Barista Magazine

FEB-MAR 2014

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 78 of 87

MASTER Bill Fishbein Coffee Nonprofit Progressive Interview by Sarah Allen BILL FISHBEIN WAS one of the first speakers of the day at the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast Coffee Conference in October of last year. It was a brilliant New England autumn morning, and the baristas who had gathered from as far as Seattle and as close as downtown Providence— just the next town over from Pawtucket, Rhode Island, where the event was being held—squinted through sunglasses as they sipped their morning coffee. They peered at the schedules to decide which of the classes and discussions offered at this early hour to attend. "Oh, Coffee Kids! This is the Coffee Kids guy," one barista said to his friend. "Do you want to go hear what he has to say?" His friend nodded vigorously and said, "Sure—it'd be cool to listen to someone who works for Coffee Kids." I sat behind them during Bill's discussion about his latest nonprofit project, the Coffee Trust, because I wanted to see their reaction when they realized that Bill wasn't a guy who worked for Coffee Kids. He was the guy who started Coffee Kids. Bill doesn't command attention when he walks into a room; he's the same modest, gracious, laughing everyman he was when he made his first big move into the coffee industry by opening Coffee Exchange in his hometown of Providence in 1977. That he fleshed out a dream—to make a nonprofit development organization working at origin specifically dedicated to small-scale coffee farmers—and created Coffee Kids, is nothing short of phenomenal. That he knew when it was time to leave and let Coffee Kids continue to grow under different leadership, is estimable. That he didn't skip a beat before founding 79

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

view archives of Barista Magazine - FEB-MAR 2014