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A Time for Humans: Metric & Chicago Community Raise over $1,000 for Kaleidoscope 4 Kids

With a lot of us wrapping up holiday travel and time with others, your Metric humans find ourselves reflecting on our recent Holiday Throwdown. On December 18, 2018 at Caffe Streets, as the cafe’s day concluded, we made our way into the shop repurposing it. We hung tinsel streamers. We polka-dotted the lighting fixtures with ornaments. Most importantly we crammed nearly a hundred people into Streets.

Metric and other coffee companies can’t operate without communicating with other humans. Coffee is an inherently social industry, with people at every level of the coffee chain: from producing partners at origin to the humans serving at their given restaurants or cafes. However, the social interactions often stop at coffee talk. Our Holiday Throwdown was an exercise in trying to buck this trend looking passed coffee or business delineations. Rather than seeing brands as restrictions, we looked for the event to pull resources from like-minded sponsors (such as Oatly) to build a gathering centered on the community and the humans at the core of our work.

Our Partnerships and Projects Manager, Jess Salgado, headed the event coordination as she collaborated with other humans on our team and our sponsors. Throughout the event’s development, she continued to reiterate an intention of making the Holiday Throwdown an inclusive celebration focused on “uplifting” and “supportive” themes. As a team, we looked to manifest this direction in a variety of ways. We fashioned our company GoPro to project a the pours so those outside the baristas and judges could see the work. We developed a raffle with prizes outside of having exclusively worth in coffee, such as a First Ascent climbing package, tattoo gift certificate to Time Being. We utilized banners loaned to us from Kaleidoscope 4 Kids’ to help decorate Caffe Streets.

This attention to planning went equal parts into intentional re-commitment of our relationship to, the aforementioned, Kaleidoscope 4 Kids. Having worked previously with Kaleidoscope, their cause of uplifting Chicago youths has lingered with us. (For those unfamiliar, Kaleidoscope 4 Kids provides programming for children to cope with trauma through artistic expression [see the images below]). We invited them to come and be part of the evening as well as the recipients of the evening's proceeds. Their executive director, Kathy Grzelak's presence and opening words were a pertinent extension of the humanistic themes at the heart of the event allowing us to fully actualize the party as a benefit for a beyond worthy cause.

With textual reminiscence aside, it only seems fit to conclude this year and this recap with some humanity. Please enjoy the following images of the humans that made this event so special for us:

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(Bess, Kathy, [from Kaleidoscope 4 Kids] and friends)

(Banner from Kaleidoscope 4 Kids made by the kids)

(Jonathan Parnell [our Volunteer Event Bartender])

(Katie Thomas & Mickey Kennedy)

(Ivan and Will)

(Harris Nash with Uprise's donated Jesse Neuhaus Bonsai board)

(John Petrenko)

(Paul Octavious, Mike Duesenberg [Holiday Throwdown poster co-designer], Ty Banks [Metric Barista, Educator, Throwdown winner]).

Images courtesy of Matthew Schwerin.

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Full Sponsor List (in alphabetical order): Able BrewingAsrai GardenCandid WinesFederal MotoFirst Ascent ChicagoHopewellKaleidoscopeLa MarzoccoLonesome RoseMahlkönigOatlyPastoral ArtisanRancilioRhine HallSolemn OathSpirit TeaTrade Coffee CoTomorrow Never Knows FestivalTopo ChicoUprise SkateshopVirtue Cider, & Wayward

Introducing Harris Nash, Metric's New Sales Manager

A couple of weeks ago, Metric Coffee grew a little bigger. Harris Nash joined our team as our new Sales Manager! His role will focus on bridging, and tending to, ongoing Metric relationships. The following is a recap of a conversation he and I shared about his new position:

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Harris, with a wide smile, sat across from me in our West Fulton lab. Having worked with Harris previously, I immediately picked up on some eager energy-- but not out of anxiety. Instead, Harris was buzzing with excitement.

He justified my suspicion quickly. Unprompted, Harris rattled off about the “beauty” he finds in coffee. Through coffee’s taste, preparation, and service, Harris continued to articulate a passion for coffee’s “rituals;” coffee’s opportunity, at every stop in the supply chain, for human connection through these rituals. All things he’s witnessed first-hand over his seven years in the coffee industry.

This thread of connection continued to unravel throughout our conversation:
C: “What’s your go-to coffee drink?”
H: “*Chuckle* A hit ‘n’ run.”
“…Ha, a what?”
“I don't know if anyone else calls it that... but I get an espresso and a small drip to-go. It allows me to connect with the barista (their craft and individual service), while also checking out the ready-made option that they prepare for everyone.”

It may have been my first time hearing the term "hit ‘n’ run" in this context, but whatever you want to call this 1-2 punch, it’s a delicious route. Through Harris’ explanation, it also feels like an encompassing one, an additional road to human connection that coffee offers.

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This enthusiasm for humans is one of many reasons we’re so excited to have Harris join Metric Coffee Co. Whether he’s skating (which he claims to be able to ollie AND grind) or listening to his favorite bop (“Praise the Lord” by A$AP Rocky), Harris wears an excitement and a beaming joy. An infectious vibe, we are stoked to fold into our coffee and a human to add our already fantastic family.