From Brisbane, Australia to Russellville, Arkansas and the Treasure Valley to Makassar, Indonesia coffee entrepreneurs are celebrating a renewed coffee culture and many are surprisingly enjoying a growing business with a diverse demographic. For many independent coffee owners, roasters, and baristas it all comes down to one simple word: community.
Irwanti Said shares in his research from the premiere Arabica coffee producing country in the world, “From the point of view of culture, (the) coffee shop mostly serves as a center for social interaction that provides a place to congregate, talk, write, read, entertain one another, or pass the time either individually or in a small group of members.”
Clarissa Shonk a manager for The Crossing in Russellville, AR said, “We have a huge demographic … People come in with their families, they bring little kids, high school, junior high kids ... A lot of people thought we would have a college demographic, but they’re really not as big a part of it as you would expect, it’s really a little of everybody.” (article by Rebecca Soard)
For Roland McLean creating a quality cup of coffee helps to better serve the customer, create a unique community at their particular espresso bar, and help their business thrive. He said in his interview with ABC Rural, "I think it's just a level of care, a level of care behind what you do... being able to have the extent of knowledge to know that everything you're pouring is to a quality that you would serve to, I don't know, say, your mum," he says.
One of the best parts of the interview, tucked away in the audio recording, is the reporter asking, “Roland, how much of yourself goes into every cup that you put out over the counter here?”
Responding with a smile Roland said, “How much of myself? Coffee, milk and about half me … loads of love.”
Speaking about coffee’s global community, Rickard Bjerkander, roaster for Full Circle Exchange, says, “There is a connection between the bean harvester and roaster and I try to remain aware of that.” Picking up a small piece of cement from his roasting perch, he said passionately, “That’s a piece of their cement ground where they spread the coffee beans out in Peru.” Every now and then something from their life a world away gets harvested and placed in one of the 150 pound bags of coffee beans. “We find them every now and then when we looking for defective beans.” Holding it for me to look at more closely Rickard said, “This is a reminder for me of the families who are working in that part of the world and when that aroma from the first roasting comes out, it is about our lives and stories connecting. For me, it deeply reflects justice and peace.”
Independent coffee shops can create the best community with a customer service daring to lead with love.
Dr. Tom Lobaugh