May 31 2017 04:24 PM

Local roasters team up to support Lansing’s Refugee Development Center

How do you take your coffee? With a little cream? A spoonful of sugar? Or maybe you like your brew with a side of activism. If the latter interests you, two local coffee roasters are teaming up to support the Refugee Development Center with a limited edition coffee blend.

Craft & Mason Coffee Roasting Co. has teamed up with Old Town’s Bloom Coffee Roasters to create Collaboration for a Cause, a unique coffee bean blend that will be sold in 12-ounce bags in the Greater Lansing area. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Refugee Development Center.

“I had been keeping Craft & Mason in mind to do a collaboration since Bloom began,” said Jared Field, co-owner of Bloom Coffee.

But with the current political climate, Field said, a collaboration demanded more than just great coffee. The two companies decided to partner on a project to support the Refugee Development Center, which provides educational and social programs for the local immigrant and refugee community.

“The Refugee Development Center has been around for about 15 years, and in that time, they have consistently done outstanding work,” said Jeremy Mason, co-owner of Craft & Mason Coffee Roasters.

In partnering with the Refugee Development Center, the coffee roasters hope to spread awareness about the organization’s work and set an example for other small businesses.

“Business inevitably becomes competitive,” said Field, noting that Bloom and Craft & Mason compete for shares of the artisanal coffee market in the Greater Lansing area. This project, he said, shows how businesses can come together for a bigger cause.

In addition to Bloom’s Old Town coffee shop, the coffee blend will be available at Strange Matter Coffee Co. in Lansing’s Eastside Neighborhood, Blue Owl Coffee Co. in REO Town and Meridian Township health food store Foods for Living, with $2 of every bag purchased going directly to the Refugee Development Center. Buyers will get a mix of Bloom’s Guatemala Acatenango La Esperanza and Craft & Mason’s Brazil Barons of Alfenas Natural coffee beans.

“In blending these two coffees, we’re trying to do something these coffees can’t do individually,” said Field. Mason added that the blend is “palatable and approachable.”

The partnership wants to spread the Refugee Development Center’s vision of an inclusive community, said Mason, while also putting Lansing, and Michigan, on the map as a producer of high quality coffee.

“Collaboration is better than battling,” said Field, adding that the partnership has already piqued the interest of other Michigan coffee roasters like Flint’s Hot Cups Coffee & Tea.

While Craft & Mason and Bloom’s collaboration is centered around coffee, the foundation of their mission is to support the Refugee Development Center.

“We want to support those doing good work, like the Refugee Development Center,” said Mason.

While coffee houses bring in paying customers every day, nonprofits like the Refugee Development Center often work behind the scenes and don’t always get the recognition they deserve. But Craft & Mason and Bloom are hoping to change that, one cup at a time.