Coffee, primarily defined by Merriam-Webster, is the beverage made by percolation, infusion or decoction from the roasted and ground seeds of a coffee plant. However, when does coffee become more than coffee? Roasters, coffeehouses and farmers across the globe are proving that coffee is more than a bag of roasted beans or a fresh brewed cup. We’ve found a few businesses who plan to change the world…one bean at a time.
CEO, Rachel Bloom, opened Happy Cup Coffee in Portland,Oregon to change the lives of disabled adults through a workforce program. This program is geared to build life skills and provide competitive and well paid jobs to individuals with developmental disabilities in underserved communities. The coffee from Happy Cup is packaged and prepared by adults with developmental disabilities and profits from sales support program funding for disabled adults. “The more we grow, the more jobs we can provide and the greater impact we have in reducing the unemployment rate of disabled adults,” stated Operations Director, Adam Bray.
Coffee by Design in Portland, Maine seeks to impact the environment through a conscious effort of implementing “green” practices. Their unique business model recognizes the importance of sustainability and environmentally-friendly methods for producing coffee. Coffee by Design composts their coffee grounds, offers biodegradable cups and is currently moving into subsequent phases for establishing a solar-powered roastery. Forty-four solar panels were recently installed, offsetting approximately18,000 lbs. of CO2 emissions from conventional electricity sources.
FosterHobbs Coffee Roasters in High Point, North Carolina founded FILL THE GAP ConcertsTM, a non-profit corporation supporting the expansion of global ministry reach through Christian music. CEO, Mike Foster, set corporate objectives to provide a positive influence in the lives of teens and young adults through music and the support of multiple outreach projects, including Caring Trade, Home Tour, A21 Campaign and Living Water International. These GAP projects encompass a range of platforms, including sustainability practices with farmers to water well drilling for clean drinking water in developing and under-developed countries.
New Grounds Roasting Company in York, Pennsylvania in collaboration with New Hope Academy Charter School fosters entrepreneurial development through their New Trepers Program, a two-year program which teaches students entrepreneurial skills, product development, sales skills and the micro loan process. These students will learn the coffee industry, including hands-on roasting techniques and traveling to Panama to study Fair Trade and coffee origin. By investing in the entrepreneurial spirit, New Grounds is teaching young adults the importance of investing in their community.
The social atmosphere of coffee has moved beyond the cup. Purveyors of coffee have realized the tremendous impact they can have by combining philanthropic ideologies with a massive market. Coffee is no longer ‘just coffee’, but the fuel for greatness and change in the world.