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Espresso for the homeless - crazy idea?
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GVDub
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Posted Sat Oct 6, 2012, 10:19pm
Subject: Espresso for the homeless - crazy idea?
 

Consider this post a test balloon.

Over the years my wife and I have done a bit of volunteering at soup kitchens, meals on wheels programs, and the like. One thing that's pretty universal is that the coffee is, well, horrid is probably a pretty generous term - brown dish water that's been spritzed with "essence d'MJB". So the thought occurred to me that we, as coffee geeks, are in a position to maybe spread the love a little bit.

So my idea is this (and I'm going to get in touch this week with Union Rescue Mission here in L.A. to see it this is a practicable idea for how they run such things) round up a crew of local fellow geeks and provide coffee for a few meals. Obviously the holiday ones are a popular time to step forward, but I know from the volunteer experience that it's the rest of the year that they tend to be hurting for volunteers and donations. At any rate, it could be anything from just getting local home roasters together to make sure that the coffee that gets brewed up in the giant urns is, at the very least, good quality, freshly roasted beans, to finding folks who are willing to bring espresso machines and nicer brewers to the mission or shelter and serve up espresso and whatever variety of brewed (drip, pourover, vacuum, whatever) coffee could be pulled together.

The way I see it, having a really good shot of espresso or cup of coffee isn't something that is likely to happen often for folks scrambling to hold on to the bottom rung of the socio-economic ladder, and providing them with a taste, while it's not going to get them a job, a home, or a cure, might, at least, offer a littler more than ordinary comfort.
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IMAWriter
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Posted Sat Oct 6, 2012, 10:53pm
Subject: Re: Espresso for the homeless - crazy idea?
 

GVDub Said:

Consider this post a test balloon.

Over the years my wife and I have done a bit of volunteering at soup kitchens, meals on wheels programs, and the like. One thing that's pretty universal is that the coffee is, well, horrid is probably a pretty generous term - brown dish water that's been spritzed with "essence d'MJB". So the thought occurred to me that we, as coffee geeks, are in a position to maybe spread the love a little bit.

So my idea is this (and I'm going to get in touch this week with Union Rescue Mission here in L.A. to see it this is a practicable idea for how they run such things) round up a crew of local fellow geeks and provide coffee for a few meals. Obviously the holiday ones are a popular time to step forward, but I know from the volunteer experience that it's the rest of the year that they tend to be hurting for volunteers and donations. At any rate, it could be anything from just getting local home roasters together to make sure that the coffee that gets brewed up in the giant urns is, at the very least, good quality, freshly roasted beans, to finding folks who are willing to bring espresso machines and nicer brewers to the mission or shelter and serve up espresso and whatever variety of brewed (drip, pourover, vacuum, whatever) coffee could be pulled together.

The way I see it, having a really good shot of espresso or cup of coffee isn't something that is likely to happen often for folks scrambling to hold on to the bottom rung of the socio-economic ladder, and providing them with a taste, while it's not going to get them a job, a home, or a cure, might, at least, offer a littler more than ordinary comfort.

Posted October 6, 2012 link

A good and generous thought, but surely if you approached Dunkin' Donuts, they might, for some local newspaper publicity, supply you with all the beans you'd need weekly.
Fresh roasted, NO. Way better than canned pre ground dreck? YES!!!

 
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CoffeeRoastersClub
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Posted Wed Oct 10, 2012, 9:50am
Subject: Re: Espresso for the homeless - crazy idea?
 

IMAWriter Said:

A good and generous thought, but surely if you approached Dunkin' Donuts, they might, for some local newspaper publicity, supply you with all the beans you'd need weekly.
Fresh roasted, NO. Way better than canned pre ground dreck? YES!!!

Posted October 6, 2012 link

+1.  Great idea.  And I wouldn't doubt that DD would appreciate that they had a little sign next to the coffee urns saying that the coffee was donated by them.  Great publicity, a win-win for everyone involved.

Len

 
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GVDub
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Posted Wed Oct 10, 2012, 10:01am
Subject: Re: Espresso for the homeless - crazy idea?
 

CoffeeRoastersClub Said:

+1.  Great idea.  And I wouldn't doubt that DD would appreciate that they had a little sign next to the coffee urns saying that the coffee was donated by them.  Great publicity, a win-win for everyone involved.

Len

Posted October 10, 2012 link

So what you seem to be saying, in essence, is that a better grade of mediocre is good enough for those folks? Not really what I had in mind with this idea. I'm well aware that I could probably get any number of companies who make pre-ground, mass-market coffee to donate large cans of stale coffee in exchange for feel-good publicity.
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CoffeeRoastersClub
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Posted Wed Oct 10, 2012, 1:40pm
Subject: Re: Espresso for the homeless - crazy idea?
 

GVDub Said:

So what you seem to be saying, in essence, is that a better grade of mediocre is good enough for those folks? Not really what I had in mind with this idea. I'm well aware that I could probably get any number of companies who make pre-ground, mass-market coffee to donate large cans of stale coffee in exchange for feel-good publicity.

Posted October 10, 2012 link

Actually I have changed my mind.  Robs idea is an absolutely horrible F'ing idea, not worth the paper it is printed on.   I am incredibly ashamed of myself for thinking there was anything positive in the idea he brought to the table.

Len

 
"Coffee leads men to trifle away their time, scald their chops, and spend their money, all for a little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking nauseous puddle water." ~The Women's Petition Against Coffee, 1674

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GVDub
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Posted Wed Oct 10, 2012, 2:10pm
Subject: Re: Espresso for the homeless - crazy idea?
 

Sarcasm gets you nowhere. I'm honestly asking why you would assume that DD is a suitable substitute for the type of coffee the folks here like to drink? Would you accept it as a substitute?

What you and Rob intimated is that we might as well serve mediocre coffee (by my lights, DD is mediocre coffee, at its best), as it will be "good enough". Isn't part of the reason this whole site exists to combat the idea that "good enough" is good enough? Why would you serve something to somebody else that you wouldn't consume yourself (or at least would consume only in extremis)? Do you assume that, because somebody is down on their luck they shouldn't have the opportunity to have something out of the ordinary?
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CoffeeRoastersClub
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Posted Wed Oct 10, 2012, 2:21pm
Subject: Re: Espresso for the homeless - crazy idea?
 

GVDub Said:

Sarcasm gets you nowhere. I'm honestly asking why you would assume that DD is a suitable substitute for the type of coffee the folks here like to drink? Would you accept it as a substitute?

What you and Rob intimated is that we might as well serve mediocre coffee (by my lights, DD is mediocre coffee, at its best), as it will be "good enough". Isn't part of the reason this whole site exists to combat the idea that "good enough" is good enough? Why would you serve something to somebody else that you wouldn't consume yourself (or at least would consume only in extremis)? Do you assume that, because somebody is down on their luck they shouldn't have the opportunity to have something out of the ordinary?

Posted October 10, 2012 link

The sarcasm surely made a point against your antagonism towards my endorsement of Rob's excellent suggestion.   My endorsement of Rob's idea, and I am sure Rob's presentation of such, were done in good faith.

Len

 
"Coffee leads men to trifle away their time, scald their chops, and spend their money, all for a little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking nauseous puddle water." ~The Women's Petition Against Coffee, 1674

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GVDub
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Posted Wed Oct 10, 2012, 2:58pm
Subject: Re: Espresso for the homeless - crazy idea?
 

I understand that, and take them as offered in good faith. What I'm attempting to do is find out why you think the idea of serving up Dunkin' Donuts coffee (granted that it's likely better than what is usually served) is equivalent to putting together coffee of the quality that we aspire to on this site. Not a lot of folks here would settle for Dunkin' Donuts coffee if an alternative was offered.

I've found that, if you offer your best to others, you frequently are rewarded with their best in return. That's the germ behind the idea I've proposed - to offer some of the best of what we have to folks who might not ordinarily encounter it. If you consider Dunkin' Donuts the best of what we have to offer, that's one thing, but if you think that DD would simply be good enough to be an improvement, then what is it that you're offering, exactly, and in what spirit?

On the other hand, if you're moved to convince a large commercial roaster to donate coffee to local shelters and missions, go ahead on. I've never set foot in one that didn't need as much outside help as they can get. But that wasn't what I was proposing, nor what I was asking about.
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diggi
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Posted Wed Oct 10, 2012, 5:20pm
Subject: Re: Espresso for the homeless - crazy idea?
 

GVDub Said:

Not a lot of folks here would settle for Dunkin' Donuts coffee if an alternative was offered.

Posted October 10, 2012 link

Maybe I'm a bit insensitive, but I don't really see coffee as one of life's necessities.  There's food, water, shelter and.....artisan coffee.  Just a bit weird that's all.  Good on you for wanting to provide it to others; I just don't share the passion here.  I liked the other suggestions (as well as yours) and find it strange that you seemed so defensive of what appeared like a genuine attempt at brainstorming.
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frank828
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Posted Wed Oct 10, 2012, 6:06pm
Subject: Re: Espresso for the homeless - crazy idea?
 

When you're out there for a while you realize they're not really lacking too much in the necessities.  If they really want a meal or water they can usually get it somewhere.  It's usually the extra treats and your interaction that brighten their moods.

I think it's cool that you wanna share exceptional coffee with these less fortunate brothers and sisters.

I've gone out a bit to skid row to help feed(independent group that goes out m-f rain or shine to feed people that did not get into the mission.  They advertise on craigslist and have a facebook page under Monday Night Mission), and many of the people there LOVE coffee no matter the quality.  This should be quite a treat.  Ive thought myself about possibly getting a large used batch brewer to brew them some myself.

George, let me know if there's anything I can help with.
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