Gay coffee? I didn’t know that coffee could be gay. Well, probably not, a coffee company has decided to roll out some rather campy coffee names that also have a message about gay culture and history. The five blends making up the new brand are the Red Hanky Roast, Second Date (both of which are dark coffees), Weekend Pass and Good Morning Mary (which are dark/medium), and Stone Butch Breakfast Blend (which is medium).
The whole thing is the concept of Melissa Krueger, owner of Elbow Room Cofee. She and a few friends began to discuss this idea over a cup of coffee one day, and the conversation that sparked this was over how lesbian and gay culture had seemed to enter the mainstream rather heavily.
Krueger stated “The ’aha’ moment came when we were talking about same-sex marriage and a friend commented on how gay culture is now seen everywhere. She said, ’Why I bet this coffee is even gay.’ It was a joke of course, but it got me thinking.”
Krueger decided to pursue the idea of a gay-themed coffee by making fun of the stereotypes and cliches that are within the lesbian and gay community. According to The Edge “She worried, however, that some people ‘wouldn’t get it’ and that is where friend Daniel Rivers came in. Rivers, a visiting lecturer in the Study of Women and Gender at Smith College, encouraged Krueger to keep the camp on the front while putting cultural and historical facts on the back.”
Krueger stated “And that was it. That took it from being just funny, to putting information into places where it normally wouldn’t be.” Rivers did some research and wrote the educational bits attached to each blend. Krueger also went on to say “It’s fun, it’s educational and 1 percent of our profits are donated to the National Lesbian Gay Bisexual Task Force.” Krueger hopes that above all of the history, humor and social justice, that the blends will appeal to coffee drinkers because of their taste. She said “I roast everything here. I have a 25-pound barrel roaster but I only roast eight to 12 pounds at a time. I could do more, but think that ratio of heat and air makes the coffee taste better.”
The label is growing fast, though, and is shipping internationally. Krueger stated “Initially I saw it as a small niche product, but the turnover has been quicker than I expected. I have to say I was pretty surprised when an order came in from Reykjavik!”
Still, Krueger knows not to let the grass grow under her feet, and more blends are being planned. She stated that “I would like to include some more multicultural labels and some that include the trans community. There are two or three more planned and we are always open to ideas from people. This industry takes itself so seriously, that it is fun do a little play on branding. Obviously, coffee can’t be gay, and you don’t have to be gay to drink it. But I think there is a lot of room to put Gay Coffee on the shelves with other fair trade, organic artisan coffees.”