Nothing hits right like a nice hot cup of coffee or an iced cold brew on a hot summer day. Sure, you'll see there’s the usual big green ‘S’ and high contrast pink and orange ‘D’ every other mile. But let’s step back a bit and take a peek into some places that are owned by your neighbor, or that one friend from college that you didn’t get the chance to keep up with all these years until now. It’s hard to believe that there are actually coffee shops out there that are not only interested in making moola but also value investing in their community. Chicago is a major city that has many small business coffee joints and we’re going to tell you about a few of them.
Thinking about high school makes me think about the first time I went to Warped Tour. The blazing hot sun, the necessary sunglasses, waiting in line to meet your favorite band members, and the awful sunburn you’d get after a long, rewarding day. Warped Tour was my first exposure to an organization called Hope For the Day, which raised awareness on the importance of mental health education and also provided resources to those that needed it. Many bands I enjoyed advocated for the organization. Thanks to learning about Hope For the Day, I was able to find out about a coffee shop in Logan Square that was opening soon called Sip of Hope. What makes Sip of Hope unique in the community is that all of its staff members are trained counselors.
I myself never talked to any of their baristas but I could see what an impact this could make. Their coffee beans were first manufactured by local Chicago roasters, Dark Matter. Sip of Hope now partners with San Cristobal Coffee, who sources their beans in Nayarit, Mexico. The magic of purchasing a bag of Sip of Hope’s beans? 100% of the profit goes to supporting mental health programs. Isn’t that a win-win? The best part about supporting them overall? 100% of all their profits go towards mental health awareness.
Another great shop in Chicago is Chicago, Hip Hop & Mental Health which now has a temporary shop off of North Avenue inside Lululemon. All their sales go to helping the Chicago community, especially when it comes to mental health awareness. For example, they’re making it possible for those seeking therapy, but can’t afford it, by helping them fund their first five sessions. Their mission is to normalize therapy and to seek new waves in conversations with the community when it comes to mental health. They have drinks with memorable names, including “Normalize Therapy”, “Breath” and “The Safe Space”. I mean, those are pretty memorable names, right?
Both Sip of Hope and Chicago, Hip Hop & Mental Health continue to break boundaries when it comes to mental health awareness. Through providing resources, these shops will continue to be supported by their surrounding communities due to the impact that these businesses make. It no longer comes down to proceeds going to a corporate environment (*coughs* those coffee conglomerates around each corner) but instead, the money is going back to helping individuals within the community. We need to continue buying coffee, merch, and donating to keep these businesses going. If money is tight, sharing about them on social media helps tons!