Coffee for a Cause

I love coffee. Very much. It occupies a very important role in my life, and I wake up every morning excited for the first sip. Drug? I think so.

I am also passionate about helping others, so I was delighted when my friend Emily suggested meeting at The Greenhouse Café for a warm beverage and sandwiches on a rainy day. The Greenhouse Café is a lovely little spot that used to be, as the name suggests, a functioning greenhouse! I didn’t even mind the Christmas decorations . . . too much.

It was a bit chilly to sit in the greenhouse so Emily, my friend Paige, and I actually sat in the back, a much more typical café setting with dining tables, matching chairs, and sturdy walls.

What I really enjoyed about Greenhouse Café, even more than the self-serve refillable coffee and the apple-cheddar panini prepared before my eyes, is that Greenhouse Café is part of Coffee Connection, a local nonprofit that purchases and then sells coffee that is fair trade, organic, and sustainably grown. Purchasing these particular coffee beans supports farmers who are committed to those practices. Coffee Connection then sells the coffee in a number of retail and wholesale establishments, providing jobs and job training in their coffee shops for women recovering from addiction.

That’s what we call a social enterprise and I love it.

It wasn’t until the woman who made our sandwiches and provided the necessary huge coffee mugs mentioned the original Coffee Connection on South Avenue that I realized I’d been there! The coffee is roasted on site at this café so it always smells delicious. There’s also a shop selling artisanal Peruvian goods in the back.

Friends, coffee, positive local and global actions. Works for me!

PS I have a soft spot for all social enterprises and spent a week in Battambang, Cambodia last year exploring a wide variety of them. I particularly love those that support vocational training for women. Check out The Nail Social if you’re ever in Singapore.

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