Discourse Coffee Goes All Out for Pride

The Milwaukee-based company has rolled out an elaborate menu and fun-filled events to celebrate Pride.


Images courtesy of Discourse Coffee

For Pride this year, Milwaukee’s Discourse Coffee decided to go big: The company launched The Gay Agenda, a celebration that includes a menu of seven Pride-themed drinks and a series of events in June.

Eighty-five percent of Discourse’s staff identifies as queer; Ryan Castelaz, Discourse’s founder and creative director, says their Pride efforts are mainly about representing their community. “The majority of our industry is powered by queer individuals,” Ryan says. “This is a very important group of people for our industry and our company. We want to offer representation and be a voice that celebrates these people.”

The Dragonfly Effect, the orange beverage in The Gay Agenda menu, gets its color from Thai tea concentrate.

Crafting a Menu

The Gay Agenda menu, which Discourse will offer in June and July, is “a celebration of seven queer cultural icons and memorable moments from the last 50 years, told through the colors of the rainbow,” according to Discourse.

The company launched a drink innovation team at the start of 2024—all of the members of which identify as queer—and The Gay Agenda menu is their second menu creation. In designing it, Discourse Coffee identified the color theme, then asked its team members to tap into their hearts and their creativity. “Discourse has always been about storytelling and narrative exploration through drink making, and it’s been very powerful to see this team be able to tell stories that really matter to them,” Ryan says. 

Destiny DeVooght, who leads Discourse’s drink innovation teams, says, “It was a lot of fun to see people get really funky and reach outside of their comfort zones to make the color thing work without dyes, while still producing a drink that is complex and delicious.”

The New Gays on the Block party will take place Saturday, June 30, and will feature live music, vendors, and more. Poster by Jen Ellis.

A Sampling of Drinks

The elaborate, colorful menu has drinks of all temperatures and types. One creation, titled I Know a B**** When I See One, takes its title from a memorable scene in the 1969 movie “The Gay Deceivers” involving yellow flowers.

Developed by Discourse’s Alex Prevost and representing yellow on the menu, the drink features a Cinnamon Toast Crunch-processed coffee from Sunday Coffee Project, a spiced calendula ice cream from Milwaukee ice cream maker Sweet Tooth Grin, calendula sugar, and more—resulting in a decadent, affogato-like treat. “You have this experience that is very full, very earthy, and very yellow, and that’s in many ways telling the story of this outburst in an iconic queer movie,” Ryan says.

I Know a B**** gets its vibrant yellow color in part from different uses of the flower calendula.

Another creation is Fuori! (fuori means “out” in Italian), developed by Noelie Ronczka; Ryan describes the drink as a “liquid cannoli.” Fuori! is made from orange blossom green tea, pistachio orgeat, ricotta whipped cream, angostura chocolate bitters, a mini cannoli, and a maraschino cherry caviar. “It’s such a fun play on form and how we can experience very popular flavor sets but in completely new and novel ways,” Ryan says.

Adds Destiny about designing The Gay Agenda menu, “Queerness is so magical, and I think this menu is an excellent representation of the intersections between identity and creativity. I’m immensely proud of what we are offering our guests at Discourse, now more than ever.”

Partying for Pride

In addition to the drink menu, Discourse Coffee is hosting events at its Radio Milwaukee café—including the Gay & Flashy Latte Art Throwdown, taking place tonight, June 20, in partnership with Bevy MKE. The event will feature 32 competitors over five rounds, with attendees invited to wear their “best disco attire; sparkles, flashy, and most importantly gay!” per the event’s poster.

A disco theme will mark Discourse’s Pride latte art throwdown, taking place tonight at their Radio Milwaukee café.

“Throwdowns are one of our favorite events to host,” says Ryan. “There’s just nothing quite like getting a bunch of coffee nerds together in a room and geeking out about the joy we get to take in this beautiful world that we’ve all chosen to live within.”

Later in the month, on Saturday, June 29, Discourse will host a block party, titled New Gays on the Block, on Barclay Street outside the café. Ryan says they’re expecting about 40 vendors—with a focus on queer businesses—as well as live music from a local DJ, food trucks, and batch cocktails on draft. When the block party ends at 6 p.m., attendees will be invited to an afterparty at The Green Room, a new evenings-only cocktail bar located in the Radio Milwaukee space.

“I really hope that people come to this event and see all the beauty and joy and wonder that the queer population puts into this world,” Ryan says. “We literally would not exist as a company without this population.”

For more on Discourse’s Pride festivities, check out their Instagram.

Cover of June + July 2024 issue of Barista Magazine featuring Mikael Jasin of Indonesia.

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About Chris Ryan 263 Articles
Chris Ryan (he/him) is Barista Magazine's online copy editor and a freelance writer and editor with a background in the specialty coffee industry. He has been content director of Sustainable Harvest and the editor of Fresh Cup Magazine.