Stickers, bundle boxes, and charitable support are just a few ways coffee businesses are honoring Pride this month.
BY CHRIS RYAN
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Feature photo courtesy of Uncommon Coffee Roasters
If 2020 were a typical year—how’s that for a fantasy?—we would be in the midst of parades and large-scale events every weekend of June to celebrate Pride Month, the annual celebration of LGBTQ+ people and traditions. We’ve written in the past about coffee companies participating in Pride parade floats and hosting other Pride-focused celebrations, but that unfortunately won’t be the case in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic has led cities to shutter planned large-scale gatherings to prevent the spread of the virus. (Though plenty of big spontaneous gatherings in the form of protests have popped up, addressing racial and social injustice.)
So how are coffee companies celebrating Pride in this unique landscape? Perhaps not surprisingly, most Pride-focused efforts in the coffee world in 2020 are centered around promotional items to show their support of the LGBTQ+ community and organizations.
Partners Coffee, the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based roastery and multi-location café, set out to design Pride-themed stickers to benefit New York City’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, which is located a few blocks from Partners’ café in New York’s West Village. “The Center was established in 1983 as a result of the AIDS crisis,” says Allie Caran, Partners’ director of education. “It has grown and evolved over the last four decades, creating and delivering services that help empower people to lead healthy, successful lives. The Center has continued to serve the LGBTQ community through virtual support services, launched almost immediately after the building closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Partners is supporting the Center with their Love Is Limitless stickers—holographic, colorful creations that Allie says were created to represent the brightness of the LGBTQ+ community. Allie adds, “We are thrilled that every sticker sold will be matched by our good friends at Savor Brands, who create our colorful, zero-waste manufactured bags.”
At Uncommon Coffee Roasters in Saugatuck, Mich., a National LBGT Chamber of Commerce-certified business, owner Guy Darienzo says they celebrate Pride year-round. When the area’s Pride community event was canceled this year due to the pandemic, organizers restructured the event into a Care-A-Van car parade, which Uncommon Coffee Roasters took part in. “Our staff drove our three delivery vans in the car parade, proudly displaying our rainbow coffee beans and Roasted with Pride logo,” Guy says. “In addition, staff wore Pride shirts and rainbow Pride face masks.”
Uncommon has taken its Pride support to its products as well: They’ve been roasting their Pride blend for nine years, which is now complemented by the Love Wins blend. In June, Uncommon is offering the Pride Bundle, which includes 12-ounce bags of the Love Wins and Pride blends, along with their exclusive Spread Love and Coffee rainbow heart sticker. For Guy, while it’s nice to do something special for Pride Month in June, Uncommon does everything with Pride in mind. “Pride at Uncommon is more than just a rainbow, it is infused in everything we do,” Guy says. “Whether it’s doing direct trade with coffee farmers in Honduras or supporting local outreach centers here in West Michigan, we do so with pride.”
44 North Coffee in Deer Isle, Maine, also opted to do a Pride box for the month of June, which includes their new Sol y Luna blend, a holographic sticker, camp cup, reusable metal straw, and Pride chocolate bar, and is supporting a Maine charity. “We were looking for a creative way to support our statewide LGBTQ organization, Equality Maine, through our website sales,” said 44 North in a statement. “We took the opportunity of this blend and box to hand-silkscreen the bags in a rainbow of colors.”
The 44 North team shares that the response to the Pride box has been very strong, with many people giving it as a gift to friends at a time when they cannot spend Pride together in person. “Considering all that is currently happening in our world, country, and community, we feel there is no better way to bring some light and love to the celebration of Pride than to give the gift of coffee as a symbol of positive change and celebration for the LGBTQ community,” the 44 North statement reads.