Forget the Wharton School of Business, Falls Church High School is the place to learn how to implement a successful business plan. In less than five months, students participating in the culinary arts, marketing and visual communication curricula have created Jaguar Joe, Falls Church High School’s own custom blend of coffee.
Under the direction of micro-roaster David Starr of Beanetics Coffee Roasters in Annandale, two teams of culinary students combined a trio of beans roasted in various proportions. The teams then tasted, or in coffee talk, “cupped” their creations sans milk and sugar. Both teams arrived at the same three-bean combination, but their recipes differed on the percentage of the beans used. In a blind taste test, the formulation of 20-percent Brazilian, 30-percent Guatemalan and 50-percent Sumatra emerged as the winner.
Starr describes the Full City roast as “bold, with a lot of body and a bit of a chocolate undertone.”
A group of adults helped shepherd the students through the process. Vicki Burman of the Annandale Chamber of Commerce made the connection between Falls Church High School and Beanetics. From there, Starr, Beanetic's co-owner, offered his expertise and time to teach the teenagers about coffee.
“The students were totally engaged in the process,” Starr stated.
Assistant Principal Michael Brooks, who coordinated the project on the school side, is excited and proud of the accomplishments of the student team.
Visual arts students created an eye-catching logo for Jaguar Joe, a cute cat that has already roped in a few customers. The marketing students have signed Computer Science Corporation and Homeinstead Assisted Living to serve the new product.
Parents will have the opportunity to purchase a cup for 75 cents at the High School's Touching Bases night on Thursday, Feb. 28. The community can purchase 8-ounce bags of whole or ground beans by downloading and submitting an online order form — www.fcps.edu/FallsChurchHS/announce/coffee.pdf. The school is purchasing the beans through Beanetics, where they are mixed and roasted. The finished product, however, is not available for sale at Beanetics.
Profits from the $6 bags will support technology programs at FCHS.
Four senior members of the Student Council Association shared their comments about working on the project. Caroline Bruss stated that creativity, organization and teamwork were crucial to creating the logo. Sabrina Castellanos and Maia Armstrong enjoyed learning about the roasting and blending process and Jackie Birnbaum now has hands on experience with logistics, pricing and profit margins.