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Refugee Empowering Coffee Shop Opening Soon in Berkeley

1951 Coffee has a mission larger than a cup of coffee

Rendering of 1951 Coffee Cafe
1951 Coffee Cafe

1951 Coffee, a mission-focused coffee company, is opening a cafe in the heart of Berkeley, as of early January. The cafe (2410 Channing Way) is a first for the company, and an extension of its barista training program that offers employment to refugees.

Founded by Doug Hewitt and Rachel Taber in 2015, 1951 Coffee Company is a non-profit whose mission is “promoting the wellbeing of the refugee community in the San Francisco Bay Area by providing job training and employment to refugees and asylees while educating the surrounding community about refugee life and issues.” Through their program, refugees gain the skills to work as baristas, and now in the company’s cafe. The 26 graduates of the program have gone on to work at places like Blue Bottle and DropBox; now they’ll have to chance to hone those skills at the cafe before starting their job search.

The company is named after the year that the United Nations first created guidelines for the protection of refugees. “We know that refugees bring with them many experiences and skills that are needed in the United States job market, but there are few options for immediate placement when refugees don’t have local references,” said Hewitt in a statement. “1951 Coffee is working to solve this problem in the Bay Area.”

The 1,176-square-foot cafe will offer Verve Coffee, cold brew from Algorithm in Berkeley, and pastries from local bakeries. The space, which is on the grounds of First Presbyterian Church, was designed by a Norwegian firm called Montaag, It will be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m.- 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m.-7 p.m.

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