“Fettuccini Makes the Perfect Stir Stick!” Very early on in our beautiful story, our founder Greg made this memorable observation and grafted it into our product ethos. Just like that, plastic and wooden stirs sticks were out, fettuccini was in.
While it is a lovely nod to our Italian heritage, it was truly born out of his desire to reduce single use plastics in our cafés and eliminate one more reason to cut down a tree. If you ask him about it today (I did), prepare yourself for a lengthy inquiry of, “Why would we ask for fragments of a dead tree or thousands of plastic sticks to be wrapped in a cardboard box, then wrapped in plastic, then placed in a larger dead tree box, then shipped half way across the globe on a boat powered by a combustion engine, to be used ONCE for THREE SECONDS and then put in our trash only to have all of this, packaging & stir sticks, tossed in our landfills??? Really, why?” While it is true that pasta carries some of the same implications, at the end of the day, pasta is less impactful on our planet in production and on our landfills in disposal. It’s become one of the hundreds of experiential Easter eggs we thoughtfully and carefully embed in our our store design and operations. Possibly the most popular… it shows up on our guests' Instagram stories all the time, in our guest feedback, in other coffee shops (don’t worry, we don’t mind being imitated here – go for it! #featurefetuccini), and once in a while, in our guests' homes.
Truth be told, it’s more than just a creative way to stir your coffee and cream before that first glorious sip. It’s indicative of a mentality we try to embody: there are out-of-the box solutions to make a small difference, and lots of small differences are what makes a big difference. Every ingredient we source locally, like milk from Sand Hill Dairy or flour from Central Milling, shrinks our carbon footprint and supports our local economies. Every batch of coffee grounds we compost adds nitrogen-heavy fertilizer to nutrient-hungry veggies, fruits, and flowers in our community. Every bag of Trailhead (or box of instant coffee!) you buy provides the National Forest Foundation with $0.50 more to protect, maintain, and rebuild our forests. Every guest we influence to use a CB tumbler or a personal mug is one less reason to cut down the next tree or use energy to recycle (currently, worldwide there are 16 billion reasons a year we’re working against!). If you ask Greg about this, you’ll hear an impassioned account of why we switched our paper cups to ReCups, but it will be preceded with a snarky smile, a wink, and a pointed question, “How do you eat an elephant…?”
A not-often-discussed but truly significant impact of COVID-19 is our collective use of paper cups. Across the industry, in an effort to protect our communities, café’s have stopped allowing the use of personal cups or porcelain “for here” mugs. Combined with the misperception that paper cups are in fact recyclable (almost all are not due to the wax inner lining), paper cups have returned to center stage. While this change was necessary, it does beckon the question, how many paper cups has this added to our landfills? Will coffee lovers return to their “for here” or “own cup” habits when it becomes possible?
But if we can’t prevent this at the moment, can we do something else to mitigate the impact? A few months back, we launched our first medium roast blend, Trailhead. Our team advocated for this coffee to carry a give-back component to it, and asked that it be environmental in focus. After a vote, the National Forest Foundation was selected as our partner and small, but consistent checks are being written every month. We have decided to double down here for Earth Day and join their reforestation efforts to plant 50 million trees. Our shared goal is to fund the planting of 75,000 trees in the month of April.
To do so, we are going to donate $1 of every bar beverage we sell this Thursday, Earth Day, at all our locations. Every dollar will get matched up to the $75,000 goal by the National Forest Foundation, and each $1 equals 1 tree planted. So, let me break this down for the folks in the back of the room, getting a latte on Earth day = you planted a tree. Maybe bring a friend and make it two. Bring the office and… well you get the idea. While you’re in our Coffeebars, check out our Earth Day Bundles, including a reusable mug, a parsley seedling, a succulent and more.
And of course give your barista an “air high-five." They make the world go round. On Thursday, they’ll help ‘plant’ thousands of trees and we think that’s pretty cool.