Humphreys Street Cafe is not your typical specialty coffee shop. Based in Nashville and after only opening its doors this year, the cafe was started with the idea of giving back to the surrounding community. The initiative is committed to mentoring and hiring local students, who are guided by coffee professionals who teach them how to pull shots, steam milk, and even roast beans.
Humphreys seeks to empower students in a neighborhood which has few jobs or learning opportunities and is set up to reinvest 100% of the profits right back into local programs and scholarships. From the inception of the cafe, Acaia has proudly supported the non-profit organization in their efforts and education. In this interview, we caught up with Cailey Damron, who is Assistant Manager & Marketing Coordinator. The interview has been edited for clarity.
Can you give us some background on what Humphrey's Street is and its approach?
Humphreys Street is a social enterprise of Harvest Hands CDC . We employ high school students in underinvested communities in South Nashville, teaching them job skills as well as the craft of coffee. We provide pathways out of poverty for youth in our neighborhood through employment and mentorship so that they can transform and impact their own community.
What inspired you to use a specialty coffee setting for your nonprofit and how do you choose your staff?
In 2008, our executive director Brian Hicks shared his passion for roasting specialty coffee with several high school students in South Nashville. Out of this passion for coffee and mentorship, Humphreys Street was born. Roasting and selling coffee gives us a unique opportunity to employ high school students in the communities we serve, while also sharing the craft of specialty coffee with the greater Nashville area.
Our staff consists of 16 teens from underinvested communities as well as graduates of the Humphreys Street high school program and several local baristas which act as mentors for the students. A specific employee we love to highlight is Ruben, our coffee roaster, he was one of the first students in the HS program in 2008. After learning to roast from Steven Diedrich himself, he is now our head roaster, a barista at the coffee shop, a leader in the high school program, and a great mentor for our students.
What is your favorite aspect of Humphreys Street?
My favorite aspect of Humphreys Street is community involvement. Through our newly opened coffee shop, we get the opportunity to share our mission, our vision, and of course our coffee with the local community every day.
We've seen that you use our Lunar scales for teaching espresso training. How have they helped you in educating your staff?
While training our coffee shop staff on espresso, we use our Lunar scales to ensure that shots are pulling within proper weight and time parameters. At our roasting facility, we also use the Lunar scales to pre-dose pour overs that will be made at the coffee shop. We are incredibly grateful to have partnered with Acaia, their products allow us to maintain standards of quality and consistency here at Humphreys Street. Thanks!
Thanks again Cailey! All photos are copyright to Humphreys Street.