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A Coffee Unicorn

Last week, I casually mentioned to my partner that I might want to take a break from drinking coffee. The look of shock on her face was alarming. She said, “are you kidding me, coffee is your life?!!” She’s not entirely wrong, my love of coffee has endured far longer than any romantic relationship, and I was kidding. 

I’ve never gotten bored of coffee. It has lifted me up when I needed it most, but it also happens to be what I’ve built my career around for the past two decades at Peace Coffee. When I tell people how long I’ve worked here, it often surprises them—they think I’m a unicorn because, in this day and age, it’s so rare for people to work at one place for so long. But since my first day on the job, I knew that this wouldn’t be a short-term relationship. Three core elements keep me engaged and excited to work here: the people, the product, and the place.

The array of people connected to Peace Coffee—growers, staff, customers, and community—have taught me so many things. I’ve witnessed firsthand the attention and care the farmers we partner with put towards growing our beloved organic and fair trade coffee. The dedication to their farms and the cooperative efforts to weather natural disasters, blights, civil unrest, and ongoing climate change is an inspiration. Although I haven’t visited any of our coffee partners in some years, I was deeply impacted by the experience of my trips, and I carry the memories and friendships forged from those travels close to my heart. I feel fortunate that with technology and innovation—many of our farmers are on Instagram–we can continue to connect and foster these amazing partnerships across the globe. 

Equally motivating and hardworking is the all-star team at our roastery. I’ve been lucky to work with so many talented individuals. From a small but mighty team of five when I started to nearly 75 at the peak of our coffee shop operations. I’m fairly certain that if you asked anyone who worked here, they’d agree that Peace Coffee cares a lot about its staff—our relationship honestly does feel like family. It’s been an honor to celebrate so many milestones like weddings, baby showers, and birthdays with each other. More recently, I have looked forward to our weekly happy hours on the loading dock as a way to connect when a lot of us have been isolated and working at home during the pandemic.

Of course, without our incredibly supportive and loyal customer base, I wouldn’t even have a job. Much gratitude is owed to the Twin Cities Natural Food Co-ops where I made my first deliveries (by bike of course), to the locally owned cafes and restaurants that partnered with us early on, and to friends and family that ordered our coffee from the beginning because they believed in our mission. Today our customers extend way beyond a reasonable biking distance, and while I no longer know all of their names, I am still equally grateful for every order they make!

I also feel so lucky that I get to market a product that is beyond delicious. It makes my job easier when the coffee speaks for itself—and it doesn’t hurt that the branding and packaging is eye-catching and beautiful. 

If you ask me what my favorite coffee is, I’m hard-pressed to choose just one. Each variety we offer is unique and complex. The same for preferred brewing methods. Whether it’s a mug full of our bright seasonal, Pollinator, artfully brewed in a Chemex, a latte made with our Black Squirrel Espresso, or a cool glass of our Yeti Cold Brew on a hot summer day, there’s always a coffee that complements my mood and the season perfectly.

Lastly, Peace Coffee is in a city I love. The roastery is in the heart of south Minneapolis—less than a mile from where I grew up, blocks from my high school, and near where my parents still run their small business. Our city is only as good as its community, and some of my best moments at Peace Coffee have been providing coffee at events like Open Streets, Empty Bowls, and Red Ribbon Ride, witnessing firsthand how coffee can bring people together and provide a catalyst for conversation and change. 

I am so proud and grateful to be a part of Peace Coffee’s history, and I am eager to see what Peace Coffee will still become. Cheers to many more years!

Photo of Melanee Meegan

Published by Melanee Meegan on August 12, 2021.

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