AUTHOR: GEMMA SCREEN, Marketing at Extract COffee roasters
The story behind Extract’s Strong People community coffee.
For us, it’s never been enough to just make great coffee. The real power of coffee lies in its ability to connect people, to spark conversation and as a vehicle for positive change.
When we started, 12 years ago, this was supporting our local community at markets and festivals.
It was supporting an emerging coffee community by sharing our knowledge and passion with businesses to help them to make coffee better.
It was fundraising and donating raffle prizes to more than twenty charity projects a year.
It was sharing knowledge, taking risks, growing and learning together with farmers who we are proud to call our friends.
And then, in 2017, we started volunteering with a project called Hotel School.
Hotel School is a joint venture between The Goring Hotel & The Passage, London’s oldest homeless charity, providing hospitality training to ex-rough sleepers and those at risk of homelessness. They asked if we could share our coffee knowledge with their students. Being involved in such a project was transformational.
It altered our perception of community in ways we had never anticipated, empowering our team to share their knowledge and time with those in need. This feeling of empowerment rippled through our business as we looked for more ways we could use coffee as a vehicle for change.
In 2018, we found a youth engagement programme run by Empire Fighting Chance, a boxing gym just 400 steps from our roastery which helps young people from deprived communities.
We worked with Empire Fighting Chance to develop a cafe-skills training course over the summer to help young people embark on a career in hospitality. In the Autumn we were delighted to hear that two of the students are now employed by Boston Tea Party.
This December we celebrated the graduation of our 8th co-hort of Hotel School students. This signifies more than 80 vulnerable adults we’ve been able to work with, since starting this project. In addition to barista training we’ve been able to provide work experience, support students and graduates in to work placements and our team have even trained as mentors to provide additional 121 support to Hotel School graduates.
Our limited edition, Strong People espresso presents the perfect opportunity to join with customers and consumers to support these projects as we donate an additional £1 for every kilo sold to our Grounds Up partners, Hotel School and Empire Fighting Chance.
So far this year, thanks to the support of our customers, we’ve raised just over £1500.
This will fund enhanced classroom learning and digital inclusion, counselling and mentorship for individuals who have faced significant difficulties, but are taking steps to transform their lives.
These are, without a doubt, some of the strongest people we’ve met.
That coffee, and Extract and the cafes and restaurants serving our coffee can play a role in their journey, is incredible.
Strong Man & Strong Woman Espresso is available this winter (until stocks run out) in participating cafes and restaurants and online at extractcoffee.co.uk . This year’s coffee is from Rwandan Cooperative championing gender equality throughout the supply chain. £1 for every kilo sold is donated to Extract’s Grounds Up partners, Hotel School & Empire Fighting Chance.