Peace, Love, and Coffee

A diary of the wonderful and wacky goings on at Coffee to the People, an independent coffeehouse located at 1206 Masonic Avenue in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, California.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

How it all began. . . (Part 2)

From the beginning, I tried to keep my distance from the coffeeshop enterprise, determined to be an owner on paper only. I declined coffee tastings and lessons in the art of cupping. I didn't want to hear about all of the different types of beans or roasters or brewing equipment. I didn't care about the relative caffeine content of coffee and tea. And most of all, I wanted to know nothing about the money--where it came from or where it went-- that was for someone else to worry about. But as time went on, no matter how hard I fought it, I found myself being sucked into the coffeeshop vortex.

One major reason I couldn't extricate myself from the process of building the business was because of the parameters I set on the project at the outset. I told Bob that I didn't want us to profit in any way from the pollution of the environment or the exploitation of workers. If we went ahead with the business, all of the coffee had to be organic and fair trade, and our employees had to receive a livable wage, health insurance, and opportunities for profit sharing. In addition, we had to give back to our community in the form of charitable contributions to progressive organizations. To his credit, Bob quickly agreed with all of these demands even though he knew they would make it more difficult to get the business off the ground. As a result, COFFEE TO THE PEOPLE became a values-led enterprise and I suddenly found myself in the role of guardian of those values.

The second reason I got so involved in the business is that I took nearly a year off from school following the birth of my third son, Leo. With no need to study I had more free time than usual and I started helping out with various projects. Eventually, theose projects metamorphosed into me handling all of the interior decorating of the shop (a laughable result since I know nothing about interior decoration beyond what I've learned from watching "Trading Spaces").


At 8/28/2005 04:52:00 PM, Blogger Siel said...

I'll have to visit the next time I'm in SanFran! Any chance you'll be expanding into the LA area?

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