coffee), students spend an entire semester learning about the industry in depth and educating each other and the campus community about coffee -- from the bean to the cup (including mandatory coffee-shop visits and reviews). I have been honored to work with a wonderful assortment of students in both classes. I have learned a lot from them! See photos from several of the tastings and study tours.

As of 2012, more than 250 BSC students have completed one or both of my coffee classes. (The "trifecta" students have completed both classes and worked as baristas, and one of those completed an additional independent study!) It takes a lot of time to learn coffee in depth, but I enjoy sharing my passion for coffee and coffee people wherever I can. This page describes past and upcoming events, and serves as an invitation for people to contact me about programs. As the list below suggests, I am quite flexible.

CHOCOLATE: Yes, chocolate. During my study tours to Nicaragua, I have learned a little about chocolate. In June 2013, Pam Hayes-Bohanan and I will teach our first full course on the subject, through I.S.I.S. Belize. The course Maya Gold: Geography and History of Chocolate in Belize is open to all, and can be taken for credit.

Public Lectures

Undergraduates at Bridgewater State College get most of my loyalty and attention, but I also enjoy sharing what I have learned about coffee with other audiences -- from high school classes to senior-citizen and civic groups. In giving the presentations listed below, I have often been assisted by students from one of my coffee classes or by my wife and colleague Pamela, who joined me on two of the Nicaragua study tours and has become a bit of a coffee expert herself.

Speaking fees are negotiable, typically between $100 and $300 plus direct expenses. Fees are payable by the host organization directly to Coffee Kids.
I almost always bring coffee for the audience.
                  High School Culinary Class
Culinary students at Nantucket High School already knew how to cook -- very well. Now they know how to select and prepare coffee, too! This photo is from our 2007 visit; we returned in 2012, and we are more than willing to visit other high school culinary classes. Did I mention that Chef Buccino's students prepare a very nice lunch for visiting teachers?

Upcoming events:
If your group would be interested in a presentation on any aspect of coffee -- from the environment to trade to brewing to tasting -- please contact me to discuss a program of any length. I bring excellent coffee! I also enjoy giving presentations on the cultural geography of the music of Latin America, for which I draw on an extensive collection that I have built with the help of friends throughout the region.

Past events:
Ongoing event:

Bridgewater Public Library
Bridgewater Brew

The fiscal health of the marvelous Bridgewater Public Library is starting to improve, but fundraising is still a critical need.

I am very pleased to have found a way to help, if only a little, while also supporting coffee farmers. The Friends of the Bridgewater Public Library sells Bridgewater Brew in several varieties as a fundraiser. If you live in Bridgewater, contact the Friends to find out how to get this excellent coffee while supporting the library.

Media Coverage

It seems that everyone is interested in coffee, so my modest efforts have gotten a fair bit of attention. I am happy to draw attention to the stories behind the cup -- from the millions of farmers who struggle to make a living while supporting a huge and lucrative industry to the thousands of coffee professionals who have learned that they can honor the farmers and the customers at the same time.

Fresh CupThe media attention began with Canadia journalist Matthew Kadey, who joined part of our Nicaragua tour in January 2007, before continuing with his own explorations. He published a lovely photoessay entitled "Nicaragua: Ecotourism allies with fair trade in Central America" in Fresh Cup, which is a trade magazine for the specialty coffee industry. He also wrote  "Visiting an Organic Coffee Plantation in Nicaragua" for GoNOMAD.

                            Coffee  Local media attention to our efforts in coffee education started with WBZ-TV on November 6, 2007, when reporter Bill Shield interviewed me for Coffee Prices Going Up, Too, a brief story about the rising price of Cafea robusta. Ironically, this variety of coffee is not part of the specialty coffee world that I have entered. It is the high-caffeine, low-quality coffee of the conventional mass market -- the sort of stuff I complained about in the Dr. Java article!

Plum TV
The WBZ coverage was followed immediately by coverage of public lectures on Nantucket. The Quest for the Perfect Cup of Coffee was written by Lucretia Voigt and appeared in the Nantucket Independent on November 7, 2007. Ms. Voigt is probably a bit too generous in her description of me, as I am still just a student and enthusiast of coffee. The article is based on a extensive telephone interview prior to a lecture and workshop I was giving on the island. The wonders of modern technology are such that I saw the article online from the ferry boat, just as we were about to arrive for the long weekend on the island. Plum TV reporter followed up with a nice photo essay entitled the Geography of Personal Satisfaction, based on the public lecture at the Atheneum. Coffee Family

Dr. Java
On March 2, 2008, the Brockton Sunday Enterprise ran DR. JAVA, a profile by correspondent Mike Melanson. My favorite line from the article is "That is why cheap coffee puts a bad taste in the professor’s mouth." I need to correct one possible misimpression from the article -- where Melanson writes about my transporting my students to Indonesia, Ethiopia, and other coffeelands, he is writing figuratively. So far, I have only taken students to Nicaragua for coffee, and I have not yet been to the east-African or Asian coffeelands. The BSC Newlog followed up with "Lots Brewing for College's Coffee Maven," which described a visit to my class by Michael Lundquist of the Polus Center. (See "maven" note below.)

The My Wonderful World blog was among the first to pick up the Dr. Java story, as part of its Newsflash series of timely geographic articles. The Fair Trade Resource Network has also featured the story on its Making a Difference page. Explore this site to see what is happening to promote fair trade in your own community! The Coffee Cubicalism site ran a nice synopsis along with a cool geographic graphic!

Coffee Cups

Buy Coffee Online is a guide for coffee customers. I am pleased that several parts of my interview with freelance journalist April Roberston have been included on the site, which focuses on quality for the end customer. I wish the site focused more on the farmers, but I am pleased to be included on an otherwise informative site.

Also in print ...

Profile in Bridgewater Magazine and brief item in Glimpse Abroad.

Coffee Maven?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "maven" is from the Yiddish (where is may be spelled mayvin) and means  "a
n expert, a connoisseur; a knowledgeable enthusiast, an aficionado." My colleague Dr. Pam Russell used the term to describe my association with coffee. The more learn about coffee, the more I realize that I will never really be an expert. But Dr. Russell meant it in the other sense -- a knowledgeable enthusiast, especially an enthusiast who tries to share that enthusiasm with others.

Dr. James Hayes-Bohanan
Professor & Coffee Maven
Department of Geography -- Bridgewater State University
Bridgewater, Massachusetts USA / EEUU / EUA
jhayesboh @