All Rise, a collaboration between Red Rooster and RND Coffee, has raised $4,000 for Dream Corps.
BY MARK VAN STREEFKERK
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Cover photo courtesy of Steffon Randolph
The uprising for Black lives and social justice has permeated every part of the United States—even the small town of Floyd, Va. Located on the Blue Ridge Plateau, the hippie (or is it moonshiner?)-leaning town is probably best known for its Friday Nite Jamboree at the Floyd Country Store. The town is home to about 425 people according to a census in 2010, the same year that Haden Polseno-Hensley founded Red Rooster with his wife, Rose McCutchan. Some might not expect award-winning coffees from such a tiny town, but that’s just what Red Rooster has offered for over a decade, with awards including first place in the America’s Best Espresso competition at Coffee Fest New York in 2016 and a Good Food Award in 2019.
When the police killing of George Floyd sparked national outrage in June, it was impossible for the small Virginia town not to take note. “(This is) a very small, southern, rural town. I’ve attended a vigil on the courthouse steps,” said Haden. “There’s a lot of conversation going on. There’s a lot of conversation going on about the Confederate monument that stands in front of the courthouse and whether or not it’s appropriate for that to be in front of the courthouse, a house of law. I would say that people’s minds are certainly working, and there’s a lot of tension and a lot of forces at play in our town right now.”
Roanoke is about an hour’s drive from Floyd, and is home to RND Coffee, founded last year by brothers Steffon and Quincy Randolph. RND started out using Red Rooster coffee, and still use some of their blends for espresso and cold brew, but now they have their own single-origin roasting program. When the two roasters started talking about what they could do to contribute to a greater social justice movement, Steffon and Quincy recommended raising funds for Dream Corps, an organization that works for criminal justice reform, green jobs, and equity in the tech industry. Their combined efforts resulted in the All Rise blend. “With our production labor being donated, proceeds from this coffee will be gifted to Dream Corps so they can continue in their missions of criminal justice reform, creating a greener economy, and helping communities develop technology skills to aid in diversifying the tech industry,” Steffon and Quincy said in an RND Instagram post.
“It just seemed like a really awesome fit. We love working with (RND), we just think they’re amazingly talented, and so we were enthusiastic about the opportunity to combine forces,” Haden says.
All Rise is a 50/50 blend of Ethiopian Natural Processed Kayon Mountain roasted by RND and DR Congo Washed Sopacdi roasted by Red Rooster. Hayden has been purchasing from the Sopacdi collective for several years. “We just thought the balance of flavors would be nice, with the sort of orange marmalade and approachable acidity and sweetness with the Congo, then the more wild berry and winey aspects of the Kayon would be allowed to sort of shine through while being balanced by the Congo. It worked out,” Haden says.
All Rise was only available during the month of July, but at the time of this article, the blend had raised $4,000 for Dream Corps, all while raising awareness about social justice issues in small-town Virginia.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Van Streefkerk is Barista Magazine’s social media content developer and a frequent contributor. He is also a freelance writer, social media manager, and novelist based out of Seattle. If Mark isn’t writing, he’s probably biking to his favorite vegan restaurant. Find out more on his website.