Bean the Change Coffee

Greg Skinner, a medical doctor, that’s been working in townships for the past 4-5 years, got stirred with a dream to change this community for the better other than with medicine.

Greg has been working as a medical doctor in the Gugulethu clinic. Every day, he gets to work with people coming into the clinics, sick and not able to afford the proper medical care they need. The faces start becoming familiar in these clinics over time; grandmothers with their grandchild, people from all walks of life from this township. These children, will turn out to be the same as their peers, if nothing is done to change that. Greg started getting really frustrated seeing this, as he knows medicine is only the answer to changing these people’s health state, and not their lives.

The people in the township don’t always earn a lot of money, although having a stable and secure job. They normally spend between R600-00 to R700-00 just on transport to get to work and back, and the rest goes to feeding  their families. Day in and day out they are so busy working to be able to earn money and make a living from it, that they don’t have free time to save money or to study further.

He got stirred with a vision to take a commodity, that’s the 2nd most popular commodity being drunk, and use it to bring change in the community.

Vision for Bean the Change:

Coffee for good.

Greg wants to create a brand where they roast coffee and create a product that will make an enormous impact and bring change. The dream is big but he believes that if other coffee companies can succeed, he can do it as well in the Gugulethu township.

The main goal of Bean the Change is to train people from the townships to become a barista, but not to stay baristas. He wants them to be able to work their way up and then eventually take ownership of the business.

He believes that the baristas are the ones running the coffee shops; from stock taking, to serving customers and making their coffee. Most of the money then goes to the owner, but the baristas are the ones making the magic happen. By changing this, he makes the pyramid all business work to accordingly, flatter.

The secondary goal of Bean the Change is to create a coffee shop which is a safe space for the people from the township.

The coffee shops in the city became co-working spaces, spaces where people come together to meet. In these townships, one doesn’t find a lot of these places to just go to and meet up with friends. He wants the customer service to be on the exact same level as the coffee shops we familiar with and go to each day. He wants to change the perspective, and show that it is possible to do all these cool things in townships as well.

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Staff and Employment:

Bean The Change will be training people from the township. The coffee shop has been designed to accommodate staff with any form of background, especially people in wheel-chairs. The counter tops are designed accordingly so that staff that are in wheel-chairs, can be able to make coffee just as one without a wheel-chair. An occupational therapist aided by, when designing the layout of the coffee shop, providing the correct measurements for the counter tops. To ensure that the staff in wheel chairs, don’t have to reach too far, and be able to comfortably brew your coffee.

The baristas will have the opportunity to become owners of Bean the Change coffee shops by working their way up into ownership. They will receive more than just training in being a barista, but be trained in everything needed to owning a business.

 

Funding:

Greg started the coffee-shop out of his own pocket. Greg has a partner, Brent Goch, which has been in the coffee industry for the past 10 years.

Bean the Change has been very fortunate to receive donations, without even asking for any. It’s being run as a business rather than a charity, but Bean the Change welcomes donations with open arms.

The building for the coffee shop has been given to Bean the Change for free with the agreement that they train people, which goes together with what Bean the Change wants achieve. They have been given an espresso machine, and Greg has been able to fund the rest.

In case, you would like to donate to Bean the Change; you can send Greg an email. Contact information found below.

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Photo: Justin Coomber

What has been achieved thus far?

Everything Bean the Change needed, is in place. They’ve recently finished with the interior of the coffee shop. All the equipment needed for making coffee, has been installed.

A few last things, like a layer of paint here and there is still needed. It’s just a matter of training the baristas and then they will be ready to open their doors.

Bean the Change is busy renovating a VW Kombi, to have a mobile coffee shop that will be used at events and sell coffee. Make sure to be on the lookout for the green and off-white kombi from Bean the Change.

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The Coffee:

Bean the Change’s coffee is roasted by Mike Maric. It’s a Central, South American and African blend roasted to a medium-dark roast.

It’s not purely an African blend, as people don’t drink it every day. So, they incorporated an American variety, as people prefer to drink it daily and just simply love it. It gives it more of a fruitier taste than a pure African blend would.

It’s available to be purchased in the following:

  • 250g at a price of R65-00
  • 1kg at a price of R220-00

It can be bought as coffee grounds or coffee beans. It’s packaged in valve-sealed bags ensuring your coffee stay fresh for longer. It can be shipped nationwide at a flat-fee of R49-00. To order your coffee today, you can send an email to Greg with your order. Contact information found below.

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How to get in touch:

You can follow Bean the Change on the following social media platforms:

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Instagram: @beanthechange

Facebook: Bean the Change

Contact information – Greg Skinner:

Email: info@beanthechange.co.za

Contact Number: +27 72 260 0882

I am very excited to follow the journey of Bean the Change and see how it’ll bring change in the communities. Changing the world one cup of coffee at a time, and what better with, than coffee?

Till the next cup of coffee.

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