Recently, I conducted an intern search, and since Eco Chick is one of the many companies that works virtually, that means I had to find a place to meet with all the fantastic applicants. As I spend quite a bit of time in the Union Square area of NYC, I have long been stopping by the Think Coffee near the park, but this past autumn, on a run back from the gorgeous-in-every-season
This store is much more chill than the always-busy Broadway location, and soon after they opened, I became a regular. Not just because I have a bit of a coffee addiction, but because the space is open and new (but with a bit of an old-school coffeehouse vibe), and Think is serious about its ethical bona fides, which include the following:
–Sourcing direct from farmers. No middleman means no greenwashing, as coffee farms are visited by (the lucky!) Think employees during travels to Brazil, Columbia and Costa Rica. Why all this trouble?
Coffee is grown across the globe, and, in our opinion, no single coffee purchasing or certification system can be expected to work equally well everywhere. Whether it is a small family farm in Nicaragua or a Brazilian plantation or a cooperative in southern Ethiopia, each has its own economic, social and political climate. That’s why we go to origin, to see first hand where our coffee comes from, to bring you as much transparency as we can. No other coffee retailer we know of checks up on the claims of its roasters, importers or certifying authorities the way we do.
-Community partners. Think gives money to the community where they do business, which they don’t have to do, but choose to. I like to support businesses that appreciate where they make their money.
We donate 10% of our after-tax profits from each of our stores to a local nonprofit that engages and improves our community by providing services to low-income families, including daycare, early childhood education and programs for inner-city youth, teens and seniors.
–Real environmental commitment. Many businesses say they are green, but Think Coffee has taken a number of steps to mean it.
The vast majority of paper and plastic waste created by a coffee shop is its disposable cups. Nearly all paper cups being used in specialty coffee shops in New York City today, for example, are neither compostable nor recyclable: they end up in a landfill. But we are early adopters of new packaging technology that allows both our paper and “plastic” cups (which are actually made from plants) to degrade and return harmlessly to the earth when composted.
Think Coffee has five locations in NYC and one in Seoul; see where they are here.
All Photos by Starre Vartan.