International Inspiration & Home Truths: Coffee

Our series “International Inspiration and Home Truths” shares some of the crowdlending stories we’ve heard from far and wide, brings that inspiration back to Aotearoa, and hears from the enthusiasts who’ve helped us to imagine what crowdlending could look like for a range of Kiwi organisations. This week we’re waking up and smelling the coffee (roasteries and cafes)!

(Disclaimer: I don’t drink coffee because I’m allergic to caffeine. Or so my mam told me when I was eight. It’s only recently that I realised that it could well be a masterminded social experiment that she created to test my obedience. So as I always listen to Mammy I must admit that, as I write this blog, I am not powered by any beautiful blended beans.)

Coffee is more than a commodity. It has become a craft. An art-form to appreciate, to indulge in and to share with others. Coffee brings people together. Heck, workers in sectors like tech would fall over if it wasn’t for their daily dose of black gold.

Can communities of conscious-coffee-consumers play an important role, by supporting their favourite roasteries and local cafes beyond just drinking the good stuff that they’re creating? They can indeed… by funding the growth of the brands and the communities of which they’re a part.

For coffee creators and cafes countrywide, crowdlending can be an opportunity to not just fund new ideas and expansion plans, but to rally the community and give them that sense of ownership over their space and encourage loyalty through that deeper sense of belonging. And the financial reward that comes from their loan stays within their community.

What’s happened around the globe?

Three very different campaigns, from three different companies, raising money for three different things through crowdlending.

First up, The Art of Coffee in Dublin borrowed €7,200 to buy a top-of-the-range sandwich machine for their newly opened third cafe. Along the way they discovered a crowd of new customers who filled the cafe in the months that followed.

Then there was Seattle’s organic cafe and bakery Chaco Canyon, who last year raised $45,000USD to soothe the growing pains of operating three locations with 80 staff and speed up their environmental sustainability drive. Co-owner Chris Maykut showed his gratitude to their crowd, “Chaco has always existed to support the community, and in turn you have supported us with incredible enthusiasm and generosity through the years.”

Grind & Co Espresso Bars are a funky bunch (they’ve got a cafe-cum-recording studio in the heart of London!). In 2015 they offered an 8%, 4-year loan to their crowd and raised £1.3million. With the money they raised they opened a fifth store and brought their bean roasting in-house.

What could happen closer to home?

Imagine, a local cafe bringing in their own mini-roaster so that the coffee they create is made from the freshest of beans. Imagine the collective voice of their crowd of lenders helping to expand their local favourite cafe and pull in more of the community to share the quality experience.

Imagine, a truly sustainable Kiwi roastery growing their impact on the whole of their fair chain by borrowing from their crowd. Imagine the interest earned on their loan not just rewarding their community of lenders, but part of the reward benefiting their bean growers too.

Have you got the sweet aroma of coffee crowdlending in your nostrils? Let’s chat!

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