Coffeed: Local, Charitable, Caffeinated Goodness
By Ilija Sekulovski
We had the chance to talk to Frank Raffaele, or Turtle as he’s known to all, who began Coffeed with partner Michael Cialdella.
Coffeed was created with a simple idea in mind – to create a community based café.
“We always aimed to have a very local, very New York City vibe to the place. Everything we have in Coffeed is essentially local,” Turtle tells us, “All of our ingredients are in season. Our coffee roasted right in our Northern Boulevard location. Everything is baked in house. Staying local was, and always will be, extremely important to us.”
The reason Coffeed has flourished is their feeling of community. Every time we’ve stopped by, we’ve been greeted with smiles and warm welcomes , recommendations on what sandwiches to munch on, and awesome conversations. There’s a genuine warmth you feel at Coffeed – and it’s honestly part of the reason we’ll trek over when we’re in the mood for coffee. No doubt, it’s the reason that each new location does so well.
“We certainly grew very quickly, but also very cautiously,” Turtle says of the multiple locations. “We don’t mind have a corporate chain structure – but we never want to sacrifice the vibe and feeling. We want each location to feel the same, to have the same impact on the community, to have the same inviting feel.”
“Each neighborhood has its own sort of community. Northern Boulevard is on the cusp of Astoria, LIC and Sunnyside, and it has its own unique feel – it’s very cool. The waterfront location has a different vibe – there’s new high rises, new expats moving in, and it’s their first experience of the borough.” Each Coffeed, then, has a hint of its location – a unique spin put on it by its surroundings.
Location plays a huge role. One of Coffeed’s biggest goals is to have a café in each borough. “We’re New York,” Turtle says, “We’ve always been New York – and we think we should have a foot in each borough. They’ll all have their own touch – Queens is more laid back, Manhattan is more rushed – but they’re all essentially Coffeed.”
A big role of each location is their community partnerships. A huge part of Coffeed is their charity work – and by huge we mean they’ve donated more than 98 thousand dollars to date. $98,593.68 – to be exact. Within each neighborhood they enter, Coffeed picks organizations to sponsor, and become part of. Each COFFEED location donates a significant percentage (3-10%) of gross revenue to worthy local charities. Michael and Turtle will participate on the board, sponsor events, hire people that benefit from the organizations or programs, and so much more.
Of the charities, Turtle says, “We try to find great charitable partners that we can support and we can play an active role in. We don’t want to run the organization – we want to help with it. We love the idea of being active in a shared space.”
Coffeed’s charitable partners often become their strongest supporters, “They become ambassadors for our brand – they feel a real bond and connection.”
One of the organizations that Coffeed is partnered with helps adults with autism, and Turtle’s voice lit up when he excitedly shared the details of their partnership. “We hire some of the adults, and for many of them, it’s their first job – and it’s an amazing thing, because they feel a sense of independence, and they feel great, and it makes us beyond happy. It’s the awesome fact that we can share something like a raspberry bar or scone, and have the ability to tell customers that it was baked by someone with a disability.”
Many non-profits will approach Coffeed. “They love what we do,” Turtle says, “and from they we develop bonds and friendships. We can help each other, and that’s really what it’s about.”
Turtle and Michael love coffee – clearly – but they also love really high quality ingredients, and high quality products. They’re proud of what they put forth, and proud of the love and hard work that goes into it. Of their coffee, they say, “We source our coffee via fair or direct trade with the finest farms in the world, including ones in Burundi, Ethiopia, Colombia, and Panama. We happily pay top dollar to acquire the best available beans, benefiting the farmers and, ultimately, you! Our roastmaster is one of the best in the world, a true artiste. We source our food from the highest-quality local purveyors and prepare it with love and attention to detail and excellence.”
Further, the coffee is the focus! Their website says, “The beans we use are grown and nurtured by the best farmers in the world, and we aim to honor their efforts (and delight our customers!) with every cup we serve. We only serve single-origin coffees, roasted in small batches for maximum freshness. Our coffee is ground as needed and prepared by highly-skilled baristas using the best possible equipment, whether a La Marzocco espresso machine or a simple Hario. Everything at COFFEED is done in a way to showcase our exceptional coffee.”
We love their dedication, and we want to share some coffee with you – and Coffeed is helping us! You can enter right here to win a Coffee of the Month membership – giving you a new coffee each month for 12 months!
37-18 Northern Boulevard
Long Island City, NY 11101