“Belift Coffee… Impactful As F**k Coffee?!”
Actually, it’s not what you think. “AF” stands for… “Impactful and Fearless; Impactful and Focus; Impactful and Forward-Thinking, Fieldwork, Frictionless, Fiery...:” — the names of Belift’s first coffee bean collection from Indonesia’s islands.
What is Belift?
Belift is a specialty coffee initiative built to uplift transitional youth in the Bay Area. We train youth (age 18-24) in soft-skills workshops and employ them to partake in our coffee operations.
The founders, Karrie Liang and Ivan Hartanto, started this after working together at a non-profit focused on improving the lives of homeless and low-income residents of San Francisco through providing technology solutions. They, they soon discovered a human approach for direct impact is also what’s needed.
Before the birth of Belift, the initial idea was to create ways for individuals who are experiencing homelessness to earn an income through providing employment. Karrie is a big believer in learning to use tools and began micro-roasting her own coffee as a creative outlet two years ago and found the process of coffee craft to be a very healing process through various techniques. For early supporters, you might remember our micro-roast coffees, which were our first product! Soon realizing we have to build a business, that was when Belift as a coffee social enterprise was born. Ivan, who is Indonesian himself suggested to allocate more market access for undervalued coffee farmers from Indonesia by bringing Indonesian produced coffee beans to the Bay Area.
Our work is made possible thanks to our partnerships with Larkin St Youth Services, San Francisco’s largest non-profit committed to ending youth homelessness, and Goodwill Coffee & Co, our Indonesian partner roaster who helps us with direct-sourcing and coffee-roasting. They’re the coffee experts who constantly teach us more about the production side of things.
What is the impact? Training, Education, and Employment
- Soft-Skills Training Workshops
- Coffee Operator Training Program
- Employment @ Belift for youth to discover specialty coffee & perhaps a career
- Market access for coffee roaster and farmer from the coffee-producing land, Indonesia
One of the key problems we learned specifically from Larkin St Youth Services is that although youth can obtain jobs, they often find it hard to keep the job due to the lack of self-advocacy and communication between them and their employers. With that in mind, we believe that we can prevent this and help youths keep their jobs with the help from our workshops.
At the moment, we’ve ran our soft-skills training workshop with 22 youth between the ages of 18-24. We teach them mental tools to better understand themselves and the world around them. By providing skills-oriented training combined with hands-on education, we strive to uplift morale and confidence in them.
Currently, we are developing a coffee operator training program to introduce these young people to the world of specialty coffee and discover the foundations of coffee craft. After the program, the youth are given paid opportunities to showcase their newly learned skills during tasting and popup events. We empower them to develop their leadership skills and run the show during these events. We’re also in the midst of securing a space to serve coffee and train our youth regularly.
We’re deeply passionate about coffee and the longevities of interesting coffee available, thus also why we believe in investing in the next generation, as they will carry on the next wave. This is the beginning of a journey to converge the specialty coffee community and at-risk youth to be a part of this presumed mysterious industry where more individuals can explore & potentially pursue a meaningful career in coffee. We currently work with our Indonesian farmers to gather their stories so the youth can see the big picture of how things work together in coffee production. Our farmers are also the price setters so they can continuously have business to sustain their operations to ensure we will always have delicious coffee!
Ultimately, Impactful AF coffee is a way for coffee drinkers to achieve social impact by simply consuming delicious coffee — be courageous and try it out for yourself at one of our tasting events!
For the natural-processed coffee fans out there — we highly recommend trying out Fiery - Pantan Sile. We feature various methods of processing (natural, washed, semi-washed) from single-origins and two special blends.
Big shout out to Fellow for the support and the generous coffee gear donations for allowing us to be functional while working in style. Our favorite feature on the Stagg kettle is the ability to keep the water warm at the temperature you want with gentle water flow - awesome control – we appreciate it a lot!
Come join us at our next event at The Crown Coffee Lab and Tasting Room on Saturday, November 16 from 2pm-4pm. We’ll also be potentially announcing the winner of our new coffee bag design for year 2020 - stay tuned!
- November 16 2pm-4pm @ The Crown
- November 26 2pm-4pm @ Boot Coffee
- December 8 1pm-2pm @ Fellow
Want to be IMPACTFUL AF? Your coffee demand is the driver that helps us create more job opportunities! Here’s how:
- Purchase Belift coffee beans online! At belift.org/collections
- Source our beans for your shop/office/home
- Have us host coffee tasting events at your space!
- Share Belift Coffee with your friends and families
- Connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share any other engagement ideas you might have (i.e. assist with training our youth)