This Two-Horse Trailer Plans to Make Coffee a Vehicle for Conversation

Posted by Marie Janiszewski

Have you ever walked into a cafe and wondered what all those people at their individual tables were working on? New technologies and social structures have given us unprecedented opportunity to work independently. As a result, more and more people are isolating themselves in public settings, and the context of the coffeehouse has been restructured into an internet cafe.

Public Coffee seeks to counteract this dynamic, not by removing internet or trying to stop customers from doing what comes naturally, but by adjusting certain elements to reconfigure their interaction with the space. The idea for Public Coffee grew out of personal conversations in coffee shops between customers, baristas, and new acquaintances. As we started sharing ideas and skills, the plan for Public Coffee began to take shape.

We recognized the potential of coffee shops to operate as dynamic community spaces.  The first coffeehouses of 18th century Europe effectively functioned in this lively manner. With only a penny charged per cup, the coffee shops were structured as liberal forums for philosophers and scientists to share their latest findings in order to grow new ideas.

These historic coffeehouses are what Public Coffee aims to recreate. Public Coffee will be a mobile nonprofit coffee shop built out of a two-horse trailer. It will visit various neighborhoods throughout Denver to serve coffee and start meaningful conversations. By taking the experience outside, reaching a broader audience, and facilitating the exchange of skills, we seek to foster a greater sense of engagement.

Public Coffee will be open to all who wish to participate with a pay-what-you-can model. Once customers order, they will be welcomed to get involved in brewing their coffee to make the process more approachable, interactive, and educational. Serving coffee in ceramic and glass cups encourages customers to interact and our modular tables will allow customers to collectively shape and share the space. The trailer will also be outfitted with a stage, audio system, and projector to encourage further public participation and ownership over programs applied at the space.

In its final form, the project is a compilation of ideas by artists, teachers, baristas, entrepreneurs, coffee roasters, social workers, a developer, an architect, an accountant, and a farmer's market director. It will continue to grow with even more influences. Just as Public Coffee was collaboratively developed in concept and shape, it aims to be completely participatory in its operations. The versatility of its form and mobility allow Public Coffee to adapt to its surroundings and the needs of each community.

Valuing collaboration above all, Public Coffee has decided to financially depend upon a community-funded approach. Please consider bringing this project to life by sharing and supporting our Kickstarter campaign or contact us to join in on the collaboration!

Click here to add supporting Public Coffee to your GOOD To Do list.

This project was featured on GOOD's Saturday series Push for Good—our guide to crowdfunding creative projects.

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